By Hassan Zaggi
The Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. Obi Adigwe, has regretted that the critical issue about the development of herbal medicine in Nigeria is that practictioners who require support in terms of investment, funding and capacity building have not been robustly and comprehensively engaged in discussions relating to the sector’s development strategy.
He stated this at a three-day conference which was held both physically and virtually in Osogbo, Osun State.
A statement by the Director General noted that the conference was part of efforts of the NIPRD to step up its capacity building mandate by organising a grass roots training for phytomedicinal practitioners aimed at improving access to health and stimulating socio-economic development.
According to Adigwe, what NIPRD has decided to do was to take the phytomedicines development strategy down to the grassroots.
He, however, stated that the seven objectives the institute wanted to achieve by organising the conference included increasing the awareness of policy makers, political office holders, investors and development partners about the importance and potential of the phytomedicines sector. “The second thing is that we want to build the capacity of the phytomedicinal practitioners themselves.
“We want to build their capacity, we want to teach them how to harvest plants, teach them how to document their practices, teach them the importance of research and development in their activities, teach them how to apply for NAFDAC listing, and teach them how to partner with people in terms of bringing their products forward for marketing,” Adigwe explained.
The NIPRD Director General disclosed that his institute have concluded plans to select five products from Osun state at the end of the programme that it can take to the next level.
“Products that can have NAFDAC listing that can earn revenue for the practitioners and the Government, and which would consequently contribute to the socioeconomic development of this country.” he said
Speaking on the development activities of the Institute, Adigwe said his organisation had successfully brought Research and Development to the fore of this country.
“We also ensured that products made in Nigeria are prioritised, when it comes to manufacturing of sanitiser, production of sickle cell drugs among others.
“We have also spearheaded the articulation in policies which encourage us to look inwards, strategies that encourage development of home-grown solutions have now been brought to the fore” he stated.