By Chioma Obinna

 Pharmacists in Lagos have called on the Federal Government to reorganise the primary healthcare centre services to include pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists and other health workers for improved healthcare at all levels even as they urged the Federal government to encourage all State and Local Government Areas to institute the Consultant Cadre for their members and every eligible health worker across the board to meet global standards.

Making these calls in its address at the Annual General Meeting of the PSN Lagos State, the Chairman, Gbolagade Iyiola, Lagos State PSN Chapter said: “The major tiers recognised in our ailing Health System are the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. The Primary Health Care Sector is the major fulcrum to unlock the potentials of providers because over 70 per cent of challenges in most Health Systems are dealt with at this level.”

Based on the Lagos PSN’s evaluation, he said Nigeria’s health system which is rated as 187th out of 191 health systems can be improved on by holistic involvement of all healthcare workers at the PHC level.

Iyiola said: “This will be actualised through an all-inclusive package that brings the non-Physician health workforce to the centre-stage of well-coordinated health services rather than continuing the age-long policy of entrenching borders of restriction in our Health System.

“The way forward is that the Government must involve Pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists and other Health workers in Primary Healthcare Services in Nigeria,” he concluded.

Iyiola further lamented the non-implementation of the Consultant cadre for pharmacists across the country contrary to what was obtained in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

The PSN Chairman specifically urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently lift the suspended consultant cadre for pharmacists in the employment of the State.

Iyiola condemned the delay in the implementation of the Consultant cadre for pharmacists in the employment of the State after it was approved in 2018 under Gov. Akinwumi Ambode’s administration.

 “The non-recognition of the Consultant Pharmacist cadre which was suspended after prior approval by the LASG under the Ambode-led administration in 2018.

“Formal creation of the Directorate Cadre for graduates in Medical Laboratory Science as obtainable in comparative States,” Iyiola added.

“We particularly call on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to without further delay and conditional-ties inspire a lift of the unfortunate suspension imposed on the Consultant cadre for Pharmacists in the employment of Lagos State Government in 2018 by former Gov. Akinwumi Ambode.

“The PSN (Lagos) will advance reasons why the LASG must as a matter of urgency commence the unconditional implementation of the Consultant Cadre in Pharmacy practice in LASG.

“The approval for the Consultant Cadre in Pharmacy was granted by the National Council of Establishment in 2011 based on the Fellowship programme of the West African Post-Graduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP).”

The society further alleged that physicians under the aegis of NMA used members to cause several hiccups which held back the approval for nine years without the release of the circular for the scheme of service of the Fellowship programme of the WAPCP.

He complained about the setback in the implementation of WAPCP which is not applicable to similar Fellowship programmes doctors. These include Doctors in the West African College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, West African College of Surgeons and other related sister colleges in Medical practice.

Iyiola: said: “Healthcare is not an indigenous practice novel to Nigeria and its many under-achieving propensities. Healthcare cannot be driven by the egocentric proclivities of Nigerian Physicians, but by global best practices.

He alleged that the government pays for the residency training of physicians in the various specialist programmes, while pharmacists in specialist training at the WAPCP in the minimum five-year duration of the training pay for themselves a cost of over N4 million per student.

He said, “Since 2011, the National Council on Establishment (NCE) approved the Consultant Pharmacist cadre but the antics of the many Physician bureaucrats insensitive segments of the Federal and State Public Service completely frustrated the circularisation of the NCE approval until nine years later in 2020.

The society further decried non-implementation of circular for residency training by the Boards of Management and CEOs of the FHIs. Lamenting, Iyiola said, “As far back as 2015, past leaderships of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) facilitated the approval by Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) of a circular for residency training of Pharmacists in the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) which was negated by respective Boards of Management and CEOs of the FHIs.

Iyiola further explained that the circularisation of the Consultant Pharmacist cadre is in tandem with international best practices across the globe from the U.K, U.S.A, France, and Australia to African countries including Ghana, Sierra-Leone, Egypt and South Africa.

He said the Lagos PSN was committed to the age-long belief that the patient remains the focus in the value-chain of Healthcare delivery.

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