The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, has decried the high rate of skin bleaching among Nigerians during her opening speech at the South South media sensitization on bleaching cream in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
Represented by Dr Leonard Omoboriola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, NAFDAC, Prof Adeyeye noted that bleaching has become a national health emergency following a 2018 WHO study.
“The World Health Organization, WHO, 2018 study revealed that the use of skin bleaching cream was prevalent among 77% of Nigerian women, which was the highest in Africa, compared to 59% of women in Togo, 35% in South Africa and 27% of women in Senegal.
“This statistics has shown that the menace of bleaching cream in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multifaceted and regulatory approach,” she stated.
While underscoring the need to take stringent steps to stem the use of bleaching cream in the country, she listed some harmful effects of bleaching cream to include cancer, damage to vital organs of the body, wrinkles and prolonged healing of wounds, among other effects.
While there is no recent study to show the percentage of women engaged in bleaching their skin in Nigeria, experts, however, agreed that there is a rise of bleaching of skin even among men in the country.
According to the NAFDAC DG: “This sensitisation workshop is a training programme with the great expectation that participants will assume the role of the champions in the vanguards of the campaign against the use of bleaching cream.”
Representatives of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, operators of supermarkets and cosmetic dealers among others were present at the workshop.