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mPharma Launches Programme to Tackle Hypertension in Nigeria, Others 

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Hypertension

By Adedapo Adesanya

mPharma has launched the Hypertension Test and Treat programme (HTT) to support the prevention and control of hypertension in Africa.

Heart disease is one of the greatest causes of premature death in Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the prevalence of hypertension is highest in the African region, with about 46 per cent of adults aged 25 years and older being hypertensive compared to 35 per cent in the Americas and other HIC and 40 per cent elsewhere in the world.

The HTT programme will be delivered through the company’s network of mutti pharmacies in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia, with plans to expand the service to other countries.

The programme would aim to identify different classes of people, those at risk for hypertension, those who are about to develop hypertension and those who are already living with hypertension. The objectives would be to prevent, detect, and control the conditions.

Speaking at the launch of the programme in Nigeria, Dr Olagoke Ewedairo, VP of Health Services at mPharma, said the hypertension test and treat program is a service which aims to promote the early detection of hypertension, prompt treatment and prevention of complications such as hypertensive heart disease, kidney failure etc. which are on the rise despite being preventable.

The service includes a private consultation to review your medical history and current medications, determine your cardiovascular risk level and provide tailored lifestyle modification strategies to improve your health and wellbeing. In addition, a range of diagnostic tests would be available; all of these are to ensure you have a healthy heart.

On his part, Dr Hafeez Oluwa, the Global Primary Care Manager at mPharma, said that the company is taking a different approach to dealing with hypertension, going further than just helping people who have already developed the condition to identify people who are at risk of hypertension and collaborating with them to prevent the development of the disease.

“The passive approach has just led to numbers rising exponentially. We need to think more about primary prevention as we deal with hypertension with health promotion. If we start implementing lifestyle changes at an earlier stage, we may prevent more diagnoses of hypertension”, he said, speaking at the launch.

The programme has been rolled out in stages, the first stage was using the ongoing diabetes programme at mPharma, Diabetes Test and Treat, which has helped over 3000 patients achieve optimal glycemic control, become more aware of their risk of developing hypertension and helping those who have been diagnosed be more adherent to their medication.

The second stage was identifying people living with hypertension around our communities and deploying health education and coaching to help them control their blood pressure. Mr Dominic, a beneficiary of the program, said he was happy with the initiative as he got more insights into some of the things he had been doing that were preventing him from getting better. He wanted mPharma to do more to make sure many more people like him have access to this initiative.

The programme, in its final form, will include more people in its target audience, including people identified as being at risk of hypertension. It would be available in Kenya as a subscription service for purchase through mPharma mutti pharmacies and in subsequent months in other countries. It aligns with mPharma’s vision of providing accessible and affordable care to patients in vulnerable communities across Africa by transforming its mutti pharmacies into primary healthcare centres.

The hypertension test and treat service launches at select mutti pharmacies in Nigeria are effective today. Patients can visit any of mPharma mutti pharmacies to check their blood pressure for free and discuss their eligibility program.

mPharma plans to expand the hypertension test and treatment service to all 500 locations of mutti branches over time as the company’s ultimate aim is to put every African in good health and to contribute their quota to making universal healthcare coverage available to all.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

Health

New Health Reform Bill to Reposition Sector—Osinbajo

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new health reform bill

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, has disclosed that a new health reform bill to reposition the country’s health sector for improved delivery of set objectives would be in the works soon.

Speaking at the closing of the two-day Presidential Health Reform Committee Retreat in Abuja, he noted that this is pending a full committee report review and a complete policy document appraisal.

“The next steps now are to finalize subcommittee reports for the review of the full committee and produce a full committee report to guide the drafting of the policy document. And then draft a health reform Bill,” Mr Osinbajo stated.

The Vice President then thanked the committee members for their hard work and dedication and reaffirmed the Buhari Administration’s commitment to ensuring that the reform objectives are achieved.

The Vice President emphasized that the federal government’s ongoing efforts to reposition Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system must include collaboration among different levels of government and the private sector to ensure the effective implementation of reforms that will cater to the needs of Nigerians in the 21st century.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in September 2021, approved the establishment of a Health Sector Reform Committee and appointed the Vice President as Chair of the team, which was officially inaugurated by the VP in January 2022.

The Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, also a member of the panel, was in attendance at the retreat and also Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health.

Other members of the committee present at the 2-day retreat included the Emir of Shonga, Haliru Yahaya; DG, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh; DG, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Mr Tunde Irukera; DG, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa; Former Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu; Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Professor Akin Abayomi; and Lead Coordinator, Presidential Health Reform Committee, Dr Nicholas Audifferen.

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Health

Stakeholders Form Coalition Against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products

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Coalition Against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products CACPP

By Dipo Olowookere

Some critical stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria have come together to form a group aimed at frustrating and subsequently chasing makers of fake and substandard drugs out of business.

The group, known as the Coalition Against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products (CACPP), already has the support of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the major drug manufacturers in the country, distributors, retailers, and others.

