Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Nigeria Can Become Africa’s Hub For Finished Drugs – Akintayo

Olumide Akintayo, the immediate past President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) recently, delivered the 2017 Marquis Annual Memorial Lecture at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, entitled, “Leadership and Excellence In Pharmacy Practice.” In this interview with CHIOMA UMEHA, he reviews pharmacy profession in Nigeria and advocates reforms that would engender effective leadership and excellent pharmacy practice. Excerpts:

Can you take a holistic look at the state of pharmacy practice in Nigeria; how would you rate it?
To declare that pharmacy practice in Nigeria sometimes thrives in an atmosphere of confusion is an understatement. Prevarications and vacillations have become the unenviable cross of the Nigerian Pharmacist. An evaluation of the various sectors of our practice reveals that it is still not uhuru.

In academic pharmacy, you are witnesses to the unending tales of woes that have manifested in lack of teaching aids and research grants for the academic pharmacist. The dearth of chemicals, well-equipped laboratories absence of conducive teaching environment characterise the darkness, which has of late enveloped this important sector of the practice.
Even when hospital and administrative pharmacists have enjoyed pay increases like other health personnel, all is still not well in relative terms because the era of discriminatory salary wages in the health sector ensures that a young medical graduate earns more money than a senior pharmacist who is a top officer in the public sector making the professional life frustrating.
Industrial Pharmacy is not to be spared of the rotten basket of fruits because sharp practices in the manufacture and sales of drugs have destroyed have destroyed a sector which used to be buoyant.
General or Community Pharmacy Practice which embraces drug distribution from the manufacturer to the consumer is ravaged to a great extent by the fake drug syndrome.
It is indeed sad and worrisome that a profession which should be a celebration of excellence sometimes does not live up to this billing. However, pharmacists still maintain their potentials despite all odds.
 What key reforms do you think could revolutionisethe sector, including the practice settings in Pharmacy?
Pharmacy practice has its peculiarities as a profession with substantial commercial plenitude. This makes it prone to ubiquitous exploiters both within and outside the profession. This lingered for many years before we challenged the status-quo. At a time, narcissism was the order of generations of colleagues who found themselves at the hierarchy of the profession in the public sector to the detriment of others.
I will prescribe key reforms in the practice areas including, Community, Hospital and Administrative, Academic as well as Industrial Pharmacy.

