NAFDAC sensitizes South East media practitioners on dangers of bleaching cream, says it leads to cancer, death
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned people who apply breaching cream to desist from that, saying that bleaching cream is harmful to the body and causes cancer and death. to join the agency in its current war against
Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, made the call on Wednesday in an address at the South-East Media Sensitisation Workshop on Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Controls.
Represented by Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola , Adeyeye said that it was important to warn people of South-East and Nigerians in general about the harmful effects of bleaching cream.
She said that bleaching cream causes cancer, skin irritation, allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing and prolonged healing of wounds.
“Last year, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, acting on the resolutions of the Senate wrote to NAFDAC stressing the need to take stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.
“We immediately took some decisive steps such as sensitisation of the public through different media outlets, enforcement through intelligence and raids in trade fair complexes that have resulted in large seizures and destruction of violative products.
“One of such sensitisation actions was the flag-off of Media Sensitization Workshops organised for journalists in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and today in Enugu.
“Today’s sensitisation workshop is therefore a fulfillment of my promise to cascade it to the six geo-political zones in the country.
“This is a deliberate strategy of mobilising, educating, sensitising, and challenging Nigerian Health Journalists to play a frontline role in our concerted efforts to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams and needless waste of scarce resources in Nigeria,” he said.
Adeyeye noted that the sensitization workshop is a training the trainers’ programme with the great expectation that participants would assume the role of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against use of bleaching creams.
She said that a World Health Organization (WHO, 2018) study revealed that use of skin bleaching creams was prevalent among 77 per cent of Nigerian women which was the highest in Africa compared to 59 per cent recorded soin Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa and 27 per cent women in Senegal.
“This scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faced regulatory approach.
“Part of the multi-pronged approach is consultative/sensitisation meetings such as this and he
ightened raids on distribution outlets of bleaching creams,” he said.
In a goodwill message, the Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, said that the state government and her institutions would continue to collaborate with NAFDAC in its mandate to safeguard the health of the nation.
Represented by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Pharmacist Monday Obetta,, Obi said: “We want our people to join hands with NAFDAC to protect the skin which is an important organ, protecting other organs in the body”.
Speaking, Director of Public Affair in NAFDAC, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, said that NAFDAC wants to use human face to tackle the menace of bleaching cream by engaging the media practitioners in order to get Nigerians rightly informed against bleaching cream.
He noted that the agency wanted individual Nigerians, who are in the demand side of bleaching cream, to know the serious danger and negative consequences of using bleaching cream.
“We thank the media for their sustained support all these years; however, we want media practitioners to do more for us in this era of war against bleaching cream nationwide,” he said.
The President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, Hassan Zaggi, urged health journalists to put the advocacy against use of bleaching creams to the front burner of media discourse and engineering public thoughts toward it.
“Media practitioners should do more by creating time to talk one-on-one to people around them on the dangers of bleaching cream,” Zaggi said.
Resource persons presented papers on: “An Overview of Skin Bleaching: The NAFDAC Perspective”;by Deputy Director (DER), Anto Ebele , NAFDAC’s
Regulatory Control of Cosmetics in Nigeria by Deputy Director (DR &R),
Pharmacist Linda Halim, “Role of Mass Media in Promoting Public Health in Nigeria”;by Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, “Safe Handling of Chemicals and Ingredients in the Cosmetics Industry by Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, ” and “The Cosmovigillance Best Practices”, by Ag. Director( South-East zone), and “NAFDAC’s Regulatory Control of Cosmetics in Nigeria” by Deputy Director( DR&R) by Collins Ogedengbe.Pharmacist Halim warned Nigerians against use of bleaching cream, saying that it affects one’s melanin and once that happens, the person will have melanoma (cancer of the skin). She also urged people to avoid using Mercury, saying that it is banned in Nigeria and could damage vital organs in the body.
She encouraged Nigerians to go into production and get their products registered. She said that NAFDAC will guide them in producing standardized, acceptable goods. She also urged them to form groups and work together to achieve better results.
Author- Maureen Ikpeama