Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has called on pharmacists in the country to intensify efforts at research that will lead to the development of local pharmaceutical drugs to replace imported ones in the fight against diabetes and other forms of endocrine and metabolic disorders.
This, he emphasised, will not only boost the Nigerian economy by creating jobs for citizens but also save the country huge sums of money spent on importing foreign drugs.
Omo-Agege stated this in Abuja at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria (EMSON).
In a paper titled, ‘The Role of Education in Preventing Diabetes Complications’, Omo-Agege, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, expressed concern over the frightening statistics of over 4 million Nigerians suffering from the disease.
According to him, considering the huge health implications of the ailment on the nation’s economy, it has become pertinent for EMSON to come up with revolutionary reforms that will change the narrative and reduce the menace of the disease to the barest minimum.
He stressed the need for strong diabetic education advocacy by individuals, institutions, public and private sectors to stem the tide of the ailment in the country.
The lawmaker expressed the willingness of the 9th Senate to look at requisite laws that will help the people on the need for healthy life habits.
According to him, education programmes must inculcate in patients the opportunities which the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) holds towards better health management.
Omo-Agege, who drew the attention of the pharmacists to the rising incidence of the disease in the country to pandemic levels with its attendant negative impact, said it was a deep source of concern to the National Assembly in particular and the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration in general.
He therefore called on Nigerian pharmacists to make the best use of the abundance of natural plants that nature has bestowed on the nation and come up with medicinal brands that can compete favourably with imported ones.
He noted that such enlightenment “will help cover the most mileage in the war against diabetes mellitus. This is so because, most of the essentials in life-style issues have to do with body mass control; the latter which is a highly implicit cause of type-2 diabetes. For juvenile or type-1 diabetes, which is more or less hereditary, your organisation needs to do more work in terms of research and education, to counsel parents with diabetes-genetic history on how to better manage the lifestyle habits of their offspring. It is a matter of education.
On our part in the legislature, we will continue to look at appropriate and requisite laws that will help advance your work and also help general consciousness among our people on the need to live with healthy life habits”.
A statement signed by Mr Yomi Odunuga, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the Deputy President of the Senate, stated that the senator expressed concern that the menace of chronic ailments have further compounded the short life expectancy of Africans.
Omo-Agege said the healthcare component of the ERGP is expected to raise primary healthcare delivery coverage from 12.6percent which the present administration met in 2015 to 45percent in 2023.
“Through adequate education and campaigns, it is expected that by 2028, we will hit the 98% target coverage for primary healthcare delivery throughout the country.
“When the present administration came to power in 2015, it began to address the issue of deficiencies in primary healthcare delivery by different intervention programmes. For instance, the present administration is employing the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and a compulsory health insurance scheme which exempts 40% of the poorest Nigerians from financial contribution, among others, to drive the process,” he added.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion Professor J.A. Otubu decried the changing lifestyle of Nigerians which have contributed to the emergence of strange illnesses in the country.
He enjoined Nigerians to stick to African indigenous food and refrain from the consumption of foreign processed food to engender a healthy population in the country.
The keynote speaker and globally acclaimed medical practitioner, Dr. Kamaiya Kaushik submitted that the rate at which the disease is spreading globally was frightening.
Kaushik put the figure of global victims of the disease at over 425million people of more than 16 million sufferers of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria accounting for over 4million, the highest in the region.
On the way out, he advocated strict lifestyle monitoring, diet control, physical exercise, regular medical check-up amongst others.
Women Affairs Minister, Dame Pauline Tallen; Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe and other dignitaries who graced the occasion were unanimous in enjoining Nigerians to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to halt the diabetes pandemic ravaging the Nigerian population