Mention challenges facing community pharmacy in the country and reforms you expect in this area?
Perhaps the most fundamental of the problems in contemporary community pharmacy practice in Nigeria is the insanity that pervades drug distribution in Nigeria.
The ‘Frankenstein Monster,’ called unregistered or illegal premises remains the most challenging affliction of practitioners and by extension the citizenry, yet it is often ignored. It all started in the Second Republic when entrepreneurs motivated by purely profit motives invaded pharmacy in the import licence era. This invasion marked the advent of sales and manufacturing of spurious and fake drugs. The leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria of that era protested this unpalatable situation. Government had also shown its concern by placing drug matters on the Exclusive list for legislation and responded by promulgating Decree 21 of 1988 as amended by Decree 17 of 1989. This Decree has since metamorphosed to Act 25 of 1999. Specifically, Section 2 of Act 25 of 1999 is aimed at ameliorating the problems of illegal drug sales points which remain the crux of the matter in drug distribution. Listed in this category are drug markets, kiosks, buses, ferries, train etc. Section 6 of this same law vests the legal authority to deal with this retinue of illegal sales points on the Federal Task Forces and its allies in the 36 States. After29 years the first set of laws on illegal sales points and the establishment of task forces were put in place; it is a matter of historical importance to document that they have not succeeded.
This is manifest by the birth of new breed drug markets in all Nigerian cities today despite that we had only those in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano at the advent of the Task Forces in 1988.
The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency set up a Presidential Committee on reforms in the drug distribution sector. One salient recommendation of the Committee was the decision to prescribe the concept of Mega wholesaling in drug distribution.
Further experiment with the concept after consultations with major stakeholders has today given birth to recommendation for Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) in four major cities – Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano. It is noteworthy to say that these cities hosted prominent drug markets at Idumota in Lagos, Head Bridge in Onitsha, Ariaria in Aba and Sabongeri in Kano. This chain of events is meant to pave way for the sealing of drug markets in Nigeria.
We must follow this to a logical conclusion in the interest of consumers of medicine in Nigeria and most importantly send the right signal to the global community that we do not endorse a Nigerian style of pharmacy practice.
The priorities must be to open the space, particularly to allow Academic Pharmacists who teach upcoming pharmacists to develop an ethical context and dimension in Community Pharmacy Practice.
The proposed ‘Satellite Pharmacy Concept’ approved in 2014 by the Annual General Meeting of the PSN would energiseindustrial, hospital and academic pharmacists to polish their skills in retail of medicines and provide the required counseling component.
What about Hospital and Administrative Pharmacy.
We have had some positive movement in streamlining the career stratum of our hospital pharmacists in the last few years.
First, is in the area of the obnoxious Teaching Hospital Act which was first promulgated in 1985concerning the status for our colleagues in Federal Health Institutions.
The Federal Ministry of Health has been forced through unorthodox methods to issue circulars authorising promotion of pharmacists and others to CONHESS 15 as directors.
In 2015, the first Director of Pharmacy emerged in a teaching hospital in Nigeria at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan.
At the last count, over 20 pharmacists have now emerged as directors of pharmacy in the 55 Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) in Nigeria.
We must continueto pursue with vigourour determined bid for consultancy status.
Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists can put an end to lingering retrogression with regards to the consultancy status by leveraging on the residency training circular issued by the Federal Ministry of Health in July 2015.
Today, approval has been given at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, for resident pharmacists to have access to training facilities by the Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.
It is logical to think that the residency training remains the precursor of the consultancy cadre itself and therefore would speed up agitations for the consultancy grade.
We must clamour for adequate reward for labour through an equitable CONHESS – CONMESS Salary ratio which factors the new Pharm. D curriculum recently approved by the NUC.
I specially appeal to all Faculties of Pharmacy to bear in mind that we can only run our races in tandem with the realities of the operating environment. From the political, intellectual, social and financial perspectives, a six-year Pharm. D programme structured as a home grown initiative is what will best serve the pharmaceutical interest in contemporary nation building.

What is your assessment of Academic Pharmacy?
Our academic pharmacists are not rewarded for clinical services because the templates for these provisions are informal.
Academics in Pharmacy must work with the PSN leadership to work out the recognition of the Fellowship of the WAPCP in the academic wall as we have seen in same healthcare callings. Once this is worked out, we can begin to network with the universities and other regulators to fast-track Masters Degrees and Ph.D status for holders of the Fellowship of the WAPCP.
The added impetus this arrangement guarantees is that we can begin to breed a new generation of academic pharmacists who are grounded in post-graduate professional and academic qualifications. I foresee benefit- packages which would celebrate true excellence in our practice on account of this arrangement.

Can you take a look at Industrial Pharmacy?
The Pharmaceutical Industry is still largely at infant level in Nigeria. It is obvious that our operations are still at the stage of tertiary manufacturing because we import everything from equipment to packaging materials, APIs and excipients.
Investments in Research and Development are unavailable and the poor financial base of the manufacturing entities makes growth and development of the industry a herculean task. To trigger an industrial revolution in Nigeria, we must actualise the existence of petrochemical plants where a plethora of chemical needs can be synthesised.
The inherent advantage with this is that we can become an Africa’s hub for finished drug product, APIs, excipents and chemical needs of other nations.
At a time we need to diversify the economic base of Nigeria, this is certainly imperative as it compels a positive rise of the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.
Still in the search for excellence, the PSN leadership should mobilise working agreements between the faculties of Pharmacy (Drug Research and Production Units), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) which is the umbrella template of pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nigeria.

