According to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), a World Health Organization (WHO) study found that 77 percent of Nigerian women use skin bleaching creams, which is the highest in Africa, compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 percent in South Africa, and 27 percent in Senegal.
Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, disclosed this during her inaugural address at the North-Central Zonal Sensitisation Workshop on the Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control in Jos, Plateau State.
She explained that the frightening statistic showed that the bleaching cream menace in Nigeria had become a national health emergency that necessitated a multifaceted regulatory approach.
According to her, “part of the multi-pronged approach are consultative/sensitisation meetings such as this and heightened raids on distribution outlets of bleaching creams.”
The Director-General emphasized the importance of severe regulatory efforts to halt the alarming tide of widespread cases of Nigerians using bleaching lotion.
She urged the media to help NAFDAC publicize and disseminate the knowledge gained to the general public, and she praised the press for its collaboration and support in ridding the country of the threat of substandard and falsified medicines, harmful foods, corrosive cosmetics, and other substandard regulated products.
Prof Adeyeye stated that one of the sensitization actions was the launch of media sensitization workshops for journalists in Abuja, Lagos, and Kano, and that the one for the North-Central was a fulfillment of her promise to cascade it to the country’s six geopolitical zones as a deliberate strategy of mobilizing, educating, sensitizing, and challenging Nigerian health journalists to play a frontline role in concerted efforts to eradicate malaria.
“This sensitisation workshop is a training for the trainers’ programme with the great expectation that participants will assume the role of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against the use of bleaching creams. It is pertinent to mention that during my recent press conference in Abuja announcing my second tenure in office, I promised to continue the transformative agenda of my first tenure but intensify and widen the scope of our publicity and public awareness campaign.”
Adeyeye cautioned that bleaching creams could cause cancer, damage to vital organs, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing, and prolonged wound healing.
Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director Public Affairs NAFDAC, stated in his address that the agency required the media to combat the bleaching epidemic among Nigerians, adding that NAFDAC cannot do it alone.