NAFDAC alerts to inherent dangers in use of bleaching creams
A World Health Organisation (WHO) study has revealed that the use of skin bleaching creams was prevalent among 77 per cent of Nigerian women, which was the highest in Africa compared to 59 per cent in Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa and 27 per cent in Senegal.
This was disclosed at the weekend by the Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, while delivering her opening address at the North-Central Zonal Sensitisation Workshop on the Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control, held in Jos, Plateau State.
Adeyeye explained that the scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faceted regulatory approach.
According to her, “Part of the multi-pronged approach are consultative/sensitisation meetings such as this and heightened raids on distribution outlets of bleaching creams.”
The Director-General stressed the need for stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching cream.
She urged the media to assist NAFDAC in publicising and disseminating knowledge acquired to the general public and further commended the media for its collaboration and support for NAFDAC to rid the country of the menace of substandard and falsified medicines, unwholesome foods, corrosive cosmetics and other substandard regulated products.
Adeyeye said one of the sensitisation actions was the flagging off of media sensitisation workshops organised for journalists in Abuja, Lagos, and Kano, adding that the one organised for the North Central was a fulfillment of her promise to cascade it to the six geo-political zones in the country as a deliberate strategy of mobilising, educating, sensitising, and challenging Nigerian health journalists to play a frontline role in concerted efforts to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams and needless waste of scarce resources in Nigeria.
“This sensitisation workshop is a Training for the Trainers’ Programme with the great expectation that participants will assume the role of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against use of bleaching creams. It is pertinent to mention that during my recent press conference in Abuja, announcing my second tenure in office, I promised to continue the transformative agenda of my first tenure but intensify and widen the scope of our publicity and public awareness campaign,” Adeyeye said.
She assured that NAFDAC will henceforth constantly engage the mass media as the agency strive to bring down to the grassroot level, positive impacts of its regulatory activities.
Adeyeye further disclosed that some of the harmful effects of bleaching creams include: cancer, damage to vital organs of the body, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing, and prolonging the healing of wounds.
In his address, Director Public Affairs of NAFDAC, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, said the agency needs the media to fight the menace of bleaching among Nigerians, adding that NAFDAC cannot do this alone.
In his paper, “The Role of Mass Media”, Jimoh said that the role of the media is unquestionably important in taking the message to the public.
Jimoh added that the ongoing campaign against the dangers of bleaching cream cannot be successful without the contributions of the journalists because they are strategic in society.
NAFDAC, according to him, has trained journalists in Abuja, Lagos, Kano adding that they were now in Jos bringing the number of trained journalists to 500. He said that they decided to embark on the crusade when the National Assembly met NAFDAC following a motion raised by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, saying that NAFDAC should take charge on the abuse of bleaching cream.