…As WHO Marks 2020 African Traditional Medicine Day
TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
Director General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr Obi Adigwe
has advocated for Prioritisation of research and development for African Traditional Medicines Development.
Adigwe made this known in his message to commemorate the 2020 African Traditional Medicine Day, with the theme , “Traditional Medicine: Research and Development”.
He said that, the theme could not have been better articulated, given the hitherto neglected potential for health and socioeconomic development for the continent.
According to him; “For a while now, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has pioneered science-led Research and Development aimed at mainstreaming African Traditional Medicines.
“NIPRD is the most resourced Institute of its kind with over 70 Masters and PhDs aggregated around various aspects of phytomedicines’ development value chain. The Institute also remains the first African Institute to develop a world class phytomedicine from drug discovery up to phase 2 clinical trials.
“This illustrated the immense expertise and experience that existed at NIPRD with respect to Research and Development for African Traditional Medicines”, he emphasized.
Adigwe further hinted that, during the current pandemic, NIPRD has galvanised this significant expertise into making a huge contribution to the National and global response, and a significant proportion of this contribution is focused on African Traditional Medicines.
He added that, the Institute provided the internationally acclaimed analysis that underpinned Government’s categorical position on the Madagascar Covid Organics preparation. This analysis went viral internationally, with scientists and policymakers around the world referencing NIPRD’s seminal work on the product.
NIPRD Boss stressed that for the first time in the Country’s history an interdisciplinary team of over 20 eminent and erudite Professors drawn from various universities and geopolitical regions were convened to form the National Scientific Advisory Committee (NSAC) on the verification of claims by Traditional Medicines Practitioners. This landmark achievement not only ensures that coronavirus cure claims are subjected to the highest international science, it also ensures that the highest relevant standards of safety and efficacy are maintained, in order to safeguard the lives of Nigerians.
He added that, the Institute’s activities in phytomedicines and related product development has also been brought to bear in addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic. For instance, the Institute pioneered and strongly advocated indigenous manufacturing of hand sanitisers from locally sourced raw materials. Similarly Niprimune, its flagship immunomodulatory agent with very promising preclinical results is now receiving strong international funding attention for relevant clinical studies for COVID-19.
He also hinted that, NIPRD has commenced its nationwide training and capacity building of Traditional Medicines Practitioners. This year, the activity been decentralized to states and rural areas to ensure a robust and comprehensive engagement with Governors, sub-National policymakers and regulators, as well as to mitigate identified challenges such as paucity of funds, limited information technology capacity and poor understanding of scientific, policy and regulatory processes.
He, however, bemoaned lack of investment, funding and prioritisation with respect to Research and Development pertaining to African Traditional Medicines, and consequently urged the involvement of philanthropists, foundations, development partners and other private sector actors, despite these laudable advances.
Adigwe ,therefore, reiterated NIPRD’s commitment to continue fostering ground-breaking evidence based methodologies and policies that would enable Nigeria and indeed Africa fulfil the inherent health and socioeconomic potential associated with African Traditional Medicines.