… flag-off sensitization on harmful effects of bleaching creams

From Gyang Bere, Jos

The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye said bleaching creams are capable of causing cancer, damage to vital body organs, premature skin ageing and prolonged healing of wounds.

She noted that Federal Government has embarked on awareness campaign to sensitize the public on the harmful effects of bleaching creams with a view to eradicate the menace in Nigeria.

Prof. Adeyeye disclosed this on Friday at the flag-off of North Central Zonal Media sensitization workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams, held in Jos, Plateau State.

Represented by the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr. Leonard Omokpariola said the campaign became necessary following the directive of the the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha to NAFDA, who acted based on the resolutions of the Senate demanding for a stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.

“I have assigned some of my competent officers to carry out this training exercise, it is imperative for me to warn that some of the harmful effects of bleaching creams include cancer, damage to vital organs of the body, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing and prolong healing of wounds.”

She explained that a study conducted by World Health Organization (WHO), revealed that that the use of skin bleaching ceams was prevalent among 77 percent of Nigerian women which was the highest on Africa compared to 59 percent in Togo, 36 percent in South Africa and 27 percent women in Senegal.

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“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 are consultative/sensitization meetings such as this and heightened raids on distribution outlets of bleaching creams.

“I urging you to assist NAFDAC in publicizing and disseminating knowledge acquired to the general public.I thank you for your collaboration and support for NAFDAC to rid the country of the menace of substandard and falsified medicines, unwholesome foods, corrosive cosmetics and other substandard regulated products.” She stated.

Prof. Adeyeye noted that the media sensitization workshop has taken place in Abuja, Lagos and Kano states for Journalists, saying the campaign has also commenced across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Deputy Director Drug Registration and Regulation, Mrs. Linda Halim noted that legislation, continue education and sensitization on the danger of bleaching creams is the only methodology that can reduce the menace in the country.

She said the prevalence of skin bleaching was high among Nigerians women and said the reaction of those patronizing the cosmetics was what cannot be guaranteed.

Mrs Halim identified racism, colonialism, media portrayal, low self esteem and peer pressure among other factors as responsible for what drives people into bleaching.

Director North Central zone, Pharm. Mohammad Shaba described the media sensitization workshop as necessary to educate the public on the danger of bleaching creams.