International Microorganism Day: When will Nigeria recognize the potentials of microbiology?

Sunday Omeike, PhD, FASLN

Today’s International Microorganism Day is celebrated by countries that understand the importance of microbes, one of nature’s smallest but important entities. Sadly, Nigeria is a bystander in the fanfare to celebrate these microscopic organisms first seen and described as animacules by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek over 300 years ago. While the giant of Africa continues to celebrate oil money at the expense of the environment, microorganisms are overlooked as inconspicuous, and perhaps, non-contributors to the financial and general well-being of Nigeria. This should not be the case, as microorganisms can play pivotal roles in several sectors.

Drug Use: One Year After, How Aware Is Bauchi About The Danger Of Using Paracetamol As Meat Tenderizer?

Charly Agwam FASLN

“But for someone to use it for cooking is unheard of. It is the toxic by-product of paracetamol that people consume when they eat food that was cooked with the drug. What even worries me more is that they are not just taking it for one or two days, it has become part of their regimen for cooking. Cooking with paracetamol requires hot temperature. Usually, whenever we are taking a test to see how a drug will be released when taken, we use very warm water. Heat breaks it down to all those byproducts that are dangerous and toxic."

Palm Oil Adulteration Booms in Major Open Markets in Nigeria

Chima Azubuike FASLN

Palm Oil an edible oil and an important ingredient in the diets of many Nigerians is a product obtained from the fleshy mesocarp of the fruit of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). Palm Oil is one of the most consumed edible oils within the tropics. The oil palm, is grown commercially in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, and on a small scale in other tropical areas. Despite being commonly used, research shows that over 90% of what is sold in the open market is adulterated, poorly stored with grave health consequences. Chima Azubuike, writes about the scourge of palm oil adulteration, findings and roles of regulatory bodies.

No, one`s ability to hold breath not a test for COVID-19 – WhatsApp video has ‘no scientific validity’

Abdullahi Tsanni

Recently, a video and message circulating on WhatsApp in Nigeria claims holding one`s breath until a red circle moves from point ‘A to B’ is a sign of ‘disease resistance’. It also claims that it is an easy test for COVID–19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Experts say these claims do not have any scientific validity.

The Intricacies of Living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

Wealth Okete & Olaitan Owoyemi

Although there is limited information on the prevalence of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in Africa, available data show that the continent takes the lead on the global scene. Around 75% of all newborns living with SCD come from sub-Saharan Africa, a majority of whom live in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over 300,000 babies are born every year with SCD, and this figure is expected to rise 33% to 400,000 by 2050. It is estimated that up to 2% of Nigeria's population live with SCD, whereas around 10 to 30% are reported to be carriers for the disease. The lack of adequate infant screening tests and robust public health funding for SCD are major problems promoting the prevalence of the disease in Nigeria, and Africa at large.

A Day in the Life of Mohammed Auwal Ibrahim

Abdullahi Tsanni and Mohammed Auwal Ibrahim

Mohammed Auwal Ibrahim is a biochemist, a researcher, and a senior lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Nigeria. Now, he is a fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) working under the Structure Based Drug Discovery Group, at the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Japan.

Promoting African Development through Science and Diplomacy

Michael Chukwudi FASLN and Olagunju Abdulrahman FASLN

As a result of lack of robust, efficient, and lasting scientific and technological capability required for economic and social progress in Africa, only 2.3 percent of the world research community comes from Africa, and the continent contributes only 2 percent of the global scientific publications (UNESCO, 2015). This situation is unlikely to improve unless the uneven support to science, technology and innovation is comprehensively and systematically addressed with the practice of good governance and diplomacy.

Government Moves To Strengthen Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Through Phamacovigilance Policy Review

Samuel Oyejola FASLN and Samirah Abdu-Aguye FASLN

Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) are any unintended or potentially harmful effects that occur when an individual takes any type of medicine. They can range from relatively mild reactions like headaches or sleep disturbances to much more serious ones like skin reactions. These reactions can have many real world consequences including reduced productivity in individuals, increased length and cost of hospital stay for hospitalized patients or even death. It is estimated that ADRs occur in at least one out of every ten individuals who take medicine.

Collecting information about ADRs-a process known as Phamacovigilance, is the responsibility of drug regulatory bodies all over the world. Consequently-in 2012, the Nigerian Government launched the National Phamacovigilance Center (NPC) to mitigate incidents caused by ADRs on individuals within the country. This center is domiciled in the headquarters of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). In spite of the operationalization of this center for close to a decade now, many Nigerians still find it unnecessary to report their ADR experiences. A correspondent for Time Nigeria Magazine found out that various factors contributed to this apathy. Chief among these are the weak healthcare systems in the country, and strained relationships between patients and healthcare providers; resulting in unwillingness of patients to report their ADR experiences.

Pushing the political will to discourage tobacco smoking

Samuel Oyejola FASLN and Samirah Abdu-Aguye FASLN

About 110 million cigarettes are consumed in Nigeria daily, while over 40 billion sticks are consumed yearly. Tobacco smoking is known to be associated with an increased risk of developing and dying from several serious disease conditions e.g. various types of cancers, stroke and heart disease. Evidence shows that the number of smokers is increasing daily, with the tobacco industry benefiting immensely from this. Regrettably, the governments’ public health policies lack effective insulation from the interest of the tobacco industry. According to several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) leading the campaign to ban tobacco smoking within the country, cigarette manufacturers have found ways to prevent the full implementation of policies to effectively control tobacco consumption.

How Important Information Is Presented On The Packs Of Children’s Medicines Sold Within Nigeria

Samirah Abdu-Aguye FASLN and Samuel Oyejola FASLN

Clearly written and well-presented information on medicine packs has been shown to be crucial in ensuring the proper use of medicines. This is even more important given the widespread culture of self-medication in many countries, including Nigeria. Medicines to be used in children especially should contain clearly written and simple to follow instructions, since they are more prone to experiencing dose related side effects because their bodies are still developing. However, this does not seem to be the case with several of these medicines sold within the country, based on the findings from a recently published survey.

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