FG task NNMDA to discover more plants for medicine



The Federal Government has charged the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency to discover more plants that would provide solutions for illnesses.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu,The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, gave the task on Saturday during his ‘One Day Working Visit’ to the agency in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the visit was to inaugurate projects completed by the NNMDA.

The projects include the Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Office (IPTTO) and the agency’s Multipurpose Hall.

According to Onu, the agency plays a critical role because of its work in improving the quality of life of Nigerians.

“There is no need for Nigerians to be spending so much money importing herbal products from other countries when we can use the herbs we have in Nigeria.

“Go to all the forests in Nigeria, whether in the North or in the South, whether in the East or the West, to find those plants that can help us develop medicine and produce drugs.

“We can go back and have interactions with our traditional medicine practitioners and find out the best that they have to offer.

“All those wisdom of our ancestors that have accumulated over centuries; particularly in the area of understanding how to use plants, how to use herbs in solving our health problems,” he said.

He commended the management and staff for putting the resources made available to the agency to proper use.

Onu pledged the support of his Ministry in ensuring that the agency gets all the support it needs to improve on the health service delivery in the nation.

Recalling his first visit to the agency in 2015, the Minister, who took a tour of the facility and products exhibited, expressed his satisfaction on much the agency had achieved.

Dr Sam Etatuvie, the Director General, NNMDA, said the projects will help boost the agency’s in-house training activities and enhance the internally generated revenue efforts.

Etatuvie disclosed that the IPTTO was fully automated and linked to major global research organisations in the US, UK, Japan, India and China.

“The upgraded Pilot Drugs Development Unit is critical to our natural products development efforts and hence to meet NAFDAC’s regulatory requirements for listing of products.

“This is a critical step towards commercialisation of these products.

“The accruing benefit of the IPTTO in a research institute can be better imagined in terms of patents acquisition and commercialisation in pursuance of the Nation’s effort to move the economy from a resource based economy to a knowledge based one,” he said.

The Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr Azumi Ibrahim, said the IPTTO will empower researchers to come up with more patents.

Ibrahim, who was represented by Mr Adamu Tanduma, Director, Consultancy Service Department of NOTAP, said the aim of IPTTO was to sensitise researchers about patents.

“The programme is to sensitise, create awareness for researchers about intellectual property, about patents.

“Part of the reasons we established the IPTTO is to encourage researchers to come out with patents and then we eventually assist them in commercialising their research work,” he said.

NAN also reports that the minister launched the agency’s 5-Year Strategic Plan for 2019 to 2024.

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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