‘Nigeria should worry about syringe shortfall’ – Expert

‘Nigeria should worry about syringe shortfall’ – Expert

An expert and pharmaceutical research scientist, Prof.

Martin Emeje says Nigeria should be worried about the recent warning of the World Health Organisation that there could be a global shortfall of up to two billion syringes in 2022.

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According to Emeje, Nigeria should be worried about the WHO’s alert because the nation depends on importation for virtually all its pharmaceutical and medical products.

The WHO had on Tuesday warned that the ongoing global COVID-19 vaccination campaigns were already fuelling syringe shortages around the world.

Lisa Hedman, the WHO’s senior advisor on access to medicines and health products, said as the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses increases, the supply of syringes needs to keep pace.

WHO, she noted, is raising the concern that the world could have a shortage of immunisation syringes, which would, in turn, lead to serious problems, such as slowing down immunisation efforts.

From a reliable source Emeje, a molecular pharmaceutical researcher with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abuja, said, “Nigeria should be worried anytime there is a shortage of pharmaceutical or medical products because we do not produce anything.

“This is what some of us have been shouting about for years now.

Imagine this country shivering because of syringes and needles? Is it not a shame? Do you know that there was a time Nigeria was exporting syringes and needles? 
“Ask anyone who studied pharmacy in ABU Zaria in the late 90s, Zarinject was a very popular syringe then.

Our problem in this country is stealing compounded by insincerity and the absence of national pride.

“Forget COVID-19 vaccination, shortage of syringe is not only detrimental to the success of COVID-19 vaccination but to other ailments too.

“The only thing Nigeria can do is to invest heavily in R&D, that is, research and development for local production.

And this is not only about government.

The private sector and wealthy individuals must take up the challenge too.

“Pharmaceutical industries must as a matter of deliberate policy begin to drive national R&D.

I’m glad that Fidson and May& Baker have decided to heed this call by giving some money to NIPRD to facilitate R&D in local drug production.

“As a matter of fact, since inception about 30 years ago, NIPRD has never won the M&B professional award in research and innovation until last week when Prof.

Emeje won the award.

“Afrexim bank also just gave us a grant now, imagine if individuals who normally donate millions to political campaigns also give money to R&D institutions with clear targets for delivery? We won’t be talking about the shortage of anything today.

We will also be proud of ourselves, our nation as we will be secured”.

The pharmaceutical researcher also expressed reservation about the recent decision of the Lagos State Government to allow private health facilities to charge N6,000 as administrative charges for COVID-19 vaccination.

“I am yet to understand why and how the N6000 is supposed to facilitate anything.

You see in this country, we have this mentality of buying and selling just any and everything; this is the curse crude oil has brought upon us, otherwise, why do we always think that money is the answer to all our problems? Slavery is in different colours.

It’s sad.

“Why the charge when the vaccine is free? It is still an incentive to the private hospitals.

Why should one go pay for a free vaccine in a private hospital? Are the vaccines not given to them for free? What’s the 6000 for? Is a syringe and needle more than N100?” he asked.

Oluchi Okwuego/punch
‘Nigeria should worry about syringe shortfall’ – Expert

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