Home Health & Living 160m Nigerians can’t afford imported drugs– NNMDA

160m Nigerians can’t afford imported drugs– NNMDA

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The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) has lamented the country’s over-dependence on imported drugs and other healthcare products, arguing that over 160 million Nigerians can no longer afford them.

The Director General of the Agency, Professor Martins Emeje, who spoke at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, during an engagement meeting on the importance of integrating indigenous medicine with orthodox health practices, said the good thing is that over 40 per cent of drugs in the pharmaceutical space globally originated from plants, which abound in Nigeria.

He said: “Nigeria and Africa have been over-dependent on the importation of healthcare products, including drugs. As at today, Nigeria doesn’t manufacture a single drug. This is quite painful and shameful.

“This simply means that we are insecure in terms of medicine, not just the insecurity we all know. That is why we decided to see how we can develop our own indigenous and natural medicine so that we can produce our drugs locally.

“Over 40% of current drugs in the pharmaceutical space globally are from the plant origin, not to talk of animals, minerals and soil. For every disease, the solution is within the environment.

“There’s no disease in Nigeria that the panacea is not here. We can boast of men and women in our cultural heritage of herbal and traditional medical practitioners with a wealth of knowledge and experience of how to tackle all manner of diseases in our society. That is why our ancestors lived for over 100 years.

“But today, life expectancy is less than 60 years. That is because we have thrown away our culture and heritage and are busy exporting and exploiting our cultural bio-diversity and depending on imported pharmaceuticals.

“This engagement is part of a research project involving five countries namely, China, India, United Kingdom, Uganda and Nigeria who are collaborating to find solutions to the problem of anti-microbial using herbal medicine of Nigeria origin.

“My agency is leading Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Obafemi Awolowo University, with Prof. Charles Esimone of UNIZIK and Prof Ibrahim Bellow as part of Nigeria’s team to develop this medicine”.

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