By Ekeoma Ogwo and Augusta Uchediunor
The National Agency for Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says measures are in place to sensitise Nigerians on some major public health challenges.
According to it, some of the various infractions that impact negatively on public health and healthcare delivery system include the use of Azo-dyes in Palm Oil and “ Sniper’’ to preserve foodstuffs.
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, NAFDAC, made the assertion at the Flag-Off of the agency’s Sensitisation Campaigns in Lagos on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation campaign is taking place nationwide.
According to her, the campaign themes are multifaceted with clear, concise, informative and educative messages aimed at arousing the awareness and
“These campaign themes intend to address the dangers of buying medicines from hawkers and abuse of Codeine and self-medication especially among youths.
“ The dangerous effects of using kerosene tanker to load groundnut oil, dangerous practice of using potassium bromate to bake bread and use of Azo-dyes in palm oil which causes cancer.
“Also the dangers of using `Sniper’ to preserve any type of food or to keep flies away from meat, dangers of transfat and consumption of excessive oil.
“Also, the use of formalin on food and its associated health hazards as well as low level of exclusive breastfeeding practice by lactating mothers and its associated health hazards.’’
According to the NAFDAC D-G, public awareness campaign is one of the veritable regulatory mechanisms put in place by NAFDAC to promote and protect the health of our people.
“A well informed, sensitised and educated citizenry is the bedrock of effective regulation.
“This is why today’s event is another major milestone in our bid to protect Nigerians against the deleterious effects of unwholesome food, falsified medical products, harmful cosmetics, poor water and other substandard regulated products.
“The key objective of this sensitisation programme is to intensify and expand the scope of our informal and formal behaviour change communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities especially at the grassroots.
“Dissemination of food and drug safety information is an important aspect of our regulatory work.’’
Adeyeye also acknowledged the fact that Nigeria was not left out of the global problem of falsified medical products and unwholesome food.
The NAFDAC boss said that the sensitisation campaign would contribute to the Federal Government’s effort in tackling the problem of non regulated food, drug and cosmetic products in the country, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic era.
“The advent of COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the problem with the challenge posed by substandard and falsified Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
“The sensitisation campaigns will, therefore, contribute significantly to the federal government’s concerted efforts to inform, sensitise, educate and alert the public about inherent dangers of intake and use of those spurious regulated products”.
She said that the mass media, youth organisations and civil societies in the pilot states would be at the forefront of the sensitisation campaigns targeted at market people, road transport workers and employers, community youth organisations and students.
Adeyeye appealed to the general public to sustain their support and partnership with NAFDAC in the sensitisation campaign for the benefit of all.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the various communities take ownership of the care and management of their own health.
“Therefore, it is our expectation that at the end of the campaigns, the participants and target audiences would become dependable partners and allies of NAFDAC.
“And, be in the forefront of sustaining the public awareness campaigns by disseminating the information and messages to the grassroots,’’ she said. (NAN) www.nannews.ng