Tuesday, 3 February 2015

PSN holds 86th National Conference - •Urges Presidential health committee to ensure fairness

By: Chioma Umeha

In less than 48 hours, all roads will lead to the Kwara State Government Banquet Hall, Kwara State where the much expected 86th annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) – ‘Harmony’ 2013 will take place. The conference with the theme: ‘Evolving Best Practice in Patient Care” will be declared open by Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, Governor of Kwara State, while the opening ceremony will be chaired by Justice Mustapha Akanbi (Rtd.), a former President of Court of Appeal and Former Chairman ICPC the next day. 

Addressing journalists in his Pharmacy House office, Maryland Lagos, the PSN National President, Olumide Akintayo noted that this year’s conference will come with innovation in I.T and re-introduction of a scientific dimension which will feature poster presentations. Also on the cards will be the maiden Past President’s nite, an important forum designed to honour past leaders and legends of the pharmacy profession in Nigeria. Other highlights are the gala-nite, town-hall meeting, reception cocktails and unlimited social rendezvous. The Annual General Meeting and elections will hold on Thursday, November 7, while a banquet will bring all activities to a climax on the same day. Concerned about the lingering disharmony and attendant crisis in the health sector, Akintayo urged the Yayale Ahmed-led Presidential Committee on Inter-Professional Relationships in the Public Health Sector to embrace principles of equity, justice and fair-play as a means of ending protracted crisis in the sector. 

 He commended President Goodluck Jonathan, for the inauguration of the committee and the calibre of its members, observing that this has renewed their confidence in government’s commitment to revamp the sector. Akintayo, said the committee was most timely, especially at a time when the health sector is enmeshed in all manner of challenges, several of which are not unconnected with disharmony among health workers. However, he stressed that the committee must “for once” discharge its duty in line with international best practices. He said the pharmacists were not unaware of the President’s interest in restoring harmony in the health sector and this must have led to setting up of a presidential committee inaugurated by Jonathan to re-evaluate the Gusau committee report, which was allegedly jeopardised “by the manoeuvre of the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health to suit interest of a particular profession.” Akintayo said: “We note the calibre of persons appointed on the committee and urge them to embrace the principles of equity, justice and fair-play in conducting the noble exercise.” 

The committee, headed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, has Prof. Placid Njoku, Dr. Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and Prof. Dennis Agbohlahor as members. The committee is charged with re-addressing contentious issues on non-skipping of COHHESS 10 in line with the judgment of the National Industrial Court; modalities for the payment of consultancy and specialists allowance for healthcare professionals in the health sector; pay relativity as reflected in the 2008 job evaluation report and review of retirement age for health workers from 60 to 65 years, among others. The PSN, according to their president, called on the committee, which they hope would establish “a new foundation for a health sector presently in disarray”, to embrace international best practices in the management of public health workers. Akintayo said: “Fundamental is the reality today that even the World Health Organisation (WHO) affirms that modern healthcare is too complex to be left to any one profession in the health sector. 

The Yayale-Ahmed committee must facilitate strategies and policies in the workplace that strengthen and support the health workforce and in turn, have positive impact on patient outcomes and organisational cost effectiveness.” Also, the National President lauded the Federal Government’s reconstitution of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), which has been non-existent since 2007.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on November 2,  2013.

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