Wednesday, 27 January 2016

PSN hail set-up of more diagnostic centres, special committee

…Says, FG, Minister on track to eradicate disease

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has commended the government over the outcome of the Tuesdays   emergency meeting of the National Council on Health(NCH) in Abuja, which include the establiment of additional eight Lassa fever diagnostic centres in the country within the next three months, among other measures to eradicate the disease.

According to PSN, the outlined measures of NCH deliberations as contained in the communique is indicative of   the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) under the supervision of the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac F. Adewole and his team from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to eradicate Lassa Fever in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, jointly signed by the newly elected president of the association, Ahmed Yakasai and   Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, National Secretary, PSN, which was made available to Newswatch Times, the duo lauded the strategies employed by Prof. Adewole in combating the disease since its outbreak, noting that it is indicative of the federal government’s commitment to urgently control it.

The federal government on Tuesday said that it will establish eight additional Lassa fever diagnostic centres across the country within the next three months.

Prof. Adewole, said the development is to make diagnosis and treatment of the virus closer to the people, and dismissed the popular belief, that the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua Edo State is the only diagnostic centre for Lassa fever in the country.

According to him, there are actually five others and they include Lagos State University Teaching Hospital(LUTH), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital(AKTH).

He however said the government will establish additional centres in Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, Ondo, Ebonyi and the FCT to make it a total of 14 centres in the country.

The minister said it was also not acceptable for people to travel for so many hours in bad vehicles and bad roads from different parts of the country to Irrua in Edo State just to access treatment, saying people can now access treatment in many hospitals in the country.

The PSN statement praising the NCH new initiative said: “The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, on behalf of the PSN wish to commend the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac F. Adewole and his team at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Centre for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) for the steps taken so far to combat and arrest the current Lassa Fever Epidemic in Nigeria.

It added: “The strategies put in place by the Minister since the outbreak till now gives clear evidence of the Federal Government’s commitment to urgently control the outbreak. Indeed, it is safe to say that he has set the stage for the Lassa Fever total War.”

The PSN boss who is also former Commissioner for Commerce, specifically hailed the efforts of the Minister in summoning an emergency National Council on Health (NCH) meeting on Tuesday and the choice of the theme of the gathering which was: “Institutionalising Sustainable Mechanism for Control of Lassa Fever and Other Related Diseases.”

Yakasai insisted that the deliberations of the meeting and communique reached after it strongly shows the commitment to ‘Change’ as regards the government’s response to Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.

The statement said: “The emergency National Council on Health (NCH) with theme: “Institutionalising Sustainable Mechanism for Control of Lassa Fever and Other Related Diseases” called by the Federal Ministry of Health on January 19 gives impetus to the commitment of change as regards Nigeria’s response to Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.”

Other aspects of the agreements reached at the emergency meeting which the PSN said are noteworthy and commendable are the inauguration of Lassa Fever Eradication (LFE) committee; Minister’s commitment for provision of adequate funds for procurement of drugs for treating patients of Lassa Fever; integrated approach to mobilise stakeholders such as religious, traditional leaders and the media.

The statement read: “PSN is particularly impressed with the positive outcomes from the Emergency NCH which included: increase in number of Diagnostic Centres from six to 14; inauguration of Lassa Fever Eradication Committee; Minister’s commitment for provision of adequate funds for procurement of drugs for treating patients of Lassa Fever; integrated approach to mobilise stakeholders such as religious, traditional leaders and the media, among others.”

PSN therefore urged its pharmacists and other members of the healthcare team to support the Minister in the quest to win the current war against the Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.

The body of pharmacists further   extended its call to the State governors particularly, those ones whose States are on danger list to seriously collaborate with the government’s effort by embarking on public enlightenment in local languages, strengthening their surveillance systems and activating the response mechanisms.

The statement read: “It is on this premise that PSN calls on all Pharmacists and other members of the Healthcare team to join hands and support the Honourable Minister in the quest to win the current war against the Lassa Fever outbreak in Nigeria.

“This is in tandem with our slogan – “As Men of Honour We Join Hands”. The PSN also extends its call to the State Governors particularly those States on red alert to effectively cooperate with the Federal Government’s effort by starting public enlightenment in local languages, strengthening their surveillance systems and activating the response mechanisms.”

This story was published in Newswatch Times on January 23, 2016.

