By Hassan Zaggi
Concerned by the lack of proper processes of doing clinical trial in Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has concluded plans to organize a joint training for principal investigators across the country.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this at a virtual media briefing on Tuesday.
She, however, lamented that before she took over the leadership of NAFDAC, clinical trial was literarily dead in Nigeria.
“Clinical trial is huge and it is almost dead when I came. I have put everything in place to ensure that clinical trial is well done.
“In fact, in two days time, there is going to be a joint training for principal investigators across the country.
“We started working with Lagos state ministry of health on chloroquine clinical trial protocol. We did that to make sure that there is no much mistake to start correcting.
“We have reversed the way we conduct clinical trials. We have had a lot of stakeholders meeting. We have written guidelines to help the clinical researcher to know how to navigate the clinically research process, especially our own products.,” she said.
As part of her achievement, Prof. Adeyeye, said that she has successful boosted the morale of staff of the agency which was hitherto down.
She noted that apart from ensuring that the staff of the agency get good allowances, she revealed that she has liaise with some universities where staff of the agency are learning.
“Again, when I look at a staff, I look at him or her holistically whether he is having job satisfaction. I told them that if a staff is where he was five years ago, the something is wrong with him or maybe NAFDAC is doing the something wrong.
“We are working on every way to make our staff motivated. We started developing our staff. We are having a lot of training for the NAFDAC staff.
“In 2018, we had a lot of training for our staff. Now, we are collaborating with universities. Some of our staff are at the University of Lagos and another is at the University of Port Harcourt.
“And we are getting more slots to do part-time to achieve what they want to achieve. But if some of them want to do a special course, why not? It is also going to help us to drive our own regulatory processes.
“We also improve our staff welfare from allowances that our staff were not getting before through the NAFDAC Council, our staff started getting them. It is still little from my own perspective because NAFDAC staff are poorly paid.”
Prof Adeyeye disclosed that staff of the Port Inspection Directorate of her agency had developed a software that they can use to track where a ship is globally in the waters.
On the effort of NAFDAC to combat the COVID-19, Prof. Adeyeye, said: “In terms of the COVID, you will not believe what we have done. It was sleepless nights for three to four months.
“Since we never got this type of pandemic. Ebola was completely different, we never got this type of pandemic, so we have to start writing to register this and that.
“Our registration and regulatory directorate worked their back out. Inspection directorate was restless because people were trying to use that opportunity to bring nonsense into the country. The same thing with investigation and enforcement. The lab, the same thing.
“So, we registered so many products, but we were very rigorous with our registration criteria because we knew that so many people were trying to use that opportunity to bring so many things into the country.
“We have so far registered over 60 products. Before COVID, we had over 170 companies making sanitisers. Some people were selling sanitisers without registration and we went after them. We did nationwide surveillance involving all the 36 states.
“With post marketing surveillance, we are now changing everything. We are no longer registration product focus.”