vaccine patent waiver


An interview with Barrister Davidson Oturu

The COVID-19 pandemic is one major global health challenge that cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

When COVID-19 broke in 2019, not many could foresee the amount of disruption it will cause globally.

The pandemic exposed the vulnerability of the world’s health system, both the rich and the low income countries were almost brought to their knees.

Read: Dr. Sunday Adigwe Give Reasons why Nigeria Should be Self Sustaining in Medicines and Vaccines

However, with the development of vaccines, comes another challenge for low income countries especially in Africa; that’s the challenge of equal access to the vaccines.

Read: FG Gives Reasons for Local Production of Vaccines

Even if the world should forget the lessons from COVID-19, Africa cannot afford to forget the bitter lesson of the consequences of overdependence on the west for her vaccines and other forms of medicines.
Africa must learn to be self sufficient, produce vaccines on its own soil to protect its people.

Health TV interview with Barrister Davidson Oturu, Partner Aelex

In this special interview with barrister Davidson Oturu, he shares his expert views on how patent waver or compulsory licensing can help countries mass produce vaccines and other forms of pharmaceuticals during emergencies such as COVID-19.

Read: The WTO approves Vaccine Patent Waiver

Alternative medicine

Infertility: Alternative medicine, acupuncture will completely rebalance your body, says specialist 

A fertility specialist, Dr. Ekinyi Ochete, says the benefit of Nigerian women choosing alternative medicine and acupuncture to help with sub-fertility will be seeking to completely rebalance their body.

Ochete who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of EEK Fertility Herbal Limited, Ochete said this in an interaction with newsmen in Abuja, urged Nigerian women to embrace alternative medicines and treatments to solve problems of fertility.

She explained that adhering to her advise will yield improvement in their general health, energy and emotions.

The fertility specialist noted that another benefit was that alternative medical treatment, including acupuncture, was absolutely complementary with Western treatments.

“The two medicines can work well together to help you have a healthy little baby.”

According to her, the vast majority of sub-fertility causes are non-structural. Although many doctors will point out structural reasons such as endometriosis, fibroids or polycystic ovarian syndrome, the fact is that these conditions are a symptom of imbalances in the body and are reversible using acupuncture and herbs.

“As long as these conditions are treated quickly enough, they are unlikely to leave any structural problem that would cause infertility. Most causes of sub-fertility are actually treatable and reversible conditions.”

Dr. Ochete said that she had provided treatment perfect for those wanting to overcome problems in fertility male or female, prevent miscarriages or those undergoing Western assisted fertility treatments such as IVF through herbal product.

“Treatment at our Fertility Clinic includes: A full medical diagnosis and consultation with other fertility expert, including personalised lifestyle advice. This includes analysis of any medical records and tests. A session of authentic syndrome acupuncture tailored to your needs.

“It is very common to experience difficulties having children with about one in seven couples struggling to conceive. It is also relatively common for women to suffer from multiple miscarriages. We have successfully helped over six thousands of couples to have children with the plants God gave us in Nigeria.”

She also said that based on cultures and geographical regions, various kinds of herbal remedies have evolved around the world, while urging Nigerians that their ancestors took only certain kinds of specific natural remedies to fight or prevent a specific illness.

Dr. Ochete added that alternative medicines were an integral part of culture and geographical environment, and various kinds of herbal medicines have their own unique way of understanding and treating a disease.

The Specialist noted that alternative medicine uses remedies derived from plants, animals, metals, and minerals, which are all available in the country.

She stressed that if herbal resources were inappropriately exploited, the extinction of many plant species would inevitably occur, with a resulting adverse alteration of the ecological environment.

“Since ancient times, disease has been a leading cause of morbidity/mortality, and it is associated with a heavy economic burden among people with diseases.

“Despite current advances in science and medicine, disease remains a serious threat to public health in both developed and developing countries, urban and rural areas, and all ethnic groups”.

Dr. Ochete further explained that most herbal remedies or formulae were considered safe and well tolerated because they have been successfully used for thousands of years as foods to promote health and as medicines to treat diseases.

She added that herbal products were widely available to consumers and have become increasingly popular throughout the world not just Nigeria alone .

