Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says Nigerians must look inwards to find solutions to the country’s challenges.
In an interview with NAN, she said while Madagascar had tried to tackle the challenge, Nigeria is still struggling.
Adeyeye said the country depends on the western world for solution to its challenges, saying things have to be done differently.
She added that it is a pity that “Nigeria had been a slave to China and India” in terms of drug reliance.
“Madagascar has done it. They have looked inward and came up with herbs; Nigeria has over relied on the white for everything,” she said.
“Some of us claim to love this country, but we do not. We have good weather, good environment, natural resources, but we are not making good use of them.
“We are proud of them (Madagascar). They appreciate what they have. We do not. All the herbs they have and are using, we have them. But we do not use them the way they are doing.
“They appreciate their brains and use them. We must do same here if we want to develop as a nation.”
Adeyeye said that the novel coronavirus had jolted the country, and challenged those in authority to make the health sector a major priority.
“COVID-19 has slapped us in the face. It has kicked us back and front. We are now facing the stark realities of being insecure,” she said.
“There is drug insecurity, medical devices insecurity, test kits insecurity; we have always depended on other nations for everything.
“India, for instance, is not supplying medicals to us again because they are thinking about their own people. We have been using Dogonyaro (Neem tree) for ages. Some other African countries have developed their herbal remedies.
“Which one can we claim to have developed in Nigeria? What we are looking for in Madagascar, we may have it in our backyard.”
She said it is time for Nigerians to make use of their talents by looking inward and coming up with something.
Adeyeye, however, called for a policy that would ban importation of drugs and compel Nigerians to look inward and start the development of home made drugs.
“We must take the health sector serious by showing all sense of responsibility and we must work to stop importation of drugs,” she said.
The director general also called for investment in research, adding that without it, Nigeria would not move forward in the quest to develop herbal medicine.
“Research is an important ingredient that can create confidentiality agreement between herbal practitioners and NAFDAC,” she said.
“Research is important to help us know the content of the herbal mixture we even need to take Before COVID-19, we had inaugurated Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee, precisely in March 2019. We have wasted a lot of money and opportunity to develop our herbal medicine and cannot continue that way.”
The director general also called for mutual trust among the herbal practitioners to facilitate inventions in the medical sector.