By Isiaka Wakili
The Federal Government has approved that a department of traditional medicine be established in the Ministry of Health to look for malaria cure in the forests.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, disclosed this to State House reporters on Wednesday after the cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the department would provide the leeway to research into many of the traditional products in the country.
Adewole said the Federal Executive Council also approved the use of Naprisan for sickle cell anaemia.
“The approval of Naprisan is coming at the eve of an approval granted by government for us to establish a department of traditional medicine in the Federal Ministry of Health.
“This will be the first time that this will happen and that department will really provide us the leeway to research into many of our traditional products and the first mandate of this department will be to look into cure for malaria in our forests,” he said.
Earlier, he said the council approved the licencing agreement between the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development and May and Baker Plc in respect of scaling up the commercialisation and marketing of Niprisan, a very potent anti-sickle cell drug for use in Nigeria.
Adewole said it was estimated that about 25 percent of Nigerians carried the sickle cell gene, while over two million had sickle cell anemia, “that is having the two genes combined. And for many of them, when they are under stress, take ill, what happens is invariably they develop severe bone crisis, they develop infection and some of them will die from this.
“This drug was first used in Oyo State over 20 years ago and NAPRED conducted clinical trials to ensure that we are able to document that it is safe, it is efficacious and drug was licenced at an international organisation which went into bankruptcy.
“What we have done is to reactivate the product and it will now be marketed in Nigeria through this agreement and we believe that the marketing and production in Nigeria will bring a lot of comfort to millions of Nigerians who are infected with sickle cell gene.”
The minister said the council also approved N840.8 million for the construction of a trauma centre at the Federal Medical Centre Owerri.
He said the centre would serve as a first class centre of care for accident and trauma cases along the Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu axis and would “really change the dynamics of care in these areas.”