She revealed that herbal products have continue to play a crucial role in the health care system of human societies, not to mention that secondary metabolites of plants were economically important as drugs, fragrances, pigments, food additives, and pesticides.

In recent years, increasing numbers of people have been choosing herbal medicines or products to improve their health conditions, either alone or in combination with others. Herbs are staging a comeback and herbal “renaissance” occurs all over the world.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, 75 percent of the world’s populations are using herbs for basic healthcare needs. Since the dawn of mankind, in fact, the use of herbs/plants has offered an effective medicine for the treatment of illnesses.

Moreover, many conventional pharmaceutical drugs are derived directly from both nature and traditional remedies distributed around the world. Up to now, the practice of herbal medicine entails the use of more than 53,000 species, and a number of these are facing the threat of extinction due to overexploitation

Antimicrobial Resistance

See What’s driving Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Nigeria – NCDC

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa says Nigeria has made significant progress in building capacity to report Antimicrobial Resistance, AMR, since 2017 when it was reporting at a zero level.

Dr. Adetifa stated this at the 2021 National Antimicrobial Awareness Week: AMR Policy Dialogue in Abuja where he stressed that bad clinical procedures, self-medication and improper disposal of antibiotics are among key factors driving AMR in Nigeria.

Represented by the Dr. Chinwe Ochu, the NCDC boss who also spoke on the theme of the event, “AMR Response and Financing in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities”, pointed out that it is important for stakeholders to meet and brainstorm on ways to harness funding to drive advocacy.

Meanwhile, the government of the United Kingdom through its Department for International Development, UKaid, working with the Fleming Foundation is building the capacity of Nigeria to test for AMR by investing 9.4 million pounds for the equipment of laboratories across the country.

Fleming Fund Country lead, Blessing Stephen revealed that 18 laboratories across Nigeria have been fully renovated, with some of them fully equipped and handed over to Chief Medical Directors of the Teaching Hospitals, even as others are currently being equipped ahead of the January 31, 2022 deadline of the memorandum.

taxes on Carbonated drinks

Increase Taxes on Carbonated Drinks to Check Diabetes – Experts tell F.G

Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Abuja, Felicia Anumah has urged the Federal Government to see the move to levy producers of carbonated drinks, as an opportunity to check the rising incidence of diabetes among indigent Nigerians.

Anumah, who made the call in Abuja during the World Diabetes Day Lecture oragnised by Gatefield and National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR), emphasised that Nigeria does not have the resources to manage the complications of diabetes but that the taxing of carbonated drinks presents a cheap option that can check production and consumption of carbonated drinks, which form predisposing factors to diabetes.

The University Don advised Nigerians to consume more of complex sugars, plenty of vegetables in their daily diet, as well as fruits and avoid sugary drinks that will spike their body sugar level thereby overworking their pancreatic cells responsible for the production of insulin.

“Carbonated drinks contain what we call refined sugars, refined sugars are very readily absorbed. They run straight into our blood streams and spike up the blood sugar level. And once the blood sugar level spikes up, the pancreas is harassed and made to produce insulin that beats down the blood sugar level because the sugar level must not remain high up there.

“So initially, the pancreas will help you each time the sugar levels runs high, but a stage comes in when the pancreas gets exhausted and once it is exhausted, there is no coming back. So what we are saying is, reduce the amount of carbonated drinks and refined sugars you consume so that your pancreas can see you to old age, that’s what we are saying.

“It is a beautiful plan if we can get it regulated. It will be a beautiful that because we don’t have the resources to manage the complications of diabetes, but we have a cheaper option. That cheaper option is prevention”.

A Researcher at Research Hub Africa, Akinwumi Akinola, while presenting a research findings expressed confidence that Nigerians will support the process once government can show transparency in the management of the taxes generated from carbonated drinks.

Akinola argued that no job losses will be experienced by taxing producers of carbonated drinks, as it will instead persuade players in the sector to produce healthier products which are non-calorific.

The way tax works for diabetes is that when you increase taxes, it discourages people from consuming as purchases will be reduced because there will be an increase in price.

