In present day Nigeria, role models have become very significant. They help us develop into better persons and inspire us to make a difference, especially the younger ones.
Among, Nigeria’s recognized personalities in numerous fields, Dr. Paul Botwev Orhii, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, has been outstanding in his achievements as an individual and as D.G. NAFDAC.
Paul Botwev Orhii attended the Stavropol State Medical lnstitute, Russia graduating with Honours and obtaining his degree in Medicine in 1989. He proceeded to obtain a Ph.D in Chrono-Neuropsychopharmacology in 1992 after which he worked as a Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Jos, Nigeria from 1992 to 1993.
Thereafter, as a visiting Scientist to the United States of America, he worked as a Biomedical Scientist and Research Fellow from 1993 to 2003 at the University of Texas Health Science Centre, San Anthonio, Texas. He supervised Graduate Students, Research Assistants and Volunteer students until August 2003. Dr. Orhii has authored and co-authored more than twenty peer-reviewed scientific publications. He also studied law from 2003 to 2006 and obtained his Juris Doctor from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Texas Southern University and was called to the Texas Bar in 2007.
He was appointed the D.G. NAFDAC in 2009. As the helmsman in NAFDAC, charged with the responsibility of regulation and controlling the importation exportation, manufacture, advertisement, sale and use of regulated products in Nigeria. Dr. Orhii has repeatedly brought honour to Nigeria having received international awards from the USA and several other countries mainly for his outstanding achievements in the use of cutting-edge technologies to fight drug counterfeiting and more.
NAFDAC, under Dr. Orhii’s leadership, is the first medicines regulatory authority to deploy and use a hand held device (Truscan) with resounding success at borders in the country to detect counterfeit medicines on the spot. The products do not have to find their way into the country before they are tracked.
The agency launched the world’s first anti-counterfeiting Mobile Authentication Message (MAS), using Short Message Service (SMS) for end-patient regulated medication authentication. This technology has put the power of detecting counterfeit regulated products in the hands of the more than 60 million Nigerian cell phone users, consequently enlisting them in the battle against counterfeiting. Thus, local manufacturing of drugs and importation of drugs especially from the Asian countries of China and India, has since been subjected to extraordinary surveillance.
In addition, the Black Eye technology was deployed to screen many drug samples and simultaneously, the agency also launched the Radio frequency Identification (RFID) System for verification of regulated products and documents. The system as confirmed, has the potential to track and trace regulated products and prevent forgery of sensitive documents.
The use of technologies as well as developing the agency’s two major laboratories to attract international recognition has earned NAFDAC, global attention and has maintained global leadership role as one of the top medicine regulatory agencies in the world. These achievements and more culminated to why the NAFDAC boss was made the Vice Chairman of the International Medical Products Anti-counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT), an international coalition established by the World Health organisation (WHO). The taskforce is made up of 193 WHO member countries on voluntary basis and other stakeholders involved in medicines regulation such as the World Customs Organisation, INTERPOL, Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), among others.
In my visit to some NAFDAC offices, while gathering materials for this write up. I gathered that, every year, Dr. Orhii inspires his team to develop different regulatory ideas and challenging outlines in fighting drug counterfeiting and others. I was informed that Dr. Orhii’s innovative ideas to upgrade NAFDAC, always seem to be impossible to implement in Nigeria at the beginning, but the D.G helps break the planning and execution into manageable pieces, and provides motivation and encouragement to his team at just the right times and today his ideas are totally successful. Although, he will always credit his team with the success, but they know that victory could not have been achieved without Dr. Orhii ideas and leadership.
The amount of time and energy he gives the agency is remarkable hence, his efforts have been rewarded with the organization’s expansion, popularity and effectiveness, locally and internationally.
Not only has he grown NAFDAC since his appointment in 2009. Under Dr. Orhii’s watch, NAFDAC has engaged the entire people of Nigeria and abroad using awareness campaigns, workshops, and promotion/sensitization meetings with local and international authorities.
Dr. Orhii is massively loved and respected by the entire staff of NAFDAC and a huge number of unsuspecting victims of drug counterfeiting in Nigeria but no doubt disliked by counterfeiters and perpetrators.
I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Paul Botwev Orhii organizational ability, commitment, hard work and leadership. He has provided excellent leadership to NAFDAC and indeed exemplary service to Nigeria.
A role model to the core!