Abuja—The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said a study done by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 77 percent of Nigerian women use skin bleaching creams, the highest in Africa, compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 percent in South Africa and 27 percent in Senegal.
The NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, stated this during her opening address at the North-Central Zonal Sensitisation Workshop on the Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control held in Jos, Plateau State.
According to SaharaReporters, she explained that the frightening statistic showed that the bleaching cream menace in Nigeria had become a national health emergency that necessitated a multifaceted regulatory approach.
She said that “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 the knowledge acquired to the general public and further commended the press for its collaboration and support for NAFDAC to rid the country of the menace of substandard and falsified medicines, harmful foods, corrosive cosmetics and other substandard regulated products.
Prof Adeyeye stated that one of the sensitisation actions was the launch of media sensitisation workshops for journalists in Abuja, Lagos and Kano.
She added that the one for the North-Central was a fulfilment of her promise to cascade it to the country’s six geopolitical zones as a deliberate strategy of mobilising, educating, sensitising, and challenging Nigerian health journalists to play a frontline role in concerted efforts to eradicate malaria.
“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 the 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 cautioned that bleaching creams could cause cancer, damage to vital organs, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing, and prolonged wound healing.
Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director Public Affairs NAFDAC, stated in his address that the agency required the media to combat the bleaching epidemic among Nigerians, adding that NAFDAC cannot do it alone.