Access to healthcare as a human right can only be achieved when there’s access to quality medicines, in order to step up efforts to harmonize medicines registration, strengthen drug regulations and access to quality medicines in the region, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), called for collaboration among the 15 countries medicines regulatory agencies in West Africa.
Dr. Carlos Brito, WAHO Director of Public Health said this while speaking at the opening of a Technical Workshop preparatory to the Steering Committee meeting of the West African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (WA-MRH) Project on Thursday, in Lagos.
According to the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, who chairs the technical session the goal of the WA-MRH is to ensure regional collaboration among regulatory agencies, this collaboration will ensure quality medicine for our people and also strengthen the regulatory framework. This can be achieved by making sure that the governance of each agency is very strong.
“If a regulatory agency that is my neighbor is weak then, I am (as a regulatory agency) going to be weak because we will have falsify medicines coming through such a neighboring country”- she said.
According to Dr. Brito, it is the responsibility of the WAHO to put in place mechanism of solidarity to help countries in the region to solve their problems.
“WAHO and ECOWAS have a very strong mechanism of solidarity that can be used. We consider integration better for us to achieve health for all in our region”.
“Our countries are not on the same level of development and very often, it is very necessary to help countries to strengthen the program, to strengthen capacity in our 15 countries.
“We are committed to the work of integration where all our countries utilize what is better done in one country to the interest of the entire region,” Dr. Britos said.
Speaking on the issue of drug abuse in Nigeria, Prof. Adeyeye, stresses the importance of family structure, finding a lasting solution to unemployment, and Education as key to curbing drug substance abuse.
“NAFDAC is planning advocacy visits to secondary schools to sensitize them on the dangers of drug abuse, and while these interventions cost money, the Federal Government is committed to this fight,” she said.
In respect to the role of WAHO in curbing drug abuse, Prof. Adeyeye said “a lot of illicit drugs come in from neighboring countries, if we strengthen all drug regulatory agencies we will reduce the inflow of illicit drug” further emphasizing WAHO’s call for collaboration.
“We are also enhancing our borders as a nation, which we hope will lead to a reduction of illicit drugs in Nigeria”- she concluded.