By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–CHAIRMAN of Governing Council of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria,PCN,Prof. Ahmed Mora,has made a case for community pharmacies, saying it was time for them to be accorded the status of private primary healthcare,PHC facility providers in Nigeria.
This came as he said,”Government should keep faith with implementation of the national policies, strategies and plans of action to sustain primary
health care as part of a comprehensive national health system and
in coordination with other sectors.”
“To this end, it will be necessary to exercise political will to mobilize the country’s resources and to use available external resources rationally,”he said.
Mora insisted that community pharmacies in Nigeria should be made to implement the totality of the components of primary health care services in public Primary Health Centres at the private level,as according to him, “there is none designated as such presently.”
His positions were contained in a paper titled,”Driving Primary Health Care for Quality Service Delivery in the Precarious Times”,which he delivered at the 2nd Convocation Ceremony of Ogun State College of Health Technology,Ilese-Ijebu,last Wednesday.
“Community pharmacies should be accorded the status of Private Primary Healthcare (PHC) facility providers in Nigeria.The Community Pharmacies in Nigeria should implement the totality of the components of Primary Health Care services in public Primary Health Centres at the private level as there is none designated as such presently.
“There is need for the NPHCDA to identify other facilities that should be
designated as primary healthcare facility providers in the private sector, and this is not too difficult to identify.
“The Community Pharmacy, even from the name is the most appropriate private healthcare facility to be accorded this recognition.
“Already,the NPHCDA has identified the community pharmacies as centres for
the administration of the nCovid-19 vaccine, in Nigeria and there
is no reason why the other PHC services cannot be accorded official recognition to be provided by the community pharmacies in Nigeria,”he said.
He noted that,”Primary healthcare is essential healthcare based on practical,
scientifically-sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self determination.”
“It is the first level of contact of individuals, family and community with the national health system bringing healthcare as close as possible to where people live and work, and constitutes the first element of a continuing healthcare process,”he said.
Noting that “Nigeria has not less than 30,000 PHCs scattered in 774 LGCs in the country”,Mora explained that,”The essence of the primary health care within the National Health Policy is in its being the starting point for referral.”
Mora, who said,”At least one General hospital is required in each of the 774 local government councils to effectively serve as referral centers for cases from the primary health care centres”, also added:”Under ideal conditions, primary health care services that are ordinarily accessible at primary health care
centres should handle 70% of all health needs, including basic medicine, health education, health promotion, various targeted health interventions,etc.”
“The Federal Government makes its presence within the National Health Policy by way of a Teaching Hospital or Federal Medical Centre (FMC) as the
tertiary health institution in each state of the federation.
“For the primary healthcare to be well situated within the healthcare system, it must:reflect and evolve from the economic conditions and sociocultural and political characteristics of the country and its communities,”he said.
Mora said this must be “based on the application of the relevant results of social, biomedical and health services research and public health experience;address the main health problems in the community, providing
promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services accordingly.”
Noting that,” There is a need for increased funding to the health
sector, particularly at the primary level of care”,Mora list ways of improving the future of primary health care delivery system in the country.
This, according to him,are:”Improving standard of living and quality of life of people beyond the current poverty level, improving housing condition, provision of clean water supply, environmental sanitation, and food supply,;provision of intensive and effective health education of the public to eliminate diseases such as malaria, typhoid,and other infectious diseases and good leadership, political will and stability is needed to provide enabling environment for the implementation of the PHC programmes.”
Others,he said,were enhanced supervision, monitoring and evaluation of health programmes with adequate manpower and facilities;need for given priorities to the training and retaining of more health workers in the rural areas;community engagement and stakeholders to jointly identify problem and prioritise solutions;ensuring the delivery of high quality and safe health
care services;provision of physical infrastructure and appropriate
medicines, products and technologies and use of modern health information and communication technology (ICT) in ways that improve effectiveness
and efficiency and promote accountability.”