One out of three Nigerian couples have fertility problems – Dr. Taiwo

Dr. Orebamjo Taiwo is the Medical Director/CEO of Lifeshore Fertility Centre, a subsidiary of Parklande Specialist Hospital, Surulere, Lagos.  Taiwo who is also Consultant Gyneacologist/ Fertility Expert in an exclusive interview with NEWSWATCH TIMES disclosed that one in three that is 33 per cent couples in Nigeria, have fertility problems. In this interview, he recommended solutions to infertility challenges for men with low sperm count and likewise women with fibroid and blocked tubes.  The fertility expert further announced that his clinic provides fertility programmes for couples trying for conception for more than a year, including; Invitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine insemination (IUI), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) among others. The Head Obstetrician/ Gyneacologist, Reddington Hospital, revealed that his goal is to put smiles on the face of couples who are looking for children. CHIOMA UMEHA (HEALTH EDITOR) writes.

Dr. Orebamjo Taiwo
Infertility has been given several layman definitions, can you explain the term based on your professional perspective?

Infertility as a word is the inability for a couple to get pregnant, but, we do not label a couple infertile, until they have tried for pregnancy for at least one year and by trying, they must have intercourse for at least twice a week for a period of one year, before we can ascertain that such a couple has infertility problem. Most fertility centres do not consider a couple infertile until it is two years.

For instance, if you take a 100 couple who have no problem at all and give them a trial to get pregnant within one year, you will find out that 80 per cent of them would have gotten pregnant. By the time the same 100 couple tries for two years, an additional 10 per cent will get pregnant. Afterwards, only the remaining 10 per cent that could not get pregnant needs help.

What are the treatment options for infertility?

The treatment options are dependent on the cause. After one year trial, we start investigations on the couple. Usually, we advocate that a man should be investigated first, but it does not happen that way because of our environment. Usually, the man always feels there is nothing wrong with him.

Sometimes after test is carried out, it turns out that the man is the problem and reasons why they have not been able to bear children. At times, it is the sperm count of the man that is the issue. The woman is always willing to test if there are fibroid. In addition, we also check for hormone profile and if the tubes are in good shape. We also check if the woman is ovulating properly, then whether the couples are having regular sexual intercourse, because in some marriages, the man is hardly around, he comes to see his wife once a month, maybe due to the nature of his job.

For such couple, you may find out that they do not have any problem, but, rather separation. In such cases, we counsel them, but after trying all methods and it still did not work, we recommend In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF is another form of treatment we give to those who have tried to conceive and are not achieving success.

Which infertility treatment options are available in the country?

Apart from the fertility counseling and basic treatment, sometimes after counseling, we find out that there is hormonal imbalance, high prolactin level in the couple and after every treatment administered, pregnancy comes up. For instance, if a sperm test is carried out and it shows low sperm count or no sperm count, then other options like donor sperm is explored. If it is correctible, an urologist is contacted to check if something can be done on the testis to improve quality of sperm. If it is the tube that is blocked, then, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which is a process of fertilization that happens outside the woman’s body is done.

Under this method, a woman’s egg is surgically removed and fertilized in a laboratory using sperm that has been given as a sperm sample. Sometimes, when the sperm count of the man is very low and not useful for IVF, we consider Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), it is a specialized form of IVF that is used for the treatment of severe cases of male-factor infertility. We also have the traditional insemination called IUI which stands for Intrauterine insemination.

It is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization, the goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes, and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization, and then surrogacy which an individual is contacted to carry the baby for the couple. These are under legal guidance and consent given by either party. Also, we have the egg sharing or egg donor programme in which we get a younger woman to provide eggs for an older woman whom is easier to fertilize and increase the success rate.

Why did you choose to venture into infertility management?

The reason is because I found out that one out of three (33 per cent) couples have fertility problems. Over the years, I found out that these percentages are very high. A typical African man in our environment knows the importance of having children. It can be a very painful thing for a couple not to have a child. They would go to any length to achieve conception and sometimes they run to people who will do more harm than good to them. As a result of that, I decided to look for other means aside the regular gyneacology practices to be able to assist these couples and we have been doing that.

How old is the centre?

The centre was opened on December 26, 2014, but operation started January 11, 2015.

What missing link is the centre going to offer to the teeming couples with infertility issues?

