The National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control on Thursday said Nigeria has been ranked first in skin bleaching.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, at a media sensitisation workshop on ‘Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control,’ added that the problem has become a national emergency.
The event was organised by the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists in Kano State.
She said that 77 per cent of Nigerian women bleach their skin, adding that fighting the menace of bleaching creams calls for multifaceted approach.
She said, “The World Health Organisation study in 2018 revealed that the use of skin bleaching cream is prevalent among 77 percent of Nigerian women, which is the highest in Africa, compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 percent in South Africa and 27 percent in Senegal.
“These scary statistics have shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faceted regulatory approach.”
She revealed that to reduce the statistics, the Federal Government, through the office of the Secretary to the Government, wrote to NAFDAC last year seeking stringent measures to be implemented against the menace.
According to her, the sensitisation workshops in the six geo-political zones were part of the measures being taken.
“This sensitisation workshop is a training of trainers program with the great expectation that participants will assume roles of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against the use of bleaching creams.
“I wish to assure you that NAFDAC will henceforth constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass levels the positive impact of our regulatory activities.
“Even though I have assigned some of my competent officers to carry out this training, it has become imperative on me to warn that some of the harmful effects of bleaching creams include cancer, damage to vital organs in the body, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature aging and prolonged healing of wounds,” she stated.
Also, the former National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Ahmad Yakasai, warned that the cases of bleaching among women and men, if not arrested, would create serious health cases in Nigeria.
The Director of Public Affairs of NAFDAC, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, said the agency had 3,000 workers covering the entire federation of over 200 million people.