NIGERIAN PHARMACISTS under the aegis of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have been lamenting the worsening situation in the healthcare sector cautioning federal government on its imminent breakdown.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of its 89th Annual National Conference themed: ‘Pharmaceutical Industry Contribution to National Development’, President of the Society, Ahmed Yakasai noted that the continued depreciation of local currency is gradually grounding the sector to a halt “unless government takes urgent steps to address the situation”.
According to Yakasai, “a situation where drug manufacturers have exhausted raw materials for production, have to source for forex even at between 28 percent to 30 percent interest rate, have had to cut capacity utilisation of their machines from 35 percent to 22 percent and companies paying staff salaries without commensurable output, wherein some have totally shut down are all indications that healthcare sector is gradually collapsing”.
The Pharmacists’ leader also observed that if the current trend is allowed to continue, the nation’s security is gradually being compromised.
Said he: “Talking about security of a nation as ours, food and medicines are largely and highly connected to security. That is why we (Pharmacists) are saying the Pharmaceutical sector has suffered setback”.
According to him, “After all the healthcare by a doctor or nurse to a patient, if we do not have quality drugs to give the sick patient, then, the healthcare system has collapsed”, he warned.
The Pharmacists are also calling on federal government to resist past mistakes and errors in dissolving health boards whenever boards of parastatals are disbanded.
The President noted, “We hasten to remind federal government that Section 1 of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) Act provides for perpetual succession which ordinarily should exclude the PCN from recurrent dissolution alongside other boards of parastatals”.
He pointed out that the current dissolution of the Pharmacy Board, “has stalled disciplinary procedures, accreditation of Faculty of Pharmacy for training Pharmacists, Schools of Technology for training Pharmacy Technicians and other support personnel in the Pharmacy work force”.
The PSN therefore called on government to immediately appoint a chairman for the PCN as well as make qualified appointment from among suggested names it has sent to it for the position of the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The 89the ANC of the Society is billed to hold in Minna, Niger State and is expected to witness the decoration f the first set of Honorary members of the Society notably, Messrs Femi Soremekun (MD Biofem Pharmaceuticals), Fidelis Ayabae (MD/CEO Fidson Healthcare) and Dr Anthony Chukwuka Obiora (Chairman, Greenlife Pharmaceuticals)
During the ANC, the PSN will donate to the federal government a consignment of drugs for distribution in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps located in the Northeast of Nigeria.
“It is part of our corporate social responsibility to our citizens who are unfortunate to be refugees in their our country; and we understand that their drug needs are mostly for malaria, diarrhoea, cough, analgesics, multivitamins and antibiotics”, observed Yakasai.