In regular gynecology treatment for fertility which I have been offering for 14 years before starting Lifeshore Fertility centre, I found out in the past few years that it gets to a point when I cannot help the troubled couples anymore. So, I referred those who require IVF to IVF centres, where facilities are available for their treatment. Then, I asked myself; ‘Why I am referring my patients elsewhere when I can do all that? I gathered all resources together and replace the missing link and that is what we have today as the centre.

Can you share your success story, though the centre is barely a year?

We have had few success stories. Some of them are currently undergoing antenatal at the moment and have not delivered yet. By God’s grace, they will deliver their babies safely here.

What are your goals in terms of infertility treatment?

My goal is to be able to put smiles on the faces of couples who are looking for children. I am an African man and I understand the importance and value of children to couples. Children complete the family. I may have gone to the Western world to study, but I know couples here need to have children. Ultimately, it is God that makes it possible and not the hospital, but with his will, success is ours.

You mentioned earlier a situation where couples who stay apart find it difficult to bring forth offspring, what about a situation where at first meeting the woman gets pregnant, how can you describe that?

I will say it is an excellent situation. Putting everything in perspective, what we should realize is that in a month, every couple trying for a baby has a 30 per cent chance of getting pregnancy, which is the way God made it. God made it in such a way that the fertility among human beings – their reproductive system is not as efficient as lower animals.

This is because human beings have ability to reproduce all year round but, lower animals have what is called mating season. During those mating seasons, their chances of pregnancy is at the highest level, because it is only that time that pregnancy can be achieved. One thing we also need to understand is that the fertility of a woman reduces as her age advances.

A woman has the ability easily at the age of 20 to 25, will not have that ability to get pregnant at the age of 35. It does not mean she cannot get pregnant, but she may require some help before that can happen. All women are born with their eggs right at birth and if she is born with 2000 eggs, as her age increases, so is how old her eggs will be. If she is 30 years of age, her egg will be the same age and that is how it goes. A 30-year-old egg is easier to fertilize than a 40-year-old egg. That still does not mean that a woman at 50 cannot give birth.

In all the fertility options, which is the latest globally?

The latest is the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) but, there are now variations of ICSI. The ICSI process is taking one sperm and injecting it directly to an egg to achieve fertilization. In IVF, what you do is to isolate the egg and put it in the pathogens and surround it by sperm. Eventually, when the sperm penetrate the egg, it fertilizes it. In IVF, large quantity of sperm is required, while in ICSI, a small quantity of sperm can give rise to pregnancy.

There are other things that could happen, instead of waiting two or three days to transfer the sperm to the egg, you can wait longer to see the sperms that will not survive, and such sperm cannot be transferred. The ones that have waited until five or six days outside have a higher chance of continue survival inside. There is also sex selection; in the United Kingdom, it is not allowed to be carried out because it is believed to upset the balance of nature. There are other places offering such services like Switzerland and Czech Republic.

What do they mean by it ‘upsets the balance of nature’?

What it means is that, all living things that are put on earth, if you say they are from God or nature provides them, where you have a certain number of women, there will be a certain number of men for those women all over the world. Nature will always try and balance out. It is only human beings that always upset that balance.

After the Second World War, the ratio of women to men in United Kingdom was three to one, in Europe as a whole was five to one and that is because most of the men were killed in the war. 50 years on, it has balanced itself and without any genetic engineering. Where there are five men in a household, there are also five women in another household. A lot should be done to change the mindset of people in terms of the sex of their child. All children are gift from God, whether male or female.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on January 21, 2016.

Court remands fake Cough Syrup producer in prison

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, remanded a businessman, Kenneth Chibuko Chinwoke for allegedly producing fake codeine cough syrup in Prison custody following his arraignment by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

A statement signed by Anslem Okonkwor, Public Relations Unit, NAFDAC, said that the suspect was arraigned before Justice Jude kanyioh Dagat.

The prosecuting counsel, Umar Shamaki informed the court that the accused imported the fake product. The charge was read to him and he was asked to take his plea. But, the suspect pleaded not guilty.

The charge reads: “That you Kenneth Chibuko Chiokwe, male of No 5, Laniyo, Idi Oro Mushin Lagos, imported fake drug codeine cough syrup, thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(a) of the counterfeit and fake Drug and unwholesome processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Cap C34 LFN2004 and punishable under section 3(1)(a) of the same Act.”

