As a result of Nigeria being ranked first in Africa in skin bleaching by the World Health Organisation(WHO), the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has declared a State of Emergency on bleaching.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, stated this while speaking on the rising menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria.
According to NAFDAC boss, the problem has become a national emergency that calls for serious and urgent attention.
She stated this while flagging off a media sensitization workshop on Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control organized by the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists in Kano on Thursday.
According to Adeyeye, 77 percent of those engaged in bleaching in Nigeria are women, saying that this development calls for a multifaceted approach in fighting the menace of bleaching creams, which she warned have fatal health hazards.
“The World Health Organization study in 2018 revealed that the use of skin bleaching cream is prevalent amongst 77 percent of Nigerian women, which is the highest in Africa compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 percent in South Africa and 27 percent in Senegal.
“These scary statistics have shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faceted regulatory approach,” NAFDAC boss said.
Aside this, Adeyeye explained that in response to these statistics, the Federal Government, through the office of the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha wrote to NAFDAC last year seeking stringent measures to be implemented against the menace. She added that sensitization workshops in the six geopolitical zones were part of the measures being taken.
“This sensitization workshop is a training of trainers program with the great expectation that participants will assume roles of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against the use of bleaching creams.
“I wish to assure you that NAFDAC will henceforth constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass levels the positive impact of our regulatory activities.
“Even though I have assigned some of my competent officers to carry out this training, it has become imperative on me to warn that some of the harmful effects of Bleaching creams include cancer, damage to vital organs in the body, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature aging and prolonged healing of wounds,” she stated.
Speaking on the menace of bleaching, the former National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm. Ahmad Ibrahim Yakasai warned that the cases of bleaching among women and men, if not arrested, would create serious health cases in Nigeria.
The Director of Public Affairs of the NAFDAC, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, worried that the agency has only 3000 staff covering the entire federation of over 200 million citizens.