“One of the things from the research findings is that if government can work on the trust deficit by ensuring that people can see the use of taxes collected, and they will support the process.

“Why do you have diet brands and non-calorific brands of those products? It is because they themselves are aware that Nigerians are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of consuming calorific products, that is why they are producing other brands.

“So it will only entail the producers to produce healthier non-calorific products that will keep them in business, and not necessarily leading to job losses”.

The theme for 2021 World Diabetes Day is “Access to Diabetes Care” and a sub-theme “Funding diabetes care through the implementation of health taxes”.

Professor of Biochemistry says funds will ehance sufficiency in medicine.

Professor of Biochemistry Says Funds Will Enhance Sufficiency in Medicine.

Atawodi Sunday, a Professor in Federal University of Lokoja, Biochemistry Department has cited the greatest impediment to achieve self sufficiency in medicine

Speaking to news men on Tuesday at the ongoing stakeholders international conference on covid 19 in Abuja.

Professor Atawodi Sunday

 Professor Atawodi said funding is one of the greatest impediment and also statedOther issues like , training, facilities, untrained personnel saying they are the Cause of hindrance to medicine.

He reiterated and believes that funding will enhance  better collaboration and coordination in all sector of medicine, to generate good hospitals and enough facilities.

Research and development

Make Research and Development Top Priority -Prof Emeje

The Federal Government has been called upon to make Research and Development (R&D) a top pirority so as to avoid a fire brigade approach to issues when the need arises.

A Prof. at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Martins Emeje made the call in an exclusive interview with Health TV news crew in Abuja.

According to him, Research and Development over the years has been neglected as he says people think it is a waste of resources.

He said the neglect of R&D has been the major reason why there has been increase in mortality during health emergencies.

Prof. Emeje said apart from other benefits Research and Development offers, employment opportunities can be created and food can be made available as a result of R&D.

He said if the Nigerian government had invested in Research and Development before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country wouldn’t have recorded large amounts of deaths and it would have been able to manage the situation better than it did.

Prof. Emeje while stating that the private sector also has a huge role to play when it come to R&D, called on charity organisations, Non-governmental organisations, small and medium scale enterprises amongst other to draw from the vision of R&D

Speaking on the forthcoming NIPRD Conference Prof Emeje said it will be an all science and all of art conference where everyone from diverse sector is invited and expected to make an input on how the problem of R&D should be addressed.

He added that this is one of the major activities the institution wants to carry out as its own contribution towards managing health emergencies in the country.

The 2021 NIPRD Conference is expected to take place in Abuja on the 23rd of September.


NIPRD DG Give Reasons why Nigeria Should be Self Sustaining in Medicines and Vaccines

The Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe says unless Nigeria develop its own capacity to produce medicines and vaccines, the country is going no where.

Dr. Adigwe stated this in an exclusive interview with Health TV news crew in Abuja noting that certain people in the country particularly from the North vilified the call for self sustaining of medicine and vaccines in the country before the outbreak of the COVID-19.

He said “it took the COVID-19 for those colleagues and policy makers to go back to begin to lick their vomits”.

He said NIPRD has awoken a consciousness for the importance of Research and Development (R&D) which previously was lacking in our setting.

He said the government do not have wait for a pandemic to happen before they prepare, but rather invest in R&D ahead of any pandemic.

Speaking on the achievements of the Institute before and during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the DG said NIPRD took pre-emptive engagement ro ensure that commodities that whixh were critical to disrupting the spread of the virus were made available.

He also said the institute shared database with local manufacturers which he said is one of the reasons why high quality hand sanitizers were available as a result of Reserach and Development.

NIPRD he said, was critical in putting together clinical trials Protocol for things like chloroquine and other conventional medicines which were initially considered for COVID-19 treatment.

The DG said they have trained thousands of phyto-medicinal practitioners and other critical stakeholders in the phyto-medicinal value chain.

Dr. Adigwe said NIPRD which is the bastion of phyto-medicines also put together a product called NIPRIMUNE which is at the listing stage in NAFDAC and has demonstrated strong anti-covid potentials.

