Nigeria: Coronavirus - Govt Engages Local Firms On Mass Production of Hand Sanitiser

7 March 2020

Abuja — The federal government has engaged local contractors for mass production of hand sanitiser as part of the country's measures at controlling the Coronavirus disease in the country.

The sample of the product produced by the contracting firms were delivered Friday, to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, in Abuja's.

Government's action, according to the minister, who tested the product on the sideline of a press conference he held to update the country on Nigeria's state of Coronavirus and its preparedness, followed the scare availability of the product.

The products were presented to the minister by the Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe at the event.

But the minister said the product will be subjected to efficacy test by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC even as he hailed NIPRD for the development.

He said, "This product and other similar products will, of course, be presented to NAFDAC and certified as the laws prescribe and I hope NAFDAC will be able to do that as quickly as possible."

Dr Adigwe, after handing the product, explained that his organisation embarked on the project with a view to assisting in tackling the shortage associated with the product in the face of rise in its demand in the wake of outbreak of Coronavirus in the country.

According to him, "One of the global fall-outs of the recent outbreak has been the supply chain disruptions of various commodities that are relevant to controlling the outbreak."

He added: "These disruptions have either been through panic buying or genuine shortages and this has been global; Nigeria has not been left out in this," he said, adding: "It is with the sense of national pride and patriotism that I'm here to present to you, a hand sanitiser which has undergone pilot product development at NIPRD and which is of the highest quality in terms of ensuring activities against the spread of coronavirus."

He explained that the minister's directive his agency and other research agencies, to explore avenues ineffectively control the spread of the COVID-19 informed the decision to engage experts to mass-produce the product.

"Based on the mandate given, NIPRD went ahead to undertake research and product development activities.

"I am happy to inform you that based on the charge; NIPRD began a series of activities to address various challenges that are identified to our own situation," he said.

The organisation, he said, "has undertaken several other activities, including a database for local pharmaceutical manufacturers who have been licensed to produce hand sanitisers in Nigeria."

The contracting firms, he said, "have certification from the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) and they are willing to share their excess capacity for contract manufacturing."

"We have also undertaken several other activities; we have opened up a database for local pharmaceutical manufacturers who have been licensed to produce hand sanitisers in Nigeria.

"Some of these companies do have excess capacity and the companies who have indicated interest are willing to share the excess capacity for contract manufacturing," he explained.

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