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PCN brainstorms on measures to tackle COVID-19

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Project Safeup provides 2.5m free PPE to Nigerians

As Nigeria fears resurgence of pandemic

By Joseph Erunke

AMID fears of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the country, the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria has begun measures aimed at boosting the immunities of citizens against the pandemic.
To this, a meeting convened at the instance of the council has fashioned out possible preparations for ending the pandemic through the production of hand sanitizers and some pharmaceutical properties.
Chairman of PCN Governing Council, Prof. Ahmed Mora, who disclosed this at a media briefing, in Abuja, after the council’s 41st regular meeting, said necessary faculties had been encouraged to produce hand sanitizers and other properties like ascorbic acid, Vitamin D, “so that these will be made available to Nigerians to boost their immunity against the pandemic.”
Mora, who disclosed that some far-reaching measures aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic were extensively handled at the meeting, said:” We had actually during the inaugural meeting of the council, encouraged the faculties to produce hand sanitizers and others like ascorbic acid, vitamin D, so that this will be made available to Nigerians and will help to boost their immunity against the pandemic and quite a number of the deans in the faculties have actually progressed in that direction.”

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He, however, added that the faculties tasked with the production of COVID-19 immune-boosting properties had reached back to the council with challenges, assuring that the PCN leadership was considering them.
Hear him: “We received reports from various faculties and we now encourage them to fill in forms to indicate what products they have and their challenges which the registrar will now take up with the sister agency and see how we can address those challenges as soon as possible.”
Prof. Mora, commenting on difficulties being faced by pharmacy graduates for internship programs, explained that the development was due to inadequate places for them to do their mandatory one-year training.
“This is a huge problem for us. These youths, sometimes get frustrated. Two months to three months after induction, they don’t have places to do their internship,” he lamented.
“We produce many pharmacists every year so we look at it in such a way that we have a holistic approach to it. We are liaising with agencies to see that this whole issue is centralised in such a way that pharmacists, by the time they are being inducted, as pharmacists, already know where they are going for their internship training. We are really passionate about it,” he said.
Noting that there were 380 internship centres in the country, mostly in the general hospitals, teaching hospitals, and also in the manufacturing sector, he said: “Now, without data, we will not be able to plan, so we need the directors of pharmaceutical services in the state and FCT and the deans of faculties to give us their own vacancies and graduates  that they have.”
Mora, while regretting that some pharmacists have deviated from the norm and the code of conduct of the pharmacy profession, said: “about 19 to 12 of them were actually invited to the investigative panel set up by PCN, adding that the committee was able to adjudicate with some of them referred to the disciplinary tribunal for further disciplinary action.”
Mora, who said the council had established the Information and Communication Technology, ICT department under the Registrar’s office, principally for monitoring of the distribution of drugs all over the country, explained that “we are trying to computerize the entire drug distribution system in this country.”
“We have visited the Head of Services, we made a request and the formality towards us getting the place on the ground is in place, so we are on it, it’s a big project,” he said.
When completed, he said the unit would assist in the monitoring of pharmaceutical products from manufacturers to wholesalers to the retailer.
“This is what is obtained in other parts of the world.  PCN is responsible for the licensing of pharmaceutical premises, we have to know how these pharmaceutical products are,how they move so that in case of bad formulation, they can be recalled easily,” he stated.

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