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LCCI advocates private sector participation in health financing

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Babatunde Ruwase

Citing the need for quality human capital as necessity for economic development, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has tasked private sector operators to participate in the funding of innovative solutions to diseases ravaging the society.

Specifically, the chamber acknowledged the inability of the government and international donor agencies to finance the budget needed to fight certain diseases.

Speaking during an interactive workshop between medical and pharmaceutical members of the chamber in Lagos, on Tuesday, LCCI President, Babatunde Ruwase, said the nation needs national strategies and programmes to take special measures in protecting people that are at considerable risk of contracting malaria infection.

“The twenty-fifth day of April is marked as the World Malaria Day. This is meant to create awareness about the scourge of malaria in Nigeria and across the globe and bring recommendations for possible solutions and controls.

“With $2.7 billion invested globally for fight malaria in 2016, this represents less than half of the estimated $6.5 billion needed yearly till 2020 in order to reach the 2030 global malaria targets.

“The Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015 provides a comprehensive framework to guide countries in their efforts to accelerate progress towards malaria elimination.

“The strategy sets the target of reducing global malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030. Governments should adopt and implement this strategy towards creating a more conducive investment climate for more private sector participation in health financing”, he added.

On his part, the Chairman, Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Science, Professor Akpoveta Susu noted that stakeholders have placed great scientific innovations on the front burner in the country as reflected in the entries for the Nigeria Prize for Science in 2017.

“The winning works on innovations for malaria control can be advanced by relevant stakeholders who can apply them to activate development of our society. It behoves relevant industry players and stakeholders in the field to explore the possibility of commercial production of the research findings and also create avenues that promote production of the research findings and also create avenues that promote optimum utility, thereby realising the main reason for setting up the prize”, he added.

One of the prize winners, Dr Chukwuma Agubata, while speaking on his research work titled, “Novel Lipid Microparticles for Effective Delivery of Artemether Anti-Malaria Drug Using a Locally-Sourced Irvingia Fat from Nuts of Irvingia Gabonensis Var Excelsa (Ogbono), said that taking Irvingia Fat from nuts of Irvingia Gabonensis Var Excelsa, known as ‘Ogbono’ soup has helped to improve the efficacy of anti-malarial drugs.

Agubata, a researcher and lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said that eating Ogbono soup while administering Artemether, an Anti-Malaria drug would improve the efficacy of the drug.

“Malaria is an endemic disease and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and we also know that most malaria drugs are administered by mouth — the Artemether Anti-Malaria drugs.

“’But there is a major challenge which is the low water solubility of the drug which limits it dissolution and absorption into the blood stream; all this also affect the efficacy of the drug.

“’So, what we have done in this research is to improve the anti-malaria efficacy of Artemether drugs by formulating with Irvingia Fat (Ogbono) which is locally sourced so that there could be improved delivery and efficacy.

“In our research, we got a very good result and this shows that our local materials can actually improve the efficacy of some drugs that already exist,’’ he said.

“The Ogbono was formulated as microparticles, where the fat from it was used to entrap the drug and it became a carrier for the drug to the bloodstream”, he added.

Agubata called for support from the government and private organisations to take the research to the next level.

“We intend to take this research to the next level with the support of corporate organisations and the government.

“We will be able to do local mobilisation and mass produce the locally sourced materials so that Nigerians will benefit.

“Going forward, there is hope in reducing the burden of malaria with this research,’’ he said.


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