By Martins Ifijeh
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) kicked off the import of herbal mixtures from Madagascar for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, describing the federal government's decision as unpleasant and shameful.
In an interview with THISDAY Tuesday, PSN President Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa said that several brilliant Nigerian scientists had proposed solutions against COVID-19 to the federal government, but that they were all ignored, adding that the same government was already looking for – solutions made abroad.
He said: “I am aware of the efforts made by researchers in this country. Even the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), the Nigeria Medical Research Institute (NIMR) and several others have made efforts, but the government does not seem to be interested. We are waiting for fully cooked food from elsewhere. We are waiting for others to finish their own research so that we can adopt them.
“The government has refused to finance its own research institutes. We continue to hear donations of N25 billion, N50 billion, US $ 3 million and several billion more. Why the government cannot dedicate half of these resources to research; why can't they hire their research bodies to find solutions? " he asked.
He said that if the government takes the development of vaccines and cures against COVID-19 seriously, it should bring together all the researchers with ideas, tell NIPRD and another group of scientists who sit next to them to hear their various ideas .
“Promising solutions must be subjected to clinical (clinical) trials. Madagascar did that. These researchers are not just herbalists; some are teachers, pharmacists and doctors.
"The other recommendation is that the government bring these brains together and tell them that, as Madagascar has managed to do this, they should go to the laboratories and find solutions," he added.
He said that while, in principle, PSN would not mind if the Nigerian government imported new drugs that were proven to cure COVID-19 or any other disease for which Nigerians lack the capacity or technology to produce locally, it is appalling that the The country was on the verge of spending scarce foreign exchange to import & # 39; coal to Newcastle & # 39 ;.
“Even if we don't pay for it, it is completely shameful that a country that should be the leader in Africa, with the highest GDP, allows itself to be dragged so low. Nigeria has about 174 universities (43 federal, 52 state and 79 private), 20 pharmacy faculties and about 69 federally funded research institutes (including NIPRD and NIMR), while Madagascar has only six universities, a college of pharmacy and nine research centers.
“Nigeria has some of the best scientists in the world who have done so much work with natural and herbal medicines. Nigeria has developed a pharmacopoeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna – potent sources of phytomedicines. Since the appearance of COVID-19, several of them have raised their voices saying that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19. Some have patents. Many herb companies and producers have specifically announced that they have herbal formulations that can do what this & # 39; invention & # 39; Madagascar can do. "
He said the government must save Nigerian pharmaceutical scientists and other scientists from the shame of importing our country and experimenting with herbal remedies that God has given the nation in abundance, adding that some of the country's grandmothers and grandmothers have used it for centuries.