At the unveiling of the coalition in Lagos on Monday, the convener of CACPP, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, who is also the chief executive of CMC Connect, disclosed that the initiative was borne out of the desire to rid the country of counterfeit drugs and save lives of consumers, who take drugs to get better.

“It is borne out of the desire to take a firmer stand against counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Nigeria through engagement and advocacy, with hope to kick off an intense national advocacy campaign against counterfeit pharmaceutical products,” he stated.

He stated that the group has mapped out strategies to achieve these goals, assuring that the coalition was focused and would not be derailed, no matter what.

According to him, CACPP found out that people consume counterfeit pharmaceutical products due to ignorance, poverty, and illiteracy.

While the West Africa Country Manager of Pfizer, Mr Olayinka Subair, agrees with this point, he stressed that, “Counterfeit medicines don’t cure any disease, rather they put patients’ health at risk because of their contents,” noting that fake drugs “ultimately impede the Nigerian healthcare system as lives are lost and medical conditions worsened due to this cankerworm. It is not an individual’s battle; it requires collective effort.”

“Nigerians need to champion the anti-counterfeit cause, especially as regards healthcare. We need to join hands together because there is no shortcut to health. Due process must be followed to get the best results.

“Unlike commodities, fake drugs are life-threatening. This means patients should only buy prescribed medicines from accredited pharmacies and not quacks or roadside vendors,” he stressed.

Also, the Deputy Director of the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit Substandard Regulated Products Investigation and Enforcement at NAFDAC, Mrs Florence Uba, who represented the acting director-general of the agency, assured the group of the full support of the regulatory agency.

However, she emphasised that NAFDAC would not entertain any favouritism as any fake drug maker caught would be severely dealt with, no matter the connection.

In his presentation, the president of the Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NiroPharm), Mr Femi Soremekun, stated that, “In recent years, the fight against counterfeit pharmaceutical products has taken new dimensions due to the global influx of counterfeiting syndicates, it is like a race against time for pharmaceutical companies – the cost to our collective health and economies is enormous.”

“Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have been perplexed as to how best to nip the challenges in the bud. The challenges are overwhelming owing to the sophistication of the activities of counterfeiters.

“Combating counterfeit pharmaceutical products is a herculean task, one that requires strong collaborations between government agencies and key stakeholders because of the impact,” he added.

It was agreed by the stakeholders present at the event yesterday that to combat the illicit trade of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, there is a strong need for collaboration and must look beyond the surface, which is most times in-ward.

Business Post reports that other organisations which threw their full weight behind CACPP include the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), and the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN), among others.

Also, a prominent Nigerian actor and filmmaker, Mr Ayo Badmus, has backed the initiative as its brand ambassador.

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Health

Stanbic IBTC Gives Better Conditions for Healthcare Loan

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healthcare loan

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Healthcare practitioners intending to get short-term funding support to expand their operations can now do so with better terms from Stanbic IBTC Bank.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, introduced a package called Healthcare Short-term Loan, which many stakeholders in the health industry have accessed.

In order to make it easier for practitioners to access the credit facility for an improved healthcare sector in the country, the lender has upgraded its short-term loan solution within the healthcare value chain.

This upgrade ensures a flexible repayment period, with an affordable interest rate and zero collateral to enable sector players to access better financing and achieve optimal service delivery.

The healthcare loan, which now offers a longer tenor of 12 months, affordable interest rate and zero collateral, will foster more investment in the sector and enhance strategic relationships to generate new businesses.

Speaking at the Medic West Africa Conference, the Head of Specialized Sectors at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Ms Jane Ike-Okoli, noted that effective collaboration between financial institutions and healthcare organizations is key to advancing Nigeria’s health sector.

She advised financial institutions to be more intentional about complementing the government’s efforts, saying, “Stanbic IBTC has a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare industry and its intricacies. This knowledge inspires us to continue to design innovative yet affordable solutions to boost healthcare businesses across the country.”

According to her, despite Nigeria being Africa’s largest healthcare market, challenges in the health sector include inadequate healthcare infrastructure and insufficient financing.

“Stanbic IBTC is passionate about driving change, hence our partnership with key stakeholders in the healthcare sector to improve access to healthcare finance.

“We achieve this by offering flexible funding options for healthcare businesses and providers and strategically partnering with the players in the healthcare ecosystem,” she said.

“Our healthcare solutions are tailor-made for businesses in the sector who need working capital to expand healthcare operations, acquire medical equipment, facilitate medical research, and ultimately grow their healthcare businesses,” Ms Ike-Okoli added.

The Head of Coverage, Commercial Clients at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Babatunde Akindele, also stated that the newly improved healthcare short-term loan is a necessary investment.

“Healthcare is a basic need that everyone should access easily. The pandemic has increased the pressure on the health sector by revealing the urgent need to expand healthcare facilities. Stanbic IBTC has taken yet another step in the right direction to improve healthcare infrastructure and enable qualitative service delivery, which will restore the hope of many Nigerians,” he said.

The growth of the Nigerian healthcare sector rests on impactful and innovative finance solutions positioned to create a level playing field for businesses to thrive. Stanbic IBTC has said it remains committed to blazing the trail in this regard.

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