In the heart of Nigeria’s bustling city of Lagos, a clarion call for action reverberated through the halls of a three-day pharmaceutical training event. This call was not just another voice in the crowd; it was a plea from stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector, urging President Bola Tinubu to extend the State of Emergency declared on food security to encompass indigenous medicine. The convergence of minds at this event underlined the profound connection between indigenous medicine and agriculture, highlighting the symbiotic relationship that could spur the development of the nation’s pharmaceutical industry.
The Nexus of Indigenous Medicine and Agriculture
Professor Martins Emeje, a distinguished guest speaker at the event, emphasized the inextricable link between indigenous medicine and agriculture. He implored pharmacists to harness the knowledge they gain from abroad and apply it domestically. In the context of Nigeria, where a substantial portion of the population lacks access to foreign drugs, indigenous medicine becomes a vital lifeline. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 80 percent of people in developing countries rely on traditional and herbal medicine. In Nigeria, our ability to advance traditional medicine hinges on support from both the government and the private sector.
Professor Emeje asserted, “If we aspire to progress as a nation, we cannot remain mere consumers of foreign pharmaceuticals. We must evolve into creators, producing medicines that others yearn for. The concept of medicine security entails self-reliance in pharmaceuticals. Without it, we remain vulnerable as a nation.”
Extending the State of Emergency: A Prudent Move
The plea to President Tinubu to extend the State of Emergency declared on food security to encompass indigenous medicine is not without reason. Indigenous medicine is deeply intertwined with agriculture; it encompasses the use of native plants, animals, and soil, all of which are fundamental to agriculture itself. This extension would signify a comprehensive approach to securing not only our food supply but also our healthcare ecosystem.
A Call for Self-Reliance in Medicine Production
Executive Officer of Bloom Public Health, Professor Chimezie, echoed the sentiments of many stakeholders when he praised the government for its support of pharmaceutical training. He emphasized that manufacturers must follow suit by prioritizing quality medicines. He declared, “The objective of this training is to empower individuals to produce high-quality medicines, ensuring that Nigeria stands as a bastion of self-sufficiency. We cannot continue to be a dumping ground for foreign pharmaceuticals. Our ambition is to emulate India’s prowess in pharmaceuticals within the African context.”
With more than 140 eager participants attending this training, it is evident that a hunger for knowledge and progress pervades the pharmaceutical industry. People are eager to elevate their skills to meet the highest standards of quality manufacturing. As Professor Chimezie noted, “We must become technically strong and confident in our capabilities. When we achieve this level of excellence, we can explore local resources and innovation to further enhance our pharmaceutical industry.”
The Vision: Becoming the India of Africa
The overarching vision is to transform Nigeria into the ‘India of Africa’ in terms of pharmaceutical prowess. This audacious goal encompasses not only self-sufficiency in medicine production but also the exportation of high-quality pharmaceuticals to other African nations and beyond. Nigeria, with its abundant natural resources and a burgeoning pharmaceutical industry, has the potential to become a major player in the global pharmaceutical market.
Government Support and Manufacturer’s Role
While the government’s support for this endeavor is commendable, it is imperative that pharmaceutical manufacturers actively engage in this mission. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is key to achieving the desired transformation. The government’s role is to create an enabling environment, provide incentives, and offer regulatory support. Manufacturers, on the other hand, must commit to producing medicines of the highest quality standards.
In conclusion, the stakeholders in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector have sent a clear and compelling message to President Bola Tinubu. They have urged him to extend the State of Emergency declared on food security to encompass indigenous medicine, recognizing the profound link between the two. This move is not merely symbolic; it is a crucial step toward achieving self-reliance in medicine production and positioning Nigeria as a pharmaceutical powerhouse in Africa. As the nation rallies behind this vision, the future holds the promise of a healthier, more prosperous Nigeria, and a burgeoning pharmaceutical industry that can truly rival the best in the world.