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FG plans policy to make federal hospitals use made-in-Nigeria syringes, needles

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Government on Thursday said his ministry would soon come up with a policy that would mandate all Federal Government-owned health institutions in the country procure and use only syringes and needles manufactured in Nigeria.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said this when he appeared before a public hearing jointly organised by the Senate Committee on Health and that of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, had during the session asked Ehanire to come up with a specific policy that would save the local manufacturers of syringes and needles from collapse.

The two Senate panels are jointly probing a petition by the Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the producers of syringes and needles.

The association had in its petition, alleged that government at all tiers were not patronising them but were embracing foreign syringes and needles.

But Ehanire told the panel that his ministry would ensure that the Federal Executive Council approve the policy within the next weeks.

He said, “We have listened to the position of the committee and we want to assure the chairman and other distinguished members that we will come up with the policy and get approval from the Federal Executive Council within six weeks as suggested by the Committee.

“We are in support of the move to encourage local manufacturing of syringes and needles because it is the best way to create jobs and take Nigerians out of poverty.

“We are all interested in developing local capacities to encourage local manufacturers is an item on the agenda of the President to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty”

Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, informed the panel that the local manufacturers of syringes and needles in Nigeria lacked the capacity to produce the required quantity needed in Nigeria hence the agency licensed some people to import the shortfall.

But the President, Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Akin Oyediran, said the NAFDAC DG was relying on old data, Punch reported.

Oyediran said all the seven licensed local manufacturers have the potential to produce 2.4 billion units of syringes per annum if provided with favourable business environment.

He said, “The syringes needed in Nigeria is between two billion to 2.5 billion annually.

“All the seven local manufacturers have the capacity to produce 1.95 billion a year.

“If we have the support of the government, they will scale up and would be able to produce all the demands in a matter of months. The quality is world class. The quality is not questionable,” he said.

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