Mrs. Egwuonwu addressing the UNIBEN Management during the courtesy visit

Nigerian Universities have been enjoined to encourage undergraduates to undertake issues relating to standards and conformity assessment as topics for their projects to further promote research in the field of standardization in the country.

Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Aboloma made this call in Benin, during a courtesy visit of experts on African Traditional Medicine (ATM) to the Vice Chancellor and management of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) recently, under the auspices of the National Mirror Committee on ATM.

The visit preceded a 2-day meeting of the Committee on ATM to continue discussions on twelve (12) draft medicinal plant standards initiated by Nigeria for submission to the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) technical committee on ATM.

Represented by the Director of Standards Development, Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, the SON Chief Executive posited that more research initiatives in the field of standardization will assist Nigerians imbibe the quality culture faster and generally promote the wellbeing of the nation and its people.

She commended the Vice Chancellor and management of UNIBEN for their support in hosting the meeting of the experts of the NMC on African Traditional Medicine and called on other stakeholders to emulate the good gesture.

The SON Director invited UNIBEN management to support efforts at integrating Standardization into the curriculum of Nigerian Universities in order to align with trends in America, Europe, Asia and some African countries like Kenya, Senegal, Cameroon and DR Congo.

Mrs. Egwuonwu alluded to the unrelenting efforts by ARSO member countries in ensuring that African Traditional Medicines become safe alternatives in the management of health issues, particularly within the continent.

In his comments, Chairman of the NMC on ATM, Prof. Maurice Iwu disclosed that the recent African standards adopted by Nigeria will be incorporated into the National Pharmacopoeia for wider market access and exports.

He requested Nigerian Universities to assist students in Biological Sciences and Pharmacy carry out mundane researches in the field of Traditional Medicine.

Responding, the Vice Chancellor of UNIBEN, Engr. Prof. Faraday F. Osasere Orumwense represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Admin, Prof. J.O Ehiorobo emphasized on the need to continually promote standardization of Nigeria’s educational system and traditional medicines.

He pledged UNIBEN’s continuous support to SON and the NMC on areas of Standardization that may require the intervention of the University.

Draft standards discussed at the meeting included, BaobabBitter Almond;Zobo; Efirin; Cashew Leaves; Cashew Seeds/Nut; Cashew Apple; African Bush Mango – Ogbono; Bitter leaf; Bitter Kola and Zogale.

Nigeria’s participation has contributed to the publishing of eleven (11) ARSO Standards on African Traditional Medicine, Ten of which have been adoptedfor use as Nigeria Industrial Standards.

These include;

  • good manufacturing practice for herbal medicines;
  • guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices;
  • minimum requirements for registration of traditional medicines;
  • certification scheme for medicinal plant produce and
  • safety, efficacy and quality of raw materials and herbal medicines among others.

Among resolutions reached at the meeting were;

  • the need to invite more experts in Biological and Physical Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Medical Laboratory Sciences and Pharmacy as permanent nominees to join the NMC from identified universities and research institutions because of their strategic and related research in ATM as well as capabilities in terms of laboratory equipment and infrastructures, namely;
  • African Centre of Excellence on Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD), University of Jos, Plateau State
  • University of Jos, Plateau State
  • Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State
  • Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Samaru- Zaria, Kaduna State
  • Obafemi Awolowo University, IIe-Ife, Osun State
  • University of Calabar, Cross River State and
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)

In a bid to have specimens of plants standards elaborated, the committee also resolved to seek voluntary cooperation and collaboration for the establishment of an herbarium from Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories; Forestry and Research Institute of Nigeria as well as the University of Nigeria Nsukka; Universities of Ibadan, Jos, Maiduguri and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

The ATM committee currently comprises of experts from twenty-eight (28) Organisations covering the Academia, Research Institutes, Regulatory Agencies, Professional Associations in health care delivery and the Private sector, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) practitioners.

The SON provides the secretariat for the committee’s activities while the meetings are voluntarily hosted on rotational basis by member organizations as part of their contributions to standards development efforts in Nigeria for ATM.

NMC experts on ATM at the end of the Benin meeting. Front row 2nd from right is Prof. Maurice Iwu, Chairman and Mrs. Chinyere Eguonwo, SON Director, Standards Development (2nd from left)

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