NAFDAC, Medical Sciences Varsity to collaborate on food safety research, herbal medicine

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Lagos, Feb. 23, 2023 – The partnership between NAFADC and University of Medical Sciences in Ondo will formalise collaboration between the two institutions and commit them to working closely in the areas of training and capacity building.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, said this in Lagos on Tuesday at the official signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Agency and the nation’s premier University of Medical Sciences (UniMed), Ondo, Ondo State.

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.

The NAFDAC boss, according to a statement by the Agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, said 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.

Adeyeye said: ‘’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 molds in food.

‘’To eat food with phallotoxin or mallotoxin or whatever toxin. Many people are hypersensitive to molds in food,’’ she said,

She said that Nigerians were 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 said 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, and made him not to be able to walk, without suffering a stroke.

Adeyeye 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 said that people were fond of buying medicines from patent medicine vendors and corner drug stores or hawkers without prescription.

“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 said 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 put emphasis on science is a country that has a future.

Adeyeye said that NAFDAC placed great premium on deepening the use of science in the regulatory processes and self-development of its officers.

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

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

He said that the UniMed Faculty of Pharmacy was supported by Olu Akinkugbe Pharmacy Education Trust established by the 93-year-old Prof Akin Akinkugbe, 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 ASUU strike affected it.

‘’We run an undisrupted academic calendar. Eight years going, no disruption.’’

Fatusi 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 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.

Fatusi added that: ‘’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.’’  (GBN)

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