The National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control on Thursday declared a state of emergency on bleaching after establishing that Nigeria has been ranked first in cases of bleaching.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, raised the alarm on the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria, saying the problem has become a national emergency that calls for serious attention.
She made the remarks while flagging off a media sensitisation workshop on Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control organised by the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists in Kano on Thursday.
She said that 77 per cent of those engaged in bleaching in Nigeria are women, saying this calls for a multifaceted approach in fighting the menace of bleaching creams, which she warned have fatal health hazards.
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“The World Health Organisation study in 2018 revealed that the use of skin bleaching cream is prevalent amongst 77 per cent of Nigerian women, which is the highest in Africa compared to 59 per cent in Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa and 27 per cent 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,” Prof. Adeyeye said.
She said 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.
According to her, the sensitization workshops in the six geo-political 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 for 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 ageing and prolonged healing of wounds,” she stated.
Also speaking, the former National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Ahmad Yakasai warned that the cases of bleaching among women folks and men, if not arrested, would create serious health cases in Nigeria.
The Director of Public Affairs of NAFDAC, Dr Abubakar Jimoh said the agency had only 3000 staff covering the entire federation of over 200 million people.