The Potential of the m-Health Platform to Safeguard Public Health: The Nigerian Example

Allen Nnanwuba Adum, Ogochukwu Ekwenchi, Ojinime Ebelechukwu Ojiakor, Gloria Nwakego Chukwuemeka


Nigeria has a problem with fake drugs. This issue got to an intolerable height in 1989 when over 150 children died as a result of ingesting paracetamol syrup containing diethylene glycol. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was formed in 1993, as an agency under the Nigerian federal ministry of health, to check the tide of fake drugs and adulterated products. To achieve this mission, NAFDAC, in 2010, launched the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) – a mobile-phone m-Health platform, which empowers medication drug users to instantaneously verify the authenticity or otherwise of a medication drug before purchase. This study sought to ascertain the workability of MAS among medication drug users; and factors negating this platform. The study was designed as a survey. Data was collected from 400 medication drug users in Lagos state, Nigeria, through a structured survey.  Results show that 91 percent of the respondents were aware of MAS and 53 percent among these utilized it prior to purchasing medication drugs, while 9 percent were neither aware of MAS nor utilize it. The notable barriers to the use of MAS found in this study were lack of awareness and the unreliable nature of the MAS.

Keywords: Mobile Authentication Service, Public Health Informatics, Fake drugs, m-Health.

DOI: 10.7176/NMMC/79-07

Publication date: April 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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