Listing means NAFDAC has reviewed the test on NIPRIMUNE that has been done, undertaking their own investigation and have agreed that the product is fit for human consumption.

He said what is left is the clinical stage where the product will be tested on humans who have COVID-19, noting that after that step they can categorically say that the product can cure or can be used to manage COVID-19.

He however said “I cannot categorically say NIPRIMUNE cures COVID-19 but there are some scientist who have looked at the data, and have said that since it has been listed by NAFDAC, they will go ahead to take it while they wait for the clinical trials”.

Dr. Adigwe who also spoke on the 10 billion naira allocation by the National Assembly in the 2020 budget for the production of vaccines locally, said he has heard about the funds but the institute has not received any amount of the funds for Research and Development of locally manufactured vaccines.

He said ” I understands that government process takes time, NIPRD has also not been officially mandated to delinate the position it can play within that particular 10 billion naira project”

He expressed belief that when they get to the stage where they start to delinate the project or identify those agencies that should be central to the project, he is sure NIPRD would be there.

Health TV would recall that the Chairman Senate Committee on Health Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe during the flag off of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja on Monday August 16th, 2021 said 10 billion was allocated in the 2020 budget at the National Assembly for the production of vaccines locally.

what breastfeeding can cause

Protect Your Babies From Diseases Without Paying A Dime – See it Here

By Goodness Anenih, Abuja

The World Health Organisation WHO says initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond offer a defense against all forms of child malnutrition, including wasting and obesity.

The WHO Country Representative Dr. Walter Mulombo stated this on Monday at an event to flag off the 2021 World Breastfeeding week with the theme: Protect Breastfeeding: A shared responsibility.

He said the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for infants under six months of age globally is 40% adding that in Africa, nearly 70% of countries have high rates of continued breastfeeding at one year, compared to 28% in Nigeria.

Dr. Mulombi said while there has been progress in breastfeeding rates in the last four decades, with a 50 per cent increase in the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding globally, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the fragility of those gains.

He further said this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is a time to revisit the commitments to prioritizing breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies.

He called for support for expectant and nursing mothers in order for them to maintain their jobs during these stages for motherhood.

According to him, some of the rationale for shared responsibility include;
“The need to demonstrate commitments and shared responsibility towards improving breastfeeding by all stakeholders, Government, donors, civil society groups and private sector”

“To increase funding to reach the 2025 World Health Assembly Target to raise the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months to at least 50 percent”

To ensure the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is fully implemented by government, health workers and industry”

“To Enact family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies”

“Implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in maternity facilities”

“Improve access to skilled lactation counseling”

“Create monitoring systems that track the progress of policies, programs, and funds toward achieving both national and global breastfeeding targets”

Dr. Mulombo therefore reiterate WHO’s commitment to support and actively participate in the global campaign to raise awareness and galvanize action on themes related to breastfeeding.

He noted the links it has with survival, health and wellbeing of women, children and nations.

covid-19 inequity

Vaccine Inequity Undermining Global Economic Recovery

Geneva/New York City, 22 July 2021 – COVID-19 vaccine inequity will have a lasting and profound impact on socio-economic recovery in low- and lower-middle-income countries without urgent action to boost supply and assure equitable access for every country, including through dose sharing, according to new data released today by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Oxford.

An acceleration in scaling up manufacturing and sharing enough vaccine doses with low-income countries could have added $38 billion to their GDP forecast for 2021 if they had similar vaccination rates as high-income countries. At a time when richer countries have paid trillions in stimulus to prop up flagging economies, now is the moment to ensure vaccine doses are shared quickly, all barriers to increasing vaccine manufacturing are removed and financing support is secured so vaccines are distributed equitably, and a truly global economic recovery can take place.

A high price per COVID-19 vaccine dose relative to other vaccines and delivery costs – including for the health workforce surge – could put a huge the strain on fragile health systems and undermine routine immunization and essential health services and could cause alarming spikes in measles, pneumonia and diarrhea. There is also a clear risk in terms of foregone opportunities for the expansion of other immunization services, for example, the safe and the effective rollout of HPV vaccines. Lower-income countries need timely access to sustainably priced vaccines and timely financial support.