Tomatoes Slow Stomach Cancer Down

By Chioma Umeha
New research shows eating tomatoes in their entirety can fight stomach cancer.
Scientists from Oncology Research Center of Mercogliano, Italy, found that the red fruit inhibits cell growth when eaten in its entirety.
The team tested extracts of the San Marzano and Corbarino tomato varieties, and found that as well as inhibiting growth, the tomatoes also slowed down the cloning behaviour of the stomach cancer cells.
“Tomatoes’ effects seem not related to specific components, such as lycopene, but rather suggest that tomatoes should be considered in their entirety,” study author Daniela Barone said, referencing previous studies that state only tomato chemical lycopene has cancer-fighting properties.
Results have been published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, with authors sharing their hopes that the research will lead the way for new treatments and diet choices.
“Our results prompt further assessment of the potential use of specific nutrients not only in the cancer prevention setting but also as a supportive strategy along with conventional therapies,” co-author Professor Antonio Giordano said.
Salad favourite tomatoes, which are bursting with vitamins and minerals, can be eaten both cold and hot, with the fruit a popular choice for pasta sauces, salsas and chutneys.
Add a handful to any salads your making, and create mouthwatering tomato side dishes, soups and Italian recipes to up your daily consumption.Tomatoes can also be added to vegetable smoothies, or drunk alone in the form of juice.

Why Do Men Bank Their Sperm? (Part II)

By Chioma Umeha
Donated sperm is then cryopreserved (kept frozen) until it is sold, again at no cost to the donor. In most cases, the sperm donor has the option of donating anonymously, or he can choose to release his personal information to couples interested in purchasing donated sperm.
In addition to earning money, some men feel good about donating sperm because it helps others achieve their dreams of becoming parents.

How does sperm banking work?
Advancements in technology have made sperm banking relatively convenient and affordable. To begin the process, a man will go to a sperm bank facility and provide a semen sample.

Or, he can use one of a few FDA-approved home kit to collect a sample in the privacy of his own home, and send the sample to a clinical lab for storage. This method can help reduce the anxiety and stress that accompanies semen collection at a sperm banking facility.
Once the sperm sample has been collected, the sperm banking facility will typically perform an analysis on the sample to determine sperm count and motility, along with screening for sexually transmitted diseases and other infections.
The sperm sample is then transferred to specially designed vials, and a cryo-preservative compound is added to help protect the health of the sperm during freezing and thawing. The vials are placed in the freezer, and the temperature is gradually decreased to the below freezing.
The annual fees for sperm storage are different at each facility, but are typically no more than a few hundred dollars a year. Sperm can be kept frozen for many, many years, and using frozen sperm does not increase the risk of birth defects.
When a man wishes to withdraw his sperm, he must notify the sperm banking facility and request that sperm be shipped to his physician or a medical facility.
How do you know if a sperm bank is reputable?

Before deciding which sperm bank to use for sperm storage, be sure to do your homework. Ask about laboratory accreditation, state licenses, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance, and be sure you are aware of any fees associated with storing and withdrawing sperm.
And, if you are planning to purchase donated sperm from a sperm bank, there are many, many factors to consider. FDA regulations require that sperm banks comply with standards for screening and testing of donors, maintain proper records, and undergo compliance audits.
However, outside of these regulations, sperm banks are permitted to establish their own guidelines related to collection and sharing of donor information and limitations on the number of births from any one donor.

Why Do Men Bank Their Sperm? (Part I)

By Chioma Umeha

As infertility rates increase, more and more couples are using assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including artificial insemination and IVF, to reach their dreams of parenthood.
The increased demand for these procedures has resulted in an increase in sperm banking.A sperm bank, also referred to as a cyrobank, is a facility that collects, freezes, and stores human sperm.
The sperm kept at a sperm bank is either donated by men to be used by couples seeking sperm donations for artificial insemination or IVF procedures, or is provided by men who want to preserve their own sperm for future use.

