PSN Says It Must Be One Registered Pharmacist In Each LGA | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PSN Says It Must Be One Registered Pharmacist In Each LGA

Posted: Jul 17, 2016 at 4:53 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Confirms Approval Of Pharm D Programme By NUC

The need for Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in production of essential drugs, non-implementation of the provisions of the National Health Act 2014, not too effective application of the new Drug Distribution Guidelines, planned review of the National Health Policy 2016 (NHP)  have been in the front burner of national debate. In a chat with journalists, President and Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai, endorsed the idea of a reviewed NHP; a national health system with at least one registered pharmacist in charge of the pharmacy facilities in the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and make essential medicines, vaccines, and consumables available at the primary healthcare facilities among other issues. The Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAP) condemning professional rivalries and pecuniary interests which promote exemption of pharmacists in medicine procurement practices canvassed for a properly structured policy document to address it.  He also confirmed the approval of the Pharm D programme by the National Universities Commission (NUC), which will see pharmacy students’ bag doctorate degrees in Pharmacy. CHIOMA UMEHA, HEALTH EDITOR was there. Excerpts:

It seems that the Federal Ministry of Health is working on a new National Health Policy? How does PSN see the move?
The review of the National Health Policy (NHP) 2016 is timely, so the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) welcomes the idea.
However, a holistic approach is critical to actualisation of a health policy in line with the philosophy of the document to promote the health of Nigerians and accelerate socio-economic development. This approach can be classified under the three groups, including:  Human Resources for Health (HRH) at primary care level and use of medicines and vaccines at primary care level.
The third one is adoption of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) at primary health level.

Human resources for health
Safe use of medicines is important as drugs may become poisonous if improperly handled.
Therefore, there is need for government to redress the perennial challenge of poor human resource management in the sector by employing appropriate personnel for central coordination in the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) levels to ensure safe use of medicines.
Pharmaceutical services will also be boosted at primary care level as the provision of Section 11(3) (b) now guarantees commitment of 20 per cent of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) for procurement of essential drugs, vaccines and consumables for the primary healthcare facilities.
But, BHCPF can only be realistic if billions of naira is made available for drug and vaccine procurement. This will result to emerging challenges of good medicine management, drug quantification and task of reducing the out-of-stock syndrome which has traditionally made the primary care facilities unattractive to clients. This last point is fundamental to consumers of health.
At least one registered pharmacist should be in charge of pharmacy facilities in  each of the 774 LGAs based on the requirement for National Health system which provides the framework for standards and regulation of health services must include.
Based on the Poison and Pharmacy Act, PCN Act and existing National Drug Policies, pharmacists ensures proper medicine management and other tenets of Good pharmacy envisaged 10,000 primary care facilities all over the country, but can be achieved by providing support for personnel in pharmacy industry.

Use of medicines and vaccines in primary care facilities
The reforms on use of medicines and vaccines in primary care facilities as envisioned in the draft National Health Policy 2016 must be total, involving all stakeholders. To make essential medicines, vaccines, and consumables available at the primary healthcare facilities, there is urgent need to promote rules of engagement with the pharmaceutical industry that is local manufacturers and reputable importers. Local manufacturers must be mobilised to produce customised generic packs in 1000’s or even 5000’s for solid dosage forms and huge volumes for liquid dosage forms proven to be stable in the aqueous phase. Since existing data shows that 65 per cent of clinical visitations are malaria-based, pharmaceutical manufacturers must produce Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) medicines in bulk packs in line with the National Malaria Policy.
The Federal Ministry of Health should be more serious with the drug procurement practices that previously sidelined the department of food and drug services with the enormous consequence of waste and loss of millions of naira each time medicine stocks got expired.
The unnecessary professional rivalries and pecuniary interests which promote  exemption of pharmacists in medicine procurement practices needs to be addressed through a properly structured policy document which the National Health Policy 2016 epitomises.

Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in Primary Care Facilities
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria advocates for the benefits of a well-worked out Public Private Partnerships (PPP) models. The private sector is traditionally recognised for being more efficient and sometimes competent in meeting organizational goals than the public facilities, even when the later has more available funds.
If Nigeria must overcome its disease burden, then it has to expand the scope of health services to include all healthcare professionals, especially in the private sector.
Community pharmacies which are classified as health facilities in the National Health Act 2014 should be given opportunity to render more services because of their proximity to the grassroots and global recognition as the first port of call for care seekers.
These services which can be rendered in pharmacy facilities include: antenatal clinic; drug counseling; immunization services; family planning techniques; diet/weight programmes among others.
The beauty of involving community pharmacies and other health workers in the private sector is that immunization services become routine rather than on designated days.  This will be more impactful to consumers of health.

Where do you stand in the various welfare agitations of health workers in Nigeria?
We wish to appeal to the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to give immediate attention to the clamours of health workers including pharmacists to redress some pressing welfare demands.
These demands include: Immediate release of the circular on adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS)  scale by the Salaries and Wages Commission; full payment of balance of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10 which remains outstanding since 2010 in some Federal Health Institutions, among other issues.

What is the latest with the Pharm D programme?
I wish to confirm that the Pharm D programme is now approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Recall that this programme had been canvassed since 1999 when the AGM of PSN approved it in Enugu.
Though  the immediate past president of PSN and NEC who worked assiduously on the Pharm D concept struck an agreement to hold the ‘Pharm D stakeholder’s workshop,’  the event turned out to be my first official assignment as President of PSN, last November.
Now that this is approved, I enjoin all the faculties of pharmacy to brace up for this challenge in the collective bid to improve our service to consumers of health.