Government Should do More for Babies’ Survival – Chief Adeniji


As a Pharmacist, what do you think should be done to tackle infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria?

First, we need a clean environment; second, we need to educate our people on wellness including the type of food to eat, the type of water to drink and the right source of drugs to use. Parents should desist from buying substandard drugs for their babies because it is dangerous to their health. To continue to patronize the wrong pharmacists is a sure walk into an early grave. Even drug hawkers do not know the source of the drugs they sell, whether they are adulterated or not. They see them as articles of trade and do not care whether the products are registered by regulatory authorities like National Agency of Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Our people should learn to patronize what is good.

Would you say that government has done enough with regards to the fight against infant and maternal mortality in the country?

Well, I'm not a politician, but to the best of my knowledge, the government is trying. It is wrong to condemn them. I believe some state governments today are better than what they were in the past.

In your own opinion, why do some people abandon their babies?

The cause is poverty, no more, no less.  A man or woman faced with abject poverty can do anything. If you have money that can sustain you, you will not abandon your baby in the dust bin, in the river, gutter or even in the hospital or anywhere that is not conducive for the survival of that baby. Most of them do it out of ignorance of what tomorrow will bring. My advice is that people should try and keep their babies and work for their upkeep. I will also plead that government should redouble their efforts in the area of babies' survival. Some government and private hospitals are charging exorbitant rates for their healthcare services. Recently, I went to one of the teaching hospitals in the country for a scan and they were charging N35,000. That is too much. If I can afford it, how many Nigerians can? What is the salary of nursing mothers in the country such that they can afford such an amount for just scanning?

Premature triplets recently died in a hospital in Damaturu, Yobe State, because the hospital did not have incubator, what is your position on this matter?

Well, I will say the government should look into it and provide incubators. It is not beyond what they can do. They should ensure incubators are provided in all the hospitals for the survival of our premature babies. Incubators are very essential to the lives of preterm babies and I want to believe that government at all levels will look into some of these issues and tackle them once and for all; but we need to let them know where there is problem.

As a Chief Pharmacist of a popular and long standing pharmacy in Lagos, what are the challenges of running a baby-friendly and standard pharmacy?

The challenges are numerous and include staffing, capital and infrastructures. Young pharmacists these days want more money. If you are running a pharmacy, you need huge capital to meet the standard set by  regulatory agencies like Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). There is a trend in Nigeria - everybody wants to go into business even without having the knowledge of that business which they want to venture into because they want quick money.

Everybody wants to set up business, some set up with the help of the bank, some with the help of their families. Today, if you want to set up a pharmacy, you need a good location, you need to pay for the accommodation, you need to computerize the place to meet the standard required by the regulatory authorities and you need to pay your staff. All these need money.

What should we do to contribute to the wellbeing of our babies and their mothers?

What we need to do is to contribute our quota financially to organizations responsible for babies' safety and their wellbeing including hospitals either private or public so that the issue of infant and maternal mortality can be addressed.

Chief Adeniji is the CEO of Tabade Pharmaceuticals Limited based in Lagos, Nigeria.


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