The partnership between the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFADC) and the University of Medical Sciences (UniMed), Ondo, Ondo State will formalise collaboration between the two institutions and commit them to working closely together in training, capacity building, institutional building, applied research and community-based projects.
At the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties in Lagos on Tuesday, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said that the two institutions would be collaborating in 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.
According to a statement by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Mr Sayo Akintola, the NAFDAC boss said that the partnership would also seek for grants to fund collaborative Research and Development on mycotoxin research, food safety and other related inter-disciplinary research.
Adeyeye further explained: ‘’It’s a significant effort that we are trying to strengthen our cooperation and collaboration especially at this time where healthy living and safety of 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. iIt may be from our food. It may be from substandard and falsified medicines’’, she warned.
Adeyeye explained that she lost her brother on September 2021 to the intake of such unwholesome medicines, adding that he had complained that he took some anti-malarial medicines about a year before which incapacitated him, and made him not to be able to walk without suffering a stroke. She said he also said that he had been itching for about six weeks.
“He didn’t have a stroke. He said it is antimalarial medicine. I said what is the name of the medicine.
She lamented that people are fond of buying medicines from patent medicine vendors 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 (University College Hospital, Ibadan)”, 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 a future, and explained that NAFDAC places great premium on deepening the 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.
UniMed Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi explained the significance of collaborative partnerships in the university system, saying, “we need partnerships with other organisations, federal agencies and private agencies’’.
He disclosed that the university’s Faculty of Pharmacy is supported by Olu Akinkugbe Pharmacy Education Trust, which was established by the 93-year-old the professor, who is the nation’s oldest living pharmacist and past 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 strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities affected it. “We run an undisrupted academic calendar. Eight years going, no disruption”, he said.
Fatusi, however, urged NAFDAC personnel to come and study at the medical university, adding that he would also be glad to have experts in the agency teach in the institution from the comfort of their offices using the various technology.
“There’s a lot of knowledge inbuilt in an organisation like NAFDAC. We must find out opportunity to raise a 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 a centre for herbal medicine, and drug discovery”.
11 March 2023 at 6:35 pm
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