Why do men choose to bank their sperm for future use?
Male fertility can be compromised by a variety of factors and life events. Sperm banking offers men an insurance policy in the event that their fertility is diminished at the time in their life that they are ready to father a child.

Age is key contributing factor to declining sperm count and sperm quality. As a result, some men choose to bank sperm while they are young to ensure they have healthy sperm down the road.
Certain cancers and cancer treatments jeopardize sperm quality and fertility, so men facing these health conditions may choose to bank sperm before undergoing surgery or beginning chemotherapy and radiation.
Sperm banking is also helpful for couples who are trying to get pregnant via assisted reproductive technologies, and the man travels extensively or is deployed in the military. Banking sperm ensures that there will be sperm available when it is time to do the procedure.
Finally, some men who are choosing to have a vasectomy, a surgical procedure that involves cutting the tubes that carry sperm during ejaculation, desire to bank sperm in case they wish to have additional children following the vasectomy.
Why do men donate sperm?
Donated sperm is in high demand. As a result, men can earn money by donating sperm, which is then sold to infertile couples undergoing ART.
While sperm banks have different qualifications and requirements, becoming a sperm donor typically requires health screenings and tests, all of which are performed by the sperm bank facility at no cost to the potential donor.

Lambo, Others Urge Healthcare Professionals To End Incessant Rivalries

Chioma Umeha
Experts including a one-time Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo, have appealed to healthcare professionals to put an end to lingering inter-professional rivalry and incessant strikes in the health sector, saying it is inhibiting to the health of Nigerians and the nation.
Lambo further said that professional collaboration remains a positive strategy to strengthen the national healthcare system and improve health outcome.
Lambo who spoke weekend at a symposium entitled, “Health of the Nation: The Imperative of Inter-Professional Collaboration,” advocated for inclusion of inter professional collaboration skill in curriculum of health professionals.
The symposium which held at the University of Lagos was organised by the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) in partnership with Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).
Lambo, who was the Ministry of Health boss under the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, also said health personnel poor attitude to work, endemic corruption and fraud had also rendered service delivery in the sector ineffective.
The former Health Minister lamented: “Unending rivalry which I call `beauty contest’ among health professionals instead of engaging in inter-professional collaboration is affecting the nation’s healthcare. Poor health workers’ attitude and incessant strikes with patients paying the price are serious challenges confronting the sector.”
Quoting World Health Organisation (WHO) report, he said, “Nigeria’s health system is very weak; the country is 187 of the 191 countries in the world rated for a poor health system.”
He however, called on health workers and professionals as well as their associations and unions to embrace inter-professional collaboration as a new culture to move the sector forward.
He said: “Why demand for healthcare is increasing the resources are limited so there is need to find a new way of meeting this demand and one of the ways that is been proposed is inter professional collaboration.
“With inter-professional collaboration, we can address the weak health system that results in poor health status and at the same time improve the health outcome. There is need to include inter professional skill in educational training programme for various profession,” he stressed.
“The road to the new concept is a long one, but it is achievable. There is the need for inter-professional education as well as knowledge and appreciation of the roles of other health professionals.
“Professionals do not trust themselves and there is superiority being lorded over one another.
“Throughout my tenure as minister, I worked towards putting an end to the rivalry that I call `beauty contest’ among the professionals – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technologists etc.
“There is an urgent need for change-management process and collaboration as a better strategy,’’ said the ex-health minister.
Lambo stressed: “No one profession can deal with the complex demands of a patient, hence the need for coordination and collaboration.
“Collaboration will improve the care of patients and service delivery in the country.’’
He lamented the neglect of the achievements of the late Prof. Olikoye Ransom-Kuti, who according to him, gave the country one of the best health policies by defining the roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of government — primary (healthcare centres for local governments), secondary (hospitals for states) and tertiary (teaching hospitals for federal).
Lambo said that primary healthcare was the weakest as malaria and other cases that could be treated at PHC level were being taken to the hospitals daily.
“Primary healthcare delivery system is not working and it is the weakest. There is overcrowding in the hospitals for PHC cases like malaria.
In his comments, the President of NAPharm, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, said the unhealthy rivalry among health professionals dated back to 1961, regretting that the nation had been unable to resolve the crisis.
He called for a new spirit of teamwork by all professionals in health facilities.
“Let us stop celebrating our differences, teamwork can stop whole unstoppable forces; else, the distractions will continue,’’ said Adelusi-Adeluyi, who served as Health Minister under the short-lived Interim National Government of Chief Enest Sonekan in 1993.
He called for the setting up of inter-profession committee at the highest level of authorities to address the problem.
While giving remarks at the occasion, Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Health Minister, said the success of inter-professional collaboration depended on the working together of the various professionals.
“Collaboration is not without its challenges; it should be included in the undergraduate curriculum for professionals to imbibe it,’’ said the minister, who was represented by Mrs. Gloria Chukwuma.
He pledged the support of the government to the actualisation of the concept in the overall interest of the nation’s health.
President, PSN, Ahmed Yakasai, reiterated the urgent need for as healthcare professionals and caregivers to collaborate in the interest of the patient and the healthcare sector of this country.
Yakasai said Nigeria’s health systems must therefore be charged with bridging professional disparities, as we are in a hybrid environment of peak complexity that requires and demand of us to be efficient and deliver on the promise of “wellness.”
Yakasai challenged health professionals to commence the journey towards inter-professionalism. This, he said, will require of systemic change in practice, exposure to each other’s role and perspectives, effective and open communication, professional trust, and a system of coordinated care that enables patients to be part of the decision making related to their care.
A former Vice Chancellor Ambrose Ali University, Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, said that in other to address the health problems, an unbiased minister of health who would be competent and ready to expand health professionals should be appointed.
Agbonlahor advised the government to always implement outcomes of collective bargains so as to reduce strike actions.

