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NAFDAC AND HEALTHCARE DELIVERY

By NBF News
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The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding the health care sector. Although the agency's operations are supervised by the Federal Ministry of Health, a governing council comprising a chairman and members drawn from the ministry, NAFDAC, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the pharmaceutical groups as well as the Food and Beverages Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the general public exercises some level of control over it.

NAFDAC is to make sure that all products within its mandate otherwise tagged: 'regulated products' are properly labeled and packaged. A critical assessment of its functions shows that this agency is absolutely responsible for the supervision and monitoring of Nigerians' safety and health. This, it does, via regulation and control of importation, distribution, exportation, manufacturing, advertisement as well as the sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical substances, bottled water, detergents including chemicals through enforcement activities.

Recently, NAFDAC commenced the unscheduled inspection of pharmaceutical stores nationwide whether patented or unpatented. The exercise has led to closure of many drug stores or pharmacy as it has been discovered that fake and adulterated pharmaceutical cum NAFDAC regulated products have found their ways into both corporate and non-corporate pharmacy and drug stores. The porosity of the nation's land borders particularly makes this unscheduled inspection technique very imperative. Smugglers of regulated products as saboteurs are unpredictable such that while the agency devises a unique means of safeguarding the nation's healthcare sector, they are busy improvising alternative means of countering the effort of the agency.

This explains why the NAFDAC management team has persistently ensured that its operatives do not go to bed with their eyes closed in view of surprises that could be sprang by smugglers and dealers in fake/adulterated products. In cities like Ilorin, Osogbo, Akure, Onitsha and Kano, the agency's enforcement officials were amazed at the extent to which substandard regulated products infiltrated even the so-called corporate patent pharmaceutical stores leading to closure of some of them. A nation that encourages trade in fake, unwholesome and substandard health facilities and drugs successfully boost other nations foreign exchange earning ability in the health sector at her own expense.

The government of a country in which influx of fake pharmaceutical products thrive easily loses administrative grip over citizens of such country due to loose of confidence in view of a collapsed health care delivery system. Morale decadence equally becomes prevalent in such a nation as dealers/smugglers flaunt their wealth enviously in the society there by altering moral values of such a society.

NAFDAC is conscious of the need not to hinder or inhibit international trade. It has opted to facilitate international trade via recently evolving a system which would massively reduce the clearing time for the agency regulated products to between 24 and 48 hours. The novel technique tagged: NAFDAC e-clearance system is in line with the Federal Government effort to facilitate international trade, eliminate congestion at the ports (air and sea) while simultaneously monitoring efficiently, false declaration of NAFDAC regulated products.

By this is meant, that a drastic reduction in services delivery time is achievable while professional efficiency will simultaneously remain at its best. This is indeed, an attestation to the fact that when the 'head is good, the entire body will equally be also.'