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GOV. UDOM EMMANUEL: PROVIDING SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL CONCERNS

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  • .lThe Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company Example

Samuel Ayara

 

A 2004 study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the rate of injections given worldwide at 16 billion. Of the figure up to 50% are reportedly unsafe; as 5% HIV infections, 32% Hepatitis B virus infections, and 40% Hepatitis C virus infections are transmitted through unsafe injections. That study sadly listed Nigeria alongside Mozambique, Ethiopia and Uganda among the four high-risk nations.

Extending the disadvantaged net beyond infected patients, frontline health workers who provide care are equally at increased risk of infection due to the unsafe practice of using contaminated needles and syringes reuse, which sometimes go beyond economic constrains to availability, mainly due to patients high demand for injections in developing countries.

As part of its study recommendation, the World Health Organization partnering the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) proffered support for financing, procuring and distribution of injection equipment as part of its strategy in curbing injections related infections, since discouraging preferences for injectable drugs in Africa has almost lost its steam.

Years after the WHO intervention, global disposable syringe market in 2015 was valued at 6.4 billion US Dollars; a size expected to grow by 2023 to 9.3 billion US Dollars (Transparency Market Research). With the increasing demand for injectable drugs as development of self-injection devices and long acting formulations with high efficacy and lower adverse effects takes prominence in the management of diabetes, hypertension and growing need for immunizations, an investment in syringe production can be the game changer.

Against this backdrop, one would agree with no equivocation that the decision of Akwa Ibom State Governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel in attracting an internationally reputed concern in syringe production to the state to give verve to his industrialization agenda was both well informed and timely.

What many saw as a political strategy when he promised to push a government agenda that will promote industrialization during the campaigns has become an article of faith and a sterling example for the rest of the nation, especially with the listing of the state as Nigeria’s second most preferred investment destination by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Marketing the state as a favourable investment climate in Africa could have been considered an ego trip, but everyone including the World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud could not have been wrong in agreeing so, when he communicated his organization’s readiness to partner the Akwa Ibom in some key areas of development during his September, 2017 visit to the state.

Favoured by available socio-economic indices, the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company (JSM) seized the window Governor Udom Emmanuel threw open to the world and settled in to produce syringes with a view to sparing Africa the burden of low availability of this most sought after medical consumable, and broadening the states Foreign Direct Investment profile in several ways.

Commissioning the built, equipped and ready-to-work facility on September 23, 2017, a year after its foundation was laid, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, lauded the foresight of the state chief executive in considering such an investment at a time the nation was grappling with an economic recession. He agreed that the coming on stream of the company, with a minimum daily syringe production capacity of 1 million, would help Nigeria trounce the capital flight that saw the country’s health sector depend completely on imports.

Addressing an important gap in the medical consumable sector, the 400 million yearly syringes start-up capacity poses an ambitious prospect of creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs that will strengthen the nation’s economy and advance the state’s acclaim on Africa’s socio-economic rung, to make true Governor Emmanuel’s resolve to create a first world economy in a third world nation.

It is therefore gratifying to mention that of the over 25 containers of medical equipments recently procured by the state government to equip medical facilities across the state, syringes are sure not a part of the items delivered. This is a departure from past practices where some multi nationals in pretentiously keeping with their corporate-social responsibilities came with miserly quantities of syringes as their contribution to healthcare in the state.

The optimism of expanding to a 1 billion annual production facility by JSM; despite exceeding South Africa’s current 95 million capacity shows that the state has positioned to challenge leading syringe companies in the world. This optimism would sure without fail put the Akwa Ibom on the global map of medical commerce, where our technology and concept would become a pilgrim of sort to climes seeking economic renaissance.

Made from locally obtained raw materials, the syringes are produced with technologically advanced machines, where the plastic injection machines are gotten from Austria, South Korea makes of the packaging, serigraphy and assembly machine, while other components of the company are procured from Turkey and Italy. The product, which is of the highest quality, presents a clear as glass outlook that addresses error of parallax.

The contribution of this investment to economic growth of the State is unarguably massive, but same in the nearest future would leave some economic proponents jaw-dropped and in awe at why they never saw the huge opportunity of an investment in Syringe production, because then, Akwa Ibom would have grown a capacity to feed all of Africa with medical syringes. This move away from attract foreign earnings would strengthen the State’s drive towards attracting medical tourism through the Ibom specialist Hospital.

Abreast with the power red flag that has for been the bane of business concerns in the country for decades, Governor Udom Emmanuel in a bid to ensure the syringe company thrives beyond political ego, has moved into ascertaining its viability and sustainability through the provision of dependable power from Ibom Power Company, to help the company achieve efficiency.

Most impressive is the over 90 percent local content compliance of the Company, which has seen indigenes of Akwa Ibom trained in turkey for real time experience and exposure to the workings of the company, thereby equipping them with the required expertise to run the plants and save the state revenue losses associated with capital flight.

It is not for nothing that Governor Udom Emmanuel in attracting these investments to fulfill his promise of making the state the center piece of Nigeria’s socio-economic endeavours, is taking on infrastructural consolidation and expansion that seeks to open up the entire state to access by existing and potential investors. Little wonder that the governor has committed more energy and focus to building infrastructures and utilities that bear economic value on the state.

Favourable economic policies, stable political climate and security have also played key roles in climes that were able to achieve industrialization. Keeping pace with the social contract of seeing to the peace and security as panacea for development, has found expression in Akwa Ibom’s quest to create an economically viable enclave where everyone has equal opportunity regardless of class and background.

Leading on all positives, in Akwa Ibom State, the rest of the world would agree springs the required commitment to not only grow the economy of Africa through industrialization, but ensure availability and promotion of safe medical practices to enhance longevity and grow a healthy black continent.

It is unarguable that Charles Spurgeon thought about Akwa Ibom State in Governor Udom Emmanuel’s era in his submission, “some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle.” The Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company made possible by the governor’s commitment to industrialization has shielded our people from the economic downturn; it has also insulated us from unhealthy medical practices.

True, the temptation of industrialization is worth braving and the gains innumerable.

Samuel Ayara writes from Ibong Otoro in Abak Local Government Area.

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