No Need To Panic On Ebola – FG

By Chioma Umeha

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Monday urged Nigerians not to panic over the recent declaration of Ebola outbreak in Congo Democratic Republic, saying the Federal Government will ensure that the disease is not imported to the country.
The minister made the call while inspecting thermal screening machines located at the Port Health Stand of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Adewole was on assessment tour of screening machines at the airport.
He said: “We want to assure Nigerians that we have never stopped screening people. It has been going on at the International wing of all the airports in the country, although passengers many not have noticed it.
“There is no reason to panic, everything is under control. If there is a need to screen local passengers we would do that but, for now we are concentrating on passengers on international travels.”

FG Conducted 4,349 Free Surgeries, Others In 2016

By Chioma Umeha
Prof. Isaac
Adewole, the Minister of Health, has announced that the Federal Government has conducted free 4,349 surgeries and 17, 793 health screenings for poor Nigerians across the country.
The Ministry had set a target to deliver 10,150 free surgeries and screenings to help alleviate the sufferings of indigent Nigerians.
In addition to this, the ministry also carried out over 200,000 nutritional interventions for Nigerians suffering from malnutrition in the north east. The intervention has since scaled to become a full fledged project, the Health Sector Nutrition and Emergency Response delivering a set of comprehensive health interventions and emergency services in the troubled region.
His words: “Government must pay for those who cannot afford healthcare.”
Adewole said that the programme is a promise kept by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which has a pro-poor universal health coverage agenda.
The Minister said that the programme tagged, “Better Health for All” is still on going and will be scaled up in the year, 2017.
You would recall that in July, 2016 the Federal Ministry of Health launched the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) Programme to carry out surgeries and screening to indigent Nigerians across the Country.
“The programme was borne out of plan to respond to the critical needs of the people and deliver on the mandate of promoting health with focus on Access, Affordability and Demand,” he said.
Adewole said that the Programme encapsulates a set of initiatives develop as a strategy to actualize the vision of the present administration to produce quick and visible impacts that will affect the lives of every Nigerian especially the most vulnerable and the poor in our society.
The six components of the programme include Surgical interventions, Screening of Nigerians for major Diseases, Revitalization of PHCs, Mutual Health Assurance, Treatment of 200,000 Severely Acutely Malnourished children and operationalizing the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Finding Solution For Skin Damage

