By Hassan Zaggi
The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), has publicly presented hand sanitizers it developed and produced as part of efforts to combat Covid-19 in Nigeria.
The Director General of the agency, Dr. Obi Adigwe, presented the hand sanitizers at a media briefing in Abuja, weekend.
This is in effort to break the supply chain crisis which has resulted in the geometric increase in the prices of hand sanitizers in the country.
Two World Health Organisations (WHO) certified local pharmaceutical manufacturing firms, the DG said, have been contacted to begin the mass production of the locally made hand sanitizers.
While presenting sanitizers to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Dr. Adigwe said: “One of the fall out of the recent outbreak of corona virus is the supply chain disruption of various commodities that are relevant to controlling the outbreak.
“These disruption has either been fueled by genuine shortages which is global. Nigeria has not been left out of the global phenomenon.
“You recall that as part of the preparedness, the minister mandated NIPRD and other frontline agencies to put in place various activities that will ensure that we can start to address these shortages and supply chain disruptions that has been occasioned by the outbreak. Based on the mandate and direction given to us, NIPRD went to research and product development activities.
“I am happy to inform that based on the charge the Minister gave us when the outbreak happens as part of the preparedness, NIPRD began a series of activities to address the various challenges that are preliminary evidence identified that are contextual to our own situation.
“As part of the work that we did, NIPRD swung into action straight away and considered several formulas which are contextual to our environment.
“We validated some of these formulas and undertook our contextual activities to ensure that the product that we will be presenting as a pilot production will be contextual to our situation.
“It is a great sense of national pride and patriotism that I am here to present to you a hand sanitizer which has begun pilot product development at NIPRD and which is of highest quality in terms of ensuring activity against the spread of Coronavirus.”
The NIPRD Director General also revealed that his Institute has introduced other activities that will go a long way in addressing the supply disruption.
According to him: “We have quickly opened up a data base for local pharmaceutical manufacturers who have been licensed to produce hand sanitizers in Nigeria.
“The reason why we did this is that we have recognized that some of these companies have excess capacity and the companies who have indicated interest in joining the data base are willing to share the excess capacity for contract manufacturing.
“It will interest you to know that among the companies that have indicated interest in joining the data base are two companies who have WHO certification, that is the highest level of certification in terms of quality in the pharmaceutical world.
“In putting these data together, we have taken into consideration companies whose supply chain are focused on developing local capacity, so in addition to engaging the manufacturers who produce the hand sanitizers, we have gone further to identify where they get their raw materials from.
“I am glad to also inform you that we have also linked this to one company that produces alcohol in Nigeria. One of them has a factory in Kogi state where they produce alcohol from cassava.”
Explaining further, Adigwe said: “What this means is that in addition to having a product that is addressing the potential outbreak of Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we are also using this data base capabilities to stimulate jobs, address local capacity building, stimulate knowledge transfer and all other social, economic objectives that you are aware this administration has put in front of its agenda. That is encapsulated in Executive Order number 3 and number 5.
“I think this particular intervention is a good opportunity to bring to fore the medicines security concept which has been a concept that you are aware we have been pushing for a while now.
“This particular issue is one that should be used by all stakeholders and indeed, all Nigerians, to ensure that this medicine security concept is something that should be taken seriously.
“If we are able to use this particular opportunity to activate and get anywhere on medicine security concept, we can be sure that we will go a long way in providing job opportunities for people.”
Responding to a questions on the difference on the rate of viscosity between the hand sanitizers in the market and the one introduced by NIPRD, Dr. Adigwe said: “It is true that most of the hand sanitizers in the market are more viscos, but that does not make them more portent.
“NIPRD actually developed two pilot products, one with less viscosity and the other high viscosity.
“What we found out was that when we did the initial product testing, people seems to prefer the less viscos one because they felt it was multi purpose. They could use it for their hands and other hard surfaces. When they used the more viscos one, they found residue on it.”