NAFDAC Partners Medical University to Boost Research, Food Safety and Drug Discovery

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By Biola Lawal

Lagos (Flowerbudnews): The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has concluded arrangements for collaboration with the Medical Sciences University in Ondo to further enhance realisation of the Agency’s mandate.

A NAFDAC statement made available to Flowerbudnews on Wednesday in Abuja said that the collaboration would particularly be in The areas of research, food safety and drug discovery.

NAFDAC Boss, Prof Moji Adeyeye stated that  formalisation of the collaboration would also commit the two organisations to working closely together in the areas of training, capacity building, institutional building, applied research and community-based projects.

The statement, signed by Sayo Akintola,  Resident Media Consultant stated Prof Adeyeye stressed the points at the official signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Agency and the University of Medical Sciences, (UniMed) Ondo in Lagos on Tuesday.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said the two institutions would be collaborating in the areas of scientific research, such as conducting and promoting mycotoxin research, technology transfer in the area of quality control and assurance, risk assessment and management in food systems.

She added that the partnership would also seek for grants to fund collaborative Research and Development (R&D) on mycotoxin research, food safety and other related inter-disciplinary research.

The NAFDAC boss further explained that ‘’It’s a significant effort that we are trying to strengthen our cooperation and collaboration especially at this time where health and safe food have become important to the citizens of this nation.’’

She expressed worry that people die prematurely as a result of eating moulds in food. ‘’To eat food with phallotoxin or mallotoxin or whatever toxin. Many people are hypersensitive to molds in food,’’ she said,

She noted with dismay that Nigerians are so fast in attributing such deaths to witches in the village. ‘’No. it may be from our food. It may be from substandard and falsified medicines’’, she warned.

She explained that she lost her brother on September 1, 2021 to the intake of such unwholesome medicines, adding that he had complained that he took some antimalarial medicines about a year before which incapacitated him to walk without suffering a stroke. She said he also said that he had been itching for about six weeks.

‘’He didn’t have stroke. He said it is antimalarial medicine. I said what is the name of the medicine. Incidentally we were running after some antimalarials then at the Agency and it was discovered that one of the antimalarial medicines that was qualified that he might have bought,’’ she said.

She lamented that people are fond of buying medicines from patent dealers and corner drug stores or hawkers without prescription, adding that ‘’the lesson from this is that intellectual capacity drives regulatory system because if somebody doesn’t understand what food is, even starting with micronutrient in food and understanding the role of contaminants be it phallotoxin, macro toxin, whatever, it’s almost like digging one’s grave slowly

‘’The rest is history as he died a painful death in UCH’’, she noted with a tone laden with grief. She asked rhetorically ‘’how many people have gone that way?’’

That’s why I take what we are doing seriously, to safeguard the health of our people. It is about food safety. It is about medicines that do what; quality, safety, and efficacy.

She said a country that puts emphasis on science is a country that has future. Prof Mojisola Adeyeye explained that NAFDAC places great premium on deepening use of science in the regulatory processes and self-development of its officers.

She added that the Agency is also a firm believer in collaborative applied research efforts with tertiary institutions such as universities and research institutes, stressing that such research and studies are accentuated on projects and programmes leading to improvement in methodologies, development of robust regulatory policies, consumer and health products development, data generation and deployment.

Speaking in the same vein, the Vice Chancellor of University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Ondo State, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, explained the significance of collaborative partnerships in the university system, saying ‘’we need partnerships with other organizations, Federal agencies, and private agencies’’.

He disclosed that UniMed faculty of pharmacy is supported by Olu Akinkugbe Pharms Education Trust established by the 93-year-old Prof Akin Akinkugbe, the nation’s oldest living pharmacist and national president of the pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

‘’We are here to channel a new pathway and to close the gaps that exist today in Nigeria health and medical system’’, he said, insisting that UniMed is one of the best places to invest in.

According to him, the university has a record of never being disrupted in its academic activities as neither COVID-19 Pandemic nor the national ASSU strike affected it. ‘’We run an undisrupted academic calendar. Eight years going, no disruption.’’

Prof. Fatusi however, urged NAFDAC personnel to come and study at the medical university, adding that he would also be very glad to have experts in the Agency to teach with the institution from the comfort of their offices using the various technology.

‘’There’s a lot of knowledge inbuilt in an organization like NAFDAC. We must find out opportunity to raise new generation of people who are not based on theory but understand the intricacies of the country and what it takes to regulate and to bring that to strengthen academic programme’’, he said, adding; ‘’we have research, pharmacy, mycotoxin and food safety, microbiology and several units that we can work with. We have Centre for herbal medicine, and drug discovery’’.(Flowerbudnews)

Biola Lawal

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