NAFDAC inaugurates App to promote safe use of drugs

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By Aderogba George
Abuja: The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday launched an Application named “Med Safety App” for safe use of drugs in the country.

The Director-General of the agency, Mrs Mojisola Adeyeye, said during the launch at a virtual meeting that the App. was to report Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) that might occur while taking a drug.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inauguration of the application is also to commemorate the 2020 World Health Organisation Medicine Safety Week.

Adeyeye said there was no better time to inaugurate the app than now when the focus of the world was on the safety of medications used in healthcare delivery and the battle to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

She added that “the journey toward the adoption of the `Med Safety App’ by Nigeria commenced in August 2019 when NAFDAC officially submitted an expression of interest to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The adoption process was cemented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of Pharmacovigilance centres held at Bagota, Colombia in October 2019.

“The technical development of the app commenced in January 2020 when Nigeria provided country-specific information and a list of all NAFDAC registered medicines.

“Several testing processes and demonstrations were done to determine its suitability and adaptability in Nigeria.

“I am glad that we are here today to witness the official launch of the Med Safety App in Nigeria.”

Adeyeye explained that since NAFDAC’s inception, the National Pharmacovigilance Centre (NPC) had continually deployed
hard copy ADR triplicate forms, e-reporting platforms and the Pharmacovigilance Rapid Alert System for Consumer Reporting (PRASCOR) to collect and collate reports of ADRs.

According to her, it is worrisome that ADRs and other drug-related problems remain under reported in Nigeria and within the WHO region of Africa in spite of the availability of these Pharmacovigilance reporting tools.

“The Med Safety App is available for download for free on all android and apple smart phones and it provides a medium for users to report incidences of ADRs from the comfort of their homes”, she said.

She pointed out that the report could be created offline without internet connectivity and submitted once the connection had been established, noting that it was directly linked to WHO database platforms.

Adeyeye called on healthcare providers and Nigerians at large to download the App from apple play store and use to support NAFDAC to achieve the mandate of safeguarding the health of the nation.

She said that the agency expected that the use of the App would promote awareness and increase reportage of ADRs among healthcare professionals, healthcare providers and the public.

Mr Bitrus Fraden, the Director/Head of Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance of NAFDAC, said that the App was developed under WEBRADR Project.

According to Fraden, the App is an initiative successfully launched in Armenia, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ivory Coast, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Paraguay, Thailand, Tanzania and Uganda.

He noted that Nigeria would become the 15th country globally and the 9th in WHO region of Africa to adopt the App.

He said “Nigeria is one of the 74 confirmed countries participating in the 2020 Med Safety Week. For one week each year, medicine regulators across the globe simultaneously share campaign materials on their social media channels with the hashtag #MedSafetyWeek.

“Year 2020 campaign will run till Nov. 6 and will call on patients and healthcare professionals to report side effects, especially those associated
with new or experimental treatments using medicinal/pharmaceutical products, vaccines, biologics and medical devices.

“Nigeria is leveraging on this event to officially launch the adoption of the Med Safety App as tool to promote reporting of ADRs in Nigeria.

“The App is expected to complement existing pharmacovigilance reporting tools already deployed by NAFDAC,” he said. (NAN)

Biola Lawal