These insights come from the Global Dashboard for COVID-19 Vaccine Equity, a joint initiative from UNDP, WHO, and the University of Oxford’s Blavat Nik School of Government, which combines the latest information on COVID-19 vaccination with the most recent socio-economic data to illustrate why accelerating vaccine equity is not only critical to saving lives but also to driving a faster and fairer recovery from the pandemic with benefits for all.

“In some low- and middle-income countries, less than 1 percent of the population is vaccinated – this is contributing to a two-track recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic”, said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “It’s time for swift, collective action – this new COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Dashboard will provide Governments, policymakers, and international organizations with unique insights to accelerate the global delivery of vaccines and mitigate the devastating socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.”

According to the new Dashboard, which builds on data from multiple entities including the IMF, World Bank, UNICEF, and Gavi, and analysis on per capita GDP growth rates from the World Economic Outlook, richer countries are projected to vaccinate quicker and recover economically quicker from COVID-19, while poorer countries haven’t even been able to vaccinate their health workers and most at-risk populations and may not achieve pre-COVID-19 levels of growth until 2024. Meanwhile, Delta and other variants are driving some countries to reinstate strict public health social measures. This is further worsening the social, economic, and health impact, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized people. Vaccine inequity threatens all countries and risks reversing hard-won progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Vaccine inequity is the world’s biggest obstacle to ending this pandemic and recovering from COVID-19,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Economically, epidemiologically and morally, it is in all countries’ best interest to use the latest available data to make lifesaving vaccines available to all.”

Designed to empower policymakers and development partners to take urgent action to reduce vaccine inequity, the Global Dashboard breaks down the impact of accessibility against a target for countries to vaccinate their at-risk populations first to reduce mortality and protect the health system and then move on to vaccinating larger shares of the population to reduce the disease burden and re-open socio-economic activity.

The Dashboard is facilitated by the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (SDG3 GAP), which aims to improve collaboration across the multilateral system to support an equitable and resilient recovery from the pandemic and drive progress towards the health-related SDGs.

“Closing the vaccine gap is required to put this pandemic behind us. The dashboard can help scale-up and accelerate global delivery of vaccines by providing accurate, up-to-date information on not just how many vaccines have been given, but also the policies and mechanisms through which we get them into arms,” said Dr. Thomas Hale, Associate Professor of Global Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

The Dashboard will be updated in real-time as new data becomes available, filling a critical gap to help guide the international community’s understanding of what can be done to achieve vaccine equity. Users are able and encouraged to download all data sets in full of the website.

shortage of medical workers in Nigeria


This is as a result of the migration of Health Care workers to foreign countries in recent years with focus on Clinical Oncologist that is cancer doctors.

This call was made at a press briefing in Abuja organised by the project pink blue with support from the ACT Foundation.

The Executive Director of the project Pink Blue Runcie Chidebe in his submission said by 2030, Nigeria will have a shortage of over 50 thousand doctors and over 137 thousand nurses due to the stark realities of report of migrating health workers.

According to him, 9 in 10 Nigeria physician are seeking opportunities abroad and these has had impact in Nigeria in diverse ways.

He called on the government to do all it takes to ensure that our health care workers remain in the country.

The brief also served as an opportunity to launch the upgrade Oncology.

The Upgrade Oncology according to the organisation is aimed at supporting the Federal Government’s effort in Cancer control.

A Cancer survivor and programme Cordinator Project Pink Blue Gloria Okwu who spoke on the upgrade Oncology, in her remark said the primary focus is on training of Oncology pharmacist, cancer doctors and cancer nurses.

She said the organisation is seeking the support of the U.S Mission in Nigeria and the Oncology Pharmacy Association of Nigeria to bring two U.S board certified Oncology-Pharmacist from the United States to Nigeria to provide the training.

A consultant Hematologist at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Uche Nwokwu on his part, disclosed some of Federal government efforts in tackling the scourge of cancer in the country.

He further said the government will do all it can to tackle the menace of Cancer in Nigeria.

With the high number of health workers leaving the country we hope that the Federal government will give full attention to this aspect of our health sector in order to stop the trend.