•Urges Sustained Dialogue To Avert Industrial Actions
As the 89th National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) holds from November 7 to November 12 in Minna, Niger State, the Society has promised to use the gathering to exploit areas of huge manpower development for Nigeria in order to attain self sufficiency and economic growth.
Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, president of PSN said this while granting interview to journalists recently, ahead of the conference, just as he promised that a “new positive force” will emerge at the end of the annual event.
According Yakasai , the conference with a theme, ‘Pharmaceutical Industry Contributions to National Development’ will bring together pharmacists and other scientists across the country and even beyond.
The PSN boss stressed: “Our nation needs to develop an efficient manpower base in the quest for self-sufficiency and economic growth.
“(So), this unique conference will, therefore, exploit avenues for these much-sought-after maxims as it concerns the pharmaceutical sector of the economy.”
Speaking further, Yakasai said that the present leadership of PSN has pledged its unalloyed commitment to maintaining the existing balance in the health sector, vowing never to disrupt the equilibrium in the PSN.
He insisted that they are not prepared to cause imbalance in the pharmaceutical body as witnessed before.
This is even as Yakasai urged the Federal Government to ensure befitting and lawful appointments in the pharmaceutical sector in order to boost the health of Nigerians.
The PSN President said: “Our first priority is to ensure lawful appointments on all pharmaceutical platforms, because we certainly do not pray for the type of disruption in equilibrium we experienced at Pharmacists Council of Nigeria when representatives of PSN were compromised due to a distasteful manipulation by an interested party.
“We had similar scenario at National Agency for Food, Drugs and Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which degenerated to a court action in another dispensation.
“I therefore appeal to the Federal Government to give us lawful and befitting appointments in the pharmaceutical sector in the days and months ahead,” he added.
Speaking further, the experienced pharmacist harped on the imperative of regular and sustained negotiations with health workers in order to avert industrial actions.
He said that PSN encourages a sustained intervention of government to issues bordering on the welfare of health workers as formally championed by Barrister Ocholi, the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity.
Yakasai, while admitted that industrial action should be the last option for health workers and other sectors with one demand or the other.
He however, appealed to the Federal Government to always demonstrate understanding of the health workers condition in their fight for better reward.
He said: “We call on all the appendages of government including the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Head of Service of the Federation, Budget Office, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and all others involved in negotiations with JOHESU/AHPA not to allow a breakdown in negotiations.
“Everything humanly possible must be done to avert another strike of health workers, which can only hurt our economy as well as inflict morbidity on the generality of our people.
“We wish to appeal to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to give immediate attention to the clamours of health workers including pharmacists to redress some pressing welfare demands.”
According to the PSN boss, the demands include: “Immediate release of the circular on adjustment of the CONHESS scale by the Salaries and Wages Commission, full payment of balance of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10, which remains outstanding since 2010 in some Federal Health Institutions, proper implementation of the circular which prescribes sanctions on defaulting and increase in the retirement age of health workers from 60 to 65 years, among others.”
Meanwhile, the PSN President said that effecting a review on the National Health Policy is overdue, stating that society welcomes the idea of tinkering with the policy.
He said that such review is timely and very much welcomed in order to promote the health of Nigerians and also enhance the nation’s socio-economic development.
“The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria welcomes the idea of a reviewed National Health Policy 2016 (NHP) which is certainly overdue.
“In tandem with the philosophy of the document and a dire need to promote the health of Nigerians to accelerate socio-economic development of the nation, a holistic approach and attitude needs to be brought to bear on the totality of endeavours with regards to the health policy,” Yakasai noted.
He mentioned areas of focus for such to include, Human Resources for Health (HRH) at Primary Care Level, use of medicines and vaccines at Primary Care Level, Public Private Partnerships (PPP) at Primary Health Level and Human Resources for Health.
He said further urged the Federal Government to embrace all cadres of health experts and workers into the health system.
“The Federal Ministry of Health must see a compelling need to embrace new thinking and a fresh attitude by inculcating all cadres of health professionals and workers into the health system.”