Nigeria is Africa’s First Producer of Antiseptic Gel
Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a Nigerian drug company, has been granted regulatory approval to produce Chlorhexidine Digluconate 7.1% gel, announced the Nigerian Minister of Health,
Professor C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on 25 March, 2014.
Chlorhexidine gel, a high impact, low-cost medicine prevents umbilical cord infections in newborns. About 30% of newborn deaths in Nigeria are attributable to infections, an obstacle to the attainment of the United Nations MDGs by 2015.
The local production of Chlorhexidine Digluconate 7.1% gel, means that the gel will be more readily available, stocked, and distributed to health facilities and health workers. The fact that two states (Bauchi and Sokoto) invested in the statewide use of Chlorhexidine gel, making it a part of their strategy to reduce newborn deaths, will translate in more community health workers administrating the gel, and more infants having access to it.
Chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care is one of four essential commodities identified by the Commission that can prevent and address the leading causes of death in the first 28 days of a newborn, together with antenatal corticosteroids, injectable antibiotics for the treatment of newborn sepsis, and newborn resuscitation devicesto treat birth asphyxia. If effectively administered to newborns in high-mortality countries, these highly effective and affordable products could save approximately 1,770,000 newborns yearly.