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Fidson Healthcare moves to tackle micronutrient deficiency


Over the years, micronutrient deficiency has remained a key health challenge in developing economies, including Nigeria. With micronutrient deficiencies associated with physiologic effects that can be life threatening, its deficiency in humans has been linked with chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, thyroid deficiency, birth defects and increase in the severity of infectious diseases such as measles, etc.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “As tiny as the amounts of micronutrients are, the consequences of their absence are severe. Iodine, Vitamin A and iron are most important in global public health terms; their lack represents a major threat to the health and development of populations the world over, particularly children and pregnant women in low-income countries.”

Worried by the dire consequences of micronutrient deficiency in Nigeria, Fidson Healthcare Plc has introduced Cestra, a range of nutraceutical supplements with a blend of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that offer natural wellness and healthy living.

Making this known during the media launch of Cestra in Lagos, Ola Ijimakin, general manager, Marketing, Fidson Healthcare Plc, said that micronutrients are organic compounds required as nutrients in tiny amounts for proper growth and development of humans.

The micronutrients or trace elements include at least iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum.

Ijimakin explained that Cestra is specifically formulated to prevent nutrient deficiencies caused by poor diet and lifestyle, as well as strengthens and supports the immune system.

According to Ijimakin, “Cestra protects the body from damaging free radicals implicated in the development of diseases such as heart diseases, arthritis and liver damage. The introduction of Cestra is basically to fill the gap in micronutrient deficiency especially in pregnant women, people with chronic fatigue and the elderly. The macronutrients in Cestra are to increase the absorption of the micronutrients (iron).”

On the safety of Cestra, Ojimakin explained: “They are basically food nutrients. They are water soluble and the body easily takes away the excess. It contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc (all minerals are amino acid chelated), molybdenum, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein, Vitamins B, C, D, E, to mention a few. It is difficult to rule out abuse. It is documented that there are people who need micronutrient supplementation.”

Reacting to the possible over loading of nutrients with Cestra, Ojimakin said: “Some products contain more than the recommended daily allowance of iron and other nutrients, which is dangerous to health. But we cannot throw away the baby with the bath water. In Nigeria, it is established that there is a problem with micronutrient deficiency. This is not a regular vitamin. It is based on minerals largely. We are basically filling the gap of micronutrient deficiency.”

Ojimakin said Cestra formulas which come in different variants, are developed with the intelligent nutrition system, which is a set of systematic standard and benchmark for nutritional supplements, to provide the needed day-to-day nutrients for general wellbeing and healthy living.

More worrisome is a recent report by United Nations Education Fund (UNICEF) which reveals that Northern Nigeria is at risk of Sahelian crises, following increasing incidents of severe acute malnutrition of the Sahel region. Health experts believe the use of micro-nutrient supplements such as Vitamin A and zinc supplements, iodised salt should be encouraged.

Fidson Healthcare Plc as at Monday 18th February 2013 on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at N1.70 with market capitalisation put at N2,550,000. Current Price-Earnings (P/E) ratio in the last twelve months stood at 8.1664 with a 30-Day Average Volume of 6,102,160 shares.

With last dividend made to shareholders on 3rd February 2011, next earnings announcement is expected on 23rd April 2013. The company develops and manufactures a wide range of pharmaceutical products such as anti-infective, anti-arthritis, endocrinology, gastro-intestine, anti-retroviral, cardiovascular, pain relievers and consumer goods.