The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has launched two publications which he described in the ‘Foreword’ to the publications as “veritable tool in the healthcare delivery system which forms the fulcrum for the treatment of various medical conditions prevalent in the country.”
The publications are the ‘Nigeria Essential Medicines List for Adults’ (7th Edition, 2020) and ‘Nigeria Essential Medicines List for Children’ (1st Edition, 2020). The launch of these publications took place on Friday, 11th December, 2020 at Rockview Hotel (Royale), Wuse II, Abuja.
The 7th Edition of the ‘Nigeria Essential Medicines List for Adults’ was said to be “the outcome of several deliberations and consultations by various experts and stakeholders in the healthcare delivery system.”
The Expert Therapeutic Groups of the National Drug Formulary (NDF)/Essential Drug List (EDL) Committee”, the Honourable Minister stated, “have meticulously evaluated the safety, efficacy, quality, as well as the cost effectiveness of new medicines incorporated into this seventh edition for the treatment of various clinical conditions.
Of the ‘Nigeria Essential Medicines List for Children’ (NEMLc, 1st Edition, 2020), Dr. Ehanire stated that the NDF/EDL developed the maiden edition of the list for Children in line with the UN Commission on Life-saving Commodities (UNCoLSC) which advocates for the need to pay special attention to the health of children and women as special populations.”
The Honourable Minister of Health further said that the development of the essential list for children will ensure the appropriate therapeutic interventions to children as envisaged by the 2007 Model List of Essential Medicines for Children by WHO. Dr. Ehanire deriving strength from the WHO submission wrote that the publication contains “list of safe medicines for children up to 12 years of age; the most cost-effective options for key health problems and are useable with the little additional health resources.”
At the launch event for the publications, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire was represented by Dr. Omobolanle Olowu, mni, the Director for Public Private Partnership/Diaspora Unit of Federal Ministry of Health. The event was organized by the Food and Drug Services Department of the Ministry in collaboration with Development partners, many of who were represented at the launch event and they gave goodwill messages:
Prof. Ambrose Isah who is the immediate past Chairman of NDF/EDL Review Committee stated in his good will message said: “Thank you for coming up with the 7th National Essential Drug List and First for Children.”
Dr. Kazadi Mulombo, Walter the Head of Mission and Representative of the World Health Organization Nigeria who was represented said that “The first edition of the WHO Model Essential Medicines List was released in 1977 with 208 individual medicines. Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. They are selected with due regard to disease prevalence and public health relevance, evidence of clinical efficacy and safety, and comparative costs and cost-effectiveness.”
Dr. Walter added that “The model is intended to guide the development of national and institutional essential medicine lists which reflects the national disease profile.” He commended and congratulated the Honorable Minister of Health and his team for sustaining this lofty idea and on the launch of the 7th edition of the Nigeria Essential Medicine List for Adults and the Maiden edition of the Nigeria Essential Medicine List for Children” and remarked that “The WHO Model Essential Medicine List is evolving from just being a list but to a more robust tool that provide technical guidance in the rational use of medicine. The latest edition, Dr. Walter said, includes the AWaRe Classification of Antibiotics to groups of Access, Watch and Reserves to emphasize the importance of their optimal uses and potential for antimicrobial resistance.” On behalf of the WHO, he said the UN Organ will be providing technical assistance to the country to ensure that the next edition of the Essential Medicine is better.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Foundation (PSNF) on its own, stated that “Today’s event is indeed significant, as it brings to fore the aspiration of the FMoH especially the Department of Food & Drugs Services and indeed the government of Nigeria in strengthening the supply chain and providing quality medicines for Nigerians.” The provision and availability of medicines, the Society said, “can only be guaranteed by the appropriate selection of medicines needed by the population as the government through its policies expands access to healthcare.”
The Society went further to say that “It is gratifying that attention was focused on the inclusion of innovative medicines like Depot MedroxyProgesterone Acetate Sub-Cutaneous (DMPA-SC) which encourages Self Care and gives women of child bearing age the power to make informed choices through a varied contraceptive mix. Furthermore, the development of the maiden edition of the NEMLc is a testament to the fact that the vulnerable, particularly children, are of top priority in the agenda of the government.”
PSN added that “As a formidable partner, the PSNF through the PACFaH and PAS projects has supported the Ministry and the department in numerous ways: Notable is the strengthening of the Treatment Guidelines from 2014 till date. We are confident that this cordial relationship will continue to wax stronger and beyond the present.”
While heartily congratulating the FMoH especially the Department of Food & Drugs Services, Pharmaceutical Division on this notable event of the launch of the 7th edition of the NEML and maiden edition of the NEMLc, it said that “This launch has been a long time coming as painstaking effort, intellect based on evidence and time of the expert committee with support from various stakeholders including partners, were put into the review process which commenced in 2018” and expressed the “hope that this strategic policy document materializes into a living policy that will positively impact the lives of all health seeking Nigerians particularly those in the rural areas with limited access to quality medicines and services.”
Ogehi Onuoha representing MarieStopes, Nigeria wrote: "On behalf of the Country Director of Marie's Stopes International Organisation Nigeria, I congratulate the FMOH on this occasion of the launch of the 7th edition of the Adult EML and the Inaugural launch of the children EML.
Marie Stopes is a global partnership present in 37 countries. We work in the sexual and reproductive health space to facilitate access to life saving sexual and reproductive health services to women and all requiring it. We empower women and families to have children by choice and not chance. We do this through information / education, quality service delivery and enabling availability of high quality essential health products/commodities. We work collaboratively with governments at national and state levels to strengthen the health policy space.
Marie stopes works in all 36 states and the FCT, working collaboratively with the Federal and States ministries of Health to strengthen health systems and an enabling environment for universal access to sexual and reproductive health services.
We are happy to be a partner in the development of the edition and will work to ensure the effective and efficient use of the EML in our locations of operation. We will do this because we appreciate that the EML will provide the needed guidance for our healthcare professionals in the discharge of their duties.
Congratulations again to the Federal Ministry of Health.”
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media & Public Relations.