Shamaki told the court that the accused committed the offence at Church street Idumota, Lagos state within the jurisdiction of the court.

Subsequently, the defence counsel, Chukwudi Nneke filed a bail application and urged the court to admit the accused to bail because the offence was a bailable one.

He stressed that the accused is having credible surety that can stand for him.

The prosecution did not oppose to the bail application but prayed the court to give him stringent conditions that will ensure that the accused stand his trial.

After listening to counsel on both sides, Justice Dagat admitted the accused to bail in the sum of one million naira and two sureties in like sum. He said one of the surety must be the relative of the accused and second one a landed property owner within the jurisdiction of the court with evident of three years tax clearance and that the prosecution will verify the conditions.

The judge therefore ordered his remand until his bail conditions were perfected and adjourned to April 5, 2016 for trial.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on January 21, 2016.

RB, group present ‘Save a Child a Minute’ N7.2b programme to VP

• Nigeria to receive N1.2b to create healthier country

RB, one of the leading consumer health and hygiene companies has proposed partnership with the federal government to fight diarrhoea which claims annually, the lives of nearly 100,000 of children under five years. The initiative is in the tune of about N7.2 billion, out of which Nigeria will access about N1.2 billion for “creating a Healthier and Prosperous nation.”

The RB West Africa and Global team members, along with ‘Save the Children’ representatives visited the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to share the proposal and discuss avenues of partnership with government to further the social and economic goals of the country.

Rahul Murgai, the Managing Director, RB West Africa shared the his company’s global vision which is to provide consumers with innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes.

He further said that RB has been operating in the country for over 50 years, noting that Nigeria remains one of the key priority markets for continued focus and investment.

Accordingly, RB has been working to create a culture of health and hygiene and is present in country with its portfolio of trusted brands like, Dettol, Nurofen, Strepsils, Gaviscon, Durex, Harpic, Mortein and Air Wick.

R –L: Vice President Osinbajo ; the Managing Director Reckitt Benckiser(RB) West Africa , Rahul Murgai;
the Chairman of RB, Chief Olu Falomo and Deputy Head , Political Section British High Commission,
Mr. Andrew Fleming during the presentation of the N7.2 billion programme, ‘Save a Child a Minute’
to the Vice-President by the top management team of RB and ‘Save the Children’
at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
He further stated that RB is not looking at Nigerian opportunity over a short term period, but, see a longer term potential in the country which he added will remain the epicenter for African growth and play an important strategic role in serving and developing other key markets in West Africa.

Murgai said: “With Dettol, a trusted name among Nigerian households, especially, mothers, we have been actively partnering with Ministry of Health, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) ‘Save the Children’ and other NGOs to create scaled awareness around good health and hygiene.

“As part of our ongoing commitment, we have already reached five million mothers and 3.9 million school children over the last six years to improve maternal health and reduced infant mortality in line with the nation’s commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals.

However, these interventions though in right direction, need greater participation and involvements from like-minded corporates, NGOs and government, to build a truly healthier and prosperous nation, he said.

The Water and Sanitation Programmes Research reports that Nigeria loses N455 billion annually, which is 1.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to poor sanitation and hygiene which increases the risk of disease and malnutrition, making it an urgent priority for all stakeholders and the society.

The impact is startling in human terms as the report further showed that ‘one child under the the age of five dies every minute’from preventable diseases, specifically diarrhoea.

The Managing Director said: “Accordingly, we are announcing the ground breaking ‘“Save a Child a Minute”’ programme in partnership with “Save the Children” and Lagos State government which is being piloted in Shomolu LGA where we are working to reduce prevalence and incidence of diarrhoea by 50 per cent and mortality by 80 per cent. What

“What makes the programme ground-breaking is that for the first time, a holistic approach on the World Health Organisation (WHO) seven-point plan is being implemented in Africa.”

The experiences are being shared with the federal government in anticipation of creating a national movement to fast-track the programme.

The RB delegation included- Rahul Murgai, Managing Director, RB West Africa; Andrew Fleming, Deputy Head of Political Section, British High Commissioner; Patty O’ Hayer, RB Global Head of External Communications & Affairs and Chief Olu Falomo, Chairman RB Nigeria.

