Madagascar Approach, A Challenge and Motivation to the Nigerian Government

Posted by Onyembi Emenike | 4 years ago | 1,491 times


Opinion by Emenike Vincent Onyembi

A home remedy developed by us would be great, therefore I think it is bizarre that we are considering placing an order from Madagascar. Although the incentive might be to grab (steal) some money (that is the only logical reason). Let the government utilize the services of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) that is lying dormant and abandoned at Idu-Karmo. This is the right time. If not, running helter skelter is our portion.

I wish the federal government picks up interest in Research and Development. I hope they pick this up immediately. Nigeria actually really has great minds. Let’s not waste it. We can not really assume that NIPRD has nothing to offer until we give them a shot. That place is wasting away. It needs to be given life.

We have the option of looking internally and working with what we have. We have the capacity. 

In fact, the first two (2) weeks of this virus lockdown, should have been the time to contact these research centers and putting them to work. The financial resources are available. But I guess the NCDC wants to remain the shot callers for as long as possible. This is why sometimes I hold this opinion that those in authority are either too daft, or just plain wicked & selfish.

A friend of mine did his IT in NIPRD. They do the little they can with what is available to them. It is a great place, but it is just wasting away. On the other hand, if NIPRD is really serious about working, I think there are ways they can generate fund for research and all. I am of the opinion that there should be agencies that fund research. For example, Lassa fever has been claiming lives. How about providing a home made solution? No, it does not kill the rich. It is not peculiar to the Western world. The willpower is not there. Over here, it is not about making a mark but money, money, money. For example, I did not know much about NAFDAC until Dora Akunyili came on board. So it is partly lacking visionary leadership.

I understand the strong silent battle between the orthodox medicine and the unorthodox and the fact that the medical sector in all its glory will fight tooth and nail against the herbal sector. These has been a long standing battle and of course the herbal system will lose that fight because they do not have the right amount of political backing they need. They need to find a way to win the war.

The NIPRD is part of the quick fixes we need and can handle. It does not need to bid and all that long process. They can just walk into the sector and start researching, just like it happened for NCDC. It is however quite unfortunate that the government does not believe in traditional medicine. I am yet to see an administration that has openly supported any invention like Madagascar just did. When I hear about open battle and all. It shows our belief system. It is not about making a mark but remaining relevant, money, greed and all. The government does not belief in traditional medicine. Their action does not portray so yet. Forget their recent interest in the Madagascar approach to curbing Covid19.

The truth remains that those in government secretly treat themselves with herbal medicine. For instance, Governor Seyi Makinde and co. I guess they do not want to show open support due to loyalty, they probably have a lot to lose—national cake and personal bias. This is why I like El-rufai irrespective of his excesses. He is always ready to take that tough decision—the unpopular opinion. If Gov. Makinde is really concerned about traditional medicine, he has the ample opportunity as the governor of a state in the South West where traditional medicine is popular. But then, they do not see the end from the beginners. Maybe for the fear of loosing grip (popularity) I guess?!

MDAs have mandates. These just might be restricted to research and development. Because of this, NIPRD will not be allowed to mass produce or advertise. It is strictly report your findings to the government and these findings pile up dust in some politicians office. If you attend EXPOS and for example Science and Technology week, you did be amaze. The last one at the Eagle's Square Abuja earlier this year had display of drones, amoured tanks, fascinating building materials and other equipments developed in Nigeria. There were even floor tiles that generate electricity from walking on them. So I am sure they are up to the task. The problem is the mandate.

Visionary leadership is lacking in this country. Once there is a will, there is always a way. Of what use are those effort if it ends in exhibitions? Look, until we start to treat our government institution and parastatals like business entities, we will continue to find excuses for not getting things done. Until people appointed to occupy agencies begin to have this “leave a legacy mentality”, we will continue to give excuses. There are agencies of government that received funding of different types from EU, UN and foundations for different purposes. But our culture of chop and clean mouth has never helped us. If these agencies are ready to work regardless of the bottle neck they would find a way.

Stay safe.


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