Chioma Umeha
Skin infections or disorders constitute a significant proportion of consultations in clinics in the country.
Patchy skin, dark spots, boils, dis-colouration and easy tanning of the skin may not only lead to acne and pimples.
Instead, lurking behind these conditions, one may come across scarier illnesses. Most often than not, skin problems can be a biological tap on your shoulder for other grave health conditions.
According to the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice, skin diseases are one of the three common causes of morbidity in the developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa, along with malaria and diarrhoea.
To this effect, Ardent World Inc. (AWI), a renowned global cosmetics company has explained the rationale behind the launch of its women friendly range of natural based cosmetics products saying, it contains ingredients like glutathione and Vitamin C that can counter free radicals that damage the skin.
In an interview with journalists in Lagos weekend, Mrs. Angeline Frechter, President, AWI from the Philippines said, we believe in having holistic approach to skin care. We don’t want to just give fairer, whiter skin; we want to help you achieve good, soft, moisturised and healthy skin.
Frechter said: “So we work on the collagen, make it tighter, that is why we have chosen the ingredients glutathione and Vitamin C.
“Glutathione is naturally produced in the body, it is also found in plants that can counter free radicals that damage the skin, which makes it very safe and Vitamin C everybody knows is good for the body. If you apply the product on the skin, it goes directly on the skin but some people ingest vitamin C. If you do so it goes to all parts of the body; it goes to your skin, your eyes and so on.
“If you really want to focus on the skin the best thing is to use tropical application of products with main ingredients as glutathione and Vitamin C, developed such that they can be applied directly on the skin to enable you feel the effects.”
She also said that the products must contain moisturising properties to cleanse the skin and help remove wrinkles on the face. “The body needs more moisturising to be protected.”
Speaking, Mrs. Charity Ojiaka is Chairperson, Sinai Collateral Limited, exclusive dealer and distributor of AWI’s Gluta C and Moringa line of body and hair products, said that effective skin care can be achieved by using products with the antioxidant agents.
This Ojiaka said, includes Glutathione and Vitamin C plus collagen which work at multiple levels to achieve maximum skin toning and address the issues of hyper pigmentation. “Anti-oxidants help remove blemishes, reduces skin fine lines, dullness, wrinkles and age spots.”
“It is all about correcting the anomalies and guarantees a nourished, healthy and beautiful look.”
According to her, Gluta C and Moringa line of cosmetic products contains Moringa-O² and Glutathione, a combination of Glutathione and Vitamin-C which are natural powerful toning actives and antioxidants that safely and intensely tone the skin and fight radicals that cause pre-mature aging.
Ojiaka said, “We are aware of the concerns of women and we have heard their challenges against the damage caused by harmful products on their skins and that is why we are proud to introduce our range of products which are natural based cosmetics products.
She also said that cosmetic products with SPF 25 prevent skin damage caused by the sun and environmental stress. Ojiaka said the company’s Moringa-based “ is an anti-aging product which is very suitable for dry and rough skin. It helps reduce pores while controlling pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and acne. It also reduce stretch marks, wrinkles and minor scars.”
On if skin damaged using other products, she explained, “If your skin is damaged through bleaching, it is very difficult to repair it and there is no known product that can reverse it. However, the person can stop using this harmful product to stop progressive damage. This allows the skin to recover and can be followed up with moisturisers to keep the skin healthy.
She also said that AWI’s products are duly registered with NAFDAC, and do not have side effects.

