DON TO WOMEN: BE MINDFUL OF THE DRUGS YOU TAKE DURING PREGNANCY
The 104th Inaugural lecturer of the University of Calabar, Prof. Mbeh Ubana Eteng has advised pregnant women to be mindful of the drugs they take during the gestation period of pregnancy, saying some substances consumed during pregnancy can affect the child’s mental health.
Prof. Eteng advised at the International Conference Centre of the institution while delivering the inaugural lecture on the topic, ‘’ War Against Procreation and Humanity: Toxicological Perspective, Intervention Strategy and Lessons for Human Society’’.
According to him, drug abuse has assumed a dangerous dimension, noting that, it is dangerous for pregnant women to take drugs not prescribed or abuse the ones rightly prescribed concerning the dosage.
He said during the gestation period of pregnancy and after delivery, some toxicants get excreted into the breast milk and the baby becomes vulnerable.
Eteng, a Professor of Clinical, Toxicological and Ethno-biochemistry said some substances consumed during pregnancy produce vaso-constriction of placenta vessels leading to nutrient deprivation, delayed closure of neural tube, which according to him, may result in a long-term impairment of brain development and function.
The Inaugural lecturer who stressed the need to protect humanity and develop a fetus added that the maintenance period of life contributes in part to longevity, which he said, should be handled with care by reducing exposure to toxicants, biochemical bullets and insults.
He said for healthy living, there is a need for inclusion in diet and adequate intake of antioxidants like Vitamin A, C& E, Selenium, Iron, vegetables and phytochemicals.
Hear him, ‘’ the need to protect humanity and developing fetus is warranted. We are involved in a war not political, not military, and not economic in scope but a real war in an attempt to survive against the onslaught of biochemical insults and bullets. Humanity must be protected in this regard''
Prof.Eteng stated that ethno-biochemistry and toxicology remains a window for drug recovery, adding that, a thin line separates the poison from the remedy.
He said in the course of his research work on Artemisia annua crude extract toxicity assessment, as well as effects on the reproductive outcome, it was discovered that the extract can be used as a contraceptive for birth control.
This came as he called on the ethno-biochemistry unit of the Department of Biochemistry, the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology in the Faculty of Biological Sciences and the new Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Calabar, to enter into collaboration with established pharmaceutical firms in Nigeria to tap on these novel lead molecules for drug development and production, to increase its Internally Generated Revenue(IGR).
The inaugural lecturer further called on Federal Government to take pragmatic steps towards addressing environmental pollution in the Niger Delta and North West regions of the country where oil exploration and gold mining activities are ongoing, stressing that, these issues need urgent attention because lives are at stake due to pollution of the environment.
He also urged the Federal Government to encourage research through adequate funding of Universities, adding that, '' the time to act is, not tomorrow''.
Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof.Florence Obi, in her remarks, commended the inaugural lecturer for delivering what she described as a rich intellectual meal', saying reproductive health is key to human existence.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Prof. Mike Okom, she said the inaugural lecture series is an academic tradition of the institution which her administration is poised to sustain.
While describing the inaugural lecturer as a Medical Practitioner of high repute, she called on young academics to tap from his wealth of experience.
The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of the memento to the inaugural lecturer by the Vice-Chancellor.
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