In Public and Private Schools
In an effort to discourage students from purchasing medicines and health products from street peddlers, the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) has climaxed a 16-day public awareness campaign in 28 public and private high schools in Montserrado county.
The campaign was launched on Tuesday February 8, 2022 at the William V. S. Tubman High School in Sinkor.
The awareness in the schools was geared towards meeting with school administrations and students grouping and informing them about the importance of raising awareness on the risk associated with Substandard and Falsified (SF) medicines among the Liberian population and also discouraging them from purchasing Substandard & Falsified Medicines & Health Products from those selling medicines in the streets, otherwise referred to as Drug/Street Peddlers.
With the help of two of Liberia’s finest comedians in persons of Geezy Bahn, alias “Wedigar” and Future Doe; used their comical talents to draw the student’s attention and also explained the awareness message thru simplified Liberian English and comedy.
At the official opening of the program, the Managing Director of the LMHRA Pharmacist Keturah C. Smith-Chineh cautioned students to avoid buying medicines from drug peddlers because the conditions under which these peddlers sell these medicines are not conducive and because these medications are further exposed to harsh conditions such as exposure to sunlight, rainfall, not store under the right conditions, could be counterfeit and substandard as well as the harsh conditions under which these medications are often imported into the country.
Pharm. Chineh noted that the awareness was taken to the schools because most students may not know the harmful effects buying medicines and health products from bags, tables and buckets.
The initiative, solely supported by the Management of the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority with the aimed to help guarantee the health safety of Liberians and other nationals in the country.
“You are the future leaders of this country, in order to live up to that, you should desist from buying medicines from street peddlers, most of whom, did not acquire any knowledge on what they sell to citizens in the market places, communities and other areas or else, it will hamper your dream of becoming leaders for this great nation,” she warned the students.
MD Chineh urged the students to serve as ambassadors in their communities for LMHRA to sensitize residents in order to stop endangering their health by buying fake, substandard and expired medicines and health products that are secretly brought into the country through land borders and sold on the Liberian market.
The LMHRA boss urged everyone to always purchase their medicines from the pharmacies or drug stores to guarantee their safety.
According to her, the health condition of citizens would turn from bad to worse if fake and substandard medicines are bought from the street peddlers and taken.
Concluding, the LMHRA boss said: “Medications that are kept in heat or sunlight have lost their potency or the ability to cure any illness,”
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Vice Principal for Students Affairs at the William V. S. Tubman High School, Madam Bass told the students to take the messages from the LMHRA very serious and take it to their respective communities as to help safe thousands lives.
According to her, it was never a mistake for the William V. S. Tubman High School to be chosen for the official launch of the awareness based on its historical role in the Liberian society.
At the R. C. Lawson High School where the program was climax, the Manager of Pharmaceutical Waste Management at the LMHRA, Dr. Jonathan J. Luciny, cautioned the students to not allow their health to be tempered with by people selling fake, expired, counterfeit and substandard medicines and health products.
He added that most of those selling medicines in buckets and black bags, do not know the effect of what they are selling.
Also adding, the Medicines Information Manager, Pharmacist Sancee G. Gray said people should not be carried away by those peddlers who show identification cards (ID card) in the name of being health workers or graduated from medical schools; noting that trained health workers shouldn’t be selling in buckets or bags, they should either be at health facilities.
The Liberia Medicines & Health Products Regulatory Authority has the statutory responsibility and mandate to “protect the public from the harmful effects of Substandard and Falsified (SF) Medicines and Health Products,” coupled with “ensuring that, in the national medicine supply system, only safe, effective, and good quality medicines reach the Liberian public. Also, the LMHRA is responsible to promulgate regulations to fight illegal trade in medicines, including counterfeit and adulterated medicines and health products and fair trade practices.”