Implement Act On NAFDAC DG Appointment, Others – PSN Tells FG

By Chioma Umeha
For some time, pharmacists have been expressing concerns over delays in the appointment of a new Director General (DG) for the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and reconstitution of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria’s (PCN) governing council.
They link the poor state of affairs in the pharmaceutical sector to absence of substantive NAFDAC DG and government’s dissolution of the governing council of PCN, especially as both agencies are charged with the regulatory functions in the industry.
The group under the auspices of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) further alleged failure of government to stick to the provisions of Section 9 of the NAFDAC enabling Act in the appointment of its DG/Chief Executive Officer.
These they believe have hampered the effectiveness of these bodies to carry out their statutory functions.
The PCN is charged with regulatory functions such as disciplinary action, accreditation of training facilities and other statutory responsibilities while NAFDAC is a regulatory agency of the Federal Government with the mandate to ensure the safety of foods, drugs, chemicals, water, medical devices and other regulated products according to the establishing statute as reflected in Act 15 of 1993.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Lagos State Branch has therefore called for the immediate appointment of a pharmacist as the Director General of NAFDAC for smooth running of the entire system.
The charge was made recently at the 2017 annual luncheon of the PSN, Lagos Chapter.
Speaking for PSN, Lagos State Chapter, Pharm. Bola Adeniran the newly elected Chairman urged the Federal Government to appoint a seasoned registered pharmacist as the DG, while the Governing Council of the agency should be reconstituted.
President Muhammadu Buhari on February, 2016 discharged 24 Director Generals (DG) of their duties, among which the former DG of NAFDAC is, Dr. Paul Orhii handed over the affairs of the agency to Mrs. Yetunde Oni, who has since then being the Acting Director General.
The chairman, PSN, Lagos Chapter reasons that NAFDAC’s enabling law is unambiguous on the prerequisite for the appointment of a DG for the agency; President Muhammadu Buhari ought to comply with the provisions of the extant Act setting it up.
According to her, Section 9 (1) of NAFDAC Act 15 of 1993 states, “There shall be appointed for the agency by the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces on the recommendation of the Minister, a Director General who shall be a person with good knowledge of pharmacy, food and drugs.”
Mr Orhii, the immediate past NAFDAC DG holds a PhD in Medicine. He handed over the affairs of the agency to Mrs. Oni, the Director of Administration and Human Resources.
Pharm. Adeniran further contends that the post of Director General of NAFDAC is meant for persons trained in basic Pharmaceutical Sciences.
“If the true spirit and letter of Section 9(1) of Decree 15 of 1993 is strictly adhered to, only a registered pharmacist will logically meet the condition precedent prescribed by law in section 9(1).”
To her since the major areas to be regulated in line with the regulatory mandate of NAFDAC remain pharmacy, food and drugs, only pharmacists can be designated a pharmaceutical inspector because the provisions of Sections 5 & 6 of the Poison and Pharmacy Act Cap 535 LFN 1990 compel all inspectors to be Registered Pharmacists.
She also called the Federal Government to reconstitute the Governing Council of NAFDAC to ensure functional and optimal performance index of the health sector.
Pharm. Adeniran also posited that currently, the Food and Drug Advisory Council of the West African Health Organisation and the West African Post-graduate College of Pharmacists which is the organ that drives technical advice at the sub-regional level lack the expertise of a drug and food specialist giving rise to the current mismanagement of medicine use and policy protocol in Nigeria.
She said, “Our story in the profession of pharmacy in the last few years has been one form of vitiation or the other of relevant pharmacy and drug statutes. This cannot make room for decorum in larger life at a time we seek value re-orientation in our country.
“We also strongly urge the Federal Government to reconstitute the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to enable legitimate accreditation of training facilities in pharmacy practice as well ensuring the return of disciplinary measures in practice matters.
“Government must complete statutory appointments in the Pharma Sector with the constitution of National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).”
In all appointing a pharmacist to head NAFDAC is like putting a