Other delegates are: Oguzhan Silivrili, Marketing Director, RB West Africa; Alasdair Peach, Chief Financial Officer RB West Africa; Kwame S. Boate, Deputy Country Director, ‘Save the Children’ and Dr. David Olayemi, Director of Advocacy and Media, ‘Save the Children.’

This story was published in Newswatch Times on January 21, 2016.

New PSN boss pledges to establish Medicines Information Centre

• Rolls out 23-point agenda for improved healthcare

Adverse drug events occur frequently and lead to a significant number of fatalities each yearly across the world, Nigeria inclusive. For instance, it has been estimated that fatalities directly attributable to adverse drug reactions are the fourth to sixth leading cause of death in US hospitals, exceeding deaths caused by pneumonia and diabetes. The economic burden resulting from drug-related morbidity and mortality is equally significant and has been conservatively estimated at $US30 billion dollars annually, and could exceed $US130 billion in a worst-case scenario.

In view of this, the new National President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, yesterday announced that PSN has commenced a project to reduce adverse drug events and medication related errors, reducing prescription, dosage and duplicate therapy errors in the country.

Yakasai, who said this while rolling out his 23-point agenda as the new PSN boss for the next three years, during maiden media briefing at the Pharmacy House, Lagos stated that he will achieve this goal by establishing a Medicines Information Centre in collaboration with UK Medicines Information Service, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and Monitor Health Care.

Yakasai, who is the 20th President of PSN, also explained that the goal of the collaboration with the various agencies is to discover ways of addressing adverse drug events and medication related errors, reducing prescription, dosage and duplicate therapy errors. He stated that the project has since commenced and will officially soon be unveiled.

The PSN helmsman said one way of achieving this is “To establish a Medicines Information Centre in collaboration with UK Medicines Information Service, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and Monitor Health Care.

L-R: Hon. Pharm. John Enger, FPSN, KSM, FICEN Deputy President North; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, FPSN,FPCPharm; Immediate past President; Pharm. Ahmed. I. Yakasai, FPSN, FNIM, FNAPharm, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, MAW National Secretary at a maiden press conference of the new president at the the pharmarcy house in Lagos, yesterday.
“This is with the aim of finding ways of helping to reduce adverse drug events and medication related errors, reducing prescription, dosage and duplicate therapy errors, providing standard terminology and improved data entry, helping improve organizational efficiency, providing access to continually updated, evidenced-based clinical content and enhancing patient safety. The work on this project has commenced and soon we will invite the media for the official launch of this idea.

According to the The Lancet adverse drug reaction is defined as “an appreciably harmful or unpleasant reaction, resulting from an intervention related to the use of a medicinal product, which predicts hazard from future administration and warrants prevention or specific treatment, or alteration of the dosage regimen, or withdrawal of the product.”

Yakasai also said that strengthening the pharmaceutical society with collaborative, participatory, responsive and transparent leadership is critical in his agenda, adding his regime will ensure actualization of Pharm. D. programme as a minimum entry requirement for the practice of pharmacy in the country.

Other highlights of his agenda are the implementation of National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) and National Health Act 2014; Promotion and support of Drug Research and Development.

He also said that PSN will create an online system for professional registration and e-learning for the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) which is designed to update the knowledge of pharmacists and enable them keep abreast of advancements in pharmaceutical development and modern trends in pharmacy.

Still outlining his agenda, Yakasai said that PSN will “Establish research grants to undertake research and independent assessment of drug quality, MCPD needs of pharmacists, etc. in collaboration with academia; Initiate professional indemnity insurance to pharmacists and strengthen group insurance.”

According to him, he aims at promoting rational use of drugs with cooperation from medical fraternity, establish research grants to undertake research and independent assessment of drug quality, MCPD needs of pharmacists in collaboration with academia.

This is just as he pledged to pursue vigorously the welfare of health workers in the country; establish Friends of Pharmacy Forum to strengthen bonds with external bodies and bring about digital innovations to enhance the efficiency of our practice in-line with international standards.

Yakasai said though Lassa fever is not as deadly as the Ebola Virus Disease, adding that Nigerians need re-orientation to fight the disease as death toll reaches 50.

To this effect, he declared that part of his agenda will be directed to stimulating public awareness and knowledge on various health, hygiene, sanitation issues and diseases with specific emphasis on drugs.

