63% of sanitisers are counterfeit, says Fed Govt

Bolaji Ogundele and Moses Emorinken, Abuja

 About 63 per cent of alcohol-based hand sanitisers in circulation may not be genuine, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said yesterday.

PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha said most sanitizers are not registered.

Speaking at the PTF briefing in Abuja, he said the Minister of Health had issued an advisory to the public to procure pharmaceutical products from credible sources.

The SGF said: “As part of the non-pharmaceutical measures, we recommended in line with global practice, the use of hand sanitizers. Ordinarily, that ought to stimulate local production because of increased demand.

“We regret to inform you that following a survey conducted by the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to check the influx of substandard goods, it was revealed that 63 per cent of alcohol-based sanitizers in Abuja does not have NAFDAC registration numbers. There could also be similar situations around the country.

“The PTF appeals to the patriotic spirit of Nigerians and request that they desist from manufacturing sub-standard goods which could further endanger other unsuspecting Nigerians who innocently purchase them.”

The SGF deplored the violation of airport COVID-19 protocols by dignitaries.

“We have received reports about violations by some dignitaries who failed to follow the protocols at our airports.

“We believe leaders must lead by example. In truth, as leaders and followers, we must change our behaviour if we must overcome the pandemic.

“This virus does not discriminate by status, age, tribe, creed or color. All we require is diligent compliance and vigilance,” he said.

PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, said every Nigerian was at risk of contracting the virus if not careful.

“Up to 18 per cent of those above 60 could die from COVID-19 infection. In Abuja, the youngest person to die from COVID-19 was 38. So, we are all at risk,” he warned.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said it has activated 54 testing centres across 30 states in five months.

Its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said: “It has been a small miracle in getting that level of distribution of a very complex architecture across the country.

“We continue to work very hard to make sure that we cover the 37 states to bring testing as close as possible, and therefore improve the timeliness in their results.”

He said the NCDC was working on a new platform through which people can check their results themselves, which he said is “nearly ready”.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government was not aware that some health workers were yet to receive their COVID-19 hazard inducement allowance and insurance.

He urged those affected to report to the Ministry of Health for intervention.

He said: “Anyone who has not been paid their allowance or has not received their insurance should report to the Ministry of Health, speak to the Director of Hospital Services or can even register in my office or with the Minister of State or with the Permanent Secretary, or write a letter and it will be attended to.”

Ehanire reiterated that facemasks help prevent the spread of the virus.

He said: “Studies in many countries have confirmed the effectiveness of wearing masks in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission since it provides mutual protection to all wearers.

“It is, therefore still important, for us not to give up, but to continue to practise these measures, especially using facemasks, physical distancing and imbibing social courtesies like not sneezing or coughing into open space, but into a tissue, especially with people around.”

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