By Tayo Joseph Lagos
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has promised to provide N100m to the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, for the establishment of a unit that would be devoted to carrying out research on traditional herbal products.
Professor Adewole made this known at the weekend while speaking at the public presentation of NIPRD’s products and end of tenure celebration of Professor Karmiyus Gamaniel, the director general of the institute who is retiring.
Adewole in a statement signed by his special assistant on Communication and Strategy, Kazeem Akintunde, also said that another N10m would be provided for the institute to carry out extensive research on how to turn the Neem tree into a money spinning commodity for the benefit of the nation.
Adewole said that extensive research should be carried out on traditional herbal products, some of which have been found to have cure for different ailments.
He said that the Neem tree has been turned to a money spinner in India adding that there was no reason why Nigeria could not take advantage of such a products that could be easily produced in the country.
‘We need to carry out detailed research into Neem tree as it has become a money spinner for the Indian government. Its flower, roots, seed have all become useful material in the production of several products including soap, and I see no reason why we can’t take advantage of such a product in Nigeria,’ he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the DG of NIPRD, Professor Gamaniel said the institute has successfully researched and developed six traditional herbal products for the treatment of Ebola, Malaria and other diseases.
He said NIPRIBOL, a fixed dose combination drug, was developed by the institute for the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease, adding that the institute had completed the Phase I study of the drug.
Gamaniel said the institute had also developed NIPRIMAL, an anti-malaria drug for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, stating that the drug was also safe for use by pregnant women.
Others are NIPRIMUNE, an immunostimulant which can also be used to manage HIV in Nigeria, and NIPRIFAN for the treatment of fungal skin infection.
He said another product developed by the institute, NIPRD Oil, could be used as a nasal decongestant, insect repellent, air freshener and an anti-inflammatory agent.
Gamaniel, however, noted that excessive use of this oil could cause irritation.
He said: “The institute has also developed ‘NIPRISAN’ for the management of sickle cell anaemia.
“We are currently concluding plans to carry out commercial production and distribution of this product.
“The core competence of NIPRD is in the development of phytomedicines from indigenous plants and products, clinical trials, among others; we are a quality assured institute.”
Gamaniel said presenting a report was necessary as it would serve as a baseline for the new leadership and provide an opportunity for new strategies to be introduced.
The institute presented awards to over 150 staff for their hard work and dedication to the growth of the institute, and the research and development of traditional herbal products.
The Federal Government in 1987 approved the establishment of the institute as a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
It was established with the primary objective of developing drugs, biological products and pharmaceutical raw materials from indigenous resources towards the growth and development of the country.
The institute was later moved to the Federal Ministry of Health in 2001.