The PSN President further told journalists that he is set to enhance the role of the association by means of wider advocacy at various national and international fora in order to achieve effective health care in the country.

Similarly, the PSN boss said he is aiming at contributing to improved health care by fostering better communications with Federal and State Ministries, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA); National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)Schools of Pharmacy, among others.

Other strategies of contributing to improved health care in the country are by strengthening ties and relationship with other professional organizations/agencies.

Yakasai however said that there is need to review pharmacy laws and regulation in collaboration with relevant arms of government in tandem with global best practices, noting that he seeks to strengthen institutional framework including; structure, systems and processes of the society.

He added that he will work towards the implementation of National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), Promote, support Drug Research and Development.

He further said that PSN under his regime will establish a mechanism for recognizing and endorsing valuable contributions of members (past, present and future) adding that he will encourage, give more opportunities as well as build capacities of young pharmacists and students of pharmacy.

Commending previous annual national conferences of PSN, the National President promised to creatively organise future conferences that will meet international standards.

On appraisal in the health sector, Yakasai said though the sector has achieved giant strides especially the ability to curtail and prevent fresh cases of Ebola Virus Disease.

Another huge achievement was the resolve of government and care providers to prevent new episodes of the wild polio virus infection which had hitherto given Nigeria notoriety as one of the major exporters of this killer childhood disease, the National President said.

However, he warned that Nigeria can only be completely delisted from the endemic countries if surveillance and immunization is sustained, while the Federal and State governments continue to meet the financial commitments to sustain the momentum.

Yakasai said: “On the positive side was the resolve of government and care providers to prevent new episodes of the wild polio virus infection which had hitherto given Nigeria notoriety as one of the major exporters of this killer childhood disease. However, for Nigeria to be completely delisted from the endemic countries we must sustain the surveillance and immunization so that by 2017 we can be certified free of polio. This eradication of polio can only be possible if the Federal and State governments continue to meet the financial commitments to sustain the momentum.”

He hopes for the full implementation of the National Health Act, adding that if implemented will discourage medical tourism even as he said that Nigeria loses over one billion naira annually from medical tourism.

His words: “Nigeria’s first National Health Act was passed into law in 2014, but nothing serious has happened in terms of operating the basic tenets of the enabling Act. This Act, if implemented will be funded from one percent of Nigeria’s consolidated revenue and grants by International donor partners through the National Health Care Development Agency which will manage 45 per cent of the fund as follows: Essential Drugs and Vaccines, 20 per cent; laboratory equipment and transport, 15 per cent and human resources, 10 per cent.

“While the National Health Insurance Scheme which will manage 50 per cent of the fund will cover pregnant women, children who are less than five years; the elderly from 65 years and physically challenged persons. The Federal Ministry of Health will manage five per cent of the fund for the provision of basic minimum package of health facilities (Emergencies),” he added.

According to him, the country’s health sector is still battling with poor access to public health interventions, while diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis are still present, stressing the need for advocacy and review the Nigeria dependence o donor agencies hence the need for enabling environment for intervention funds to aid local manufacturers produce anti-retroviral drugs and vaccines.

He said: “The country’s health sector is still battling with poor access to public health interventions, while diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, etc are still with us. Here, I need to advocate that there is a need to review our dependence on donor agencies, hence the government should strongly create enabling environment by way of intervention funds to enable our local drug manufacturers to produce antiretroviral drugs and even Vaccines.

As we are all aware Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Initiatives is gradually withdrawing from Nigeria. I must appreciate the Federal government through the National Health Care Development Agency for organizing Stakeholders forum on Vaccines production to stimulate interest and develop a business plan for local vaccines production in Nigeria.

“As we march on in 2016, the Federal Government must embrace universal health coverage to give teeth to global norms which presume that access to health must be the right of all citizens. The fastest way to achieving this is to embrace primary healthcare which places a premium on preventive care.

“The Federal Ministry of Health must promote a true Public Private Partnership agenda which is fashioned out in conjunction with the relevant regulatory agencies and professional bodies with regards to the health professions,” the National President admonished.

He also assured that there will be greater engagement with the public through educative and enlightening special promotion campaigns, examples are; Diabetes, hypertension among other diseases.

He however, thanked all Nigerian Pharmacists for electing him and also the privilege of becoming the 20th President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on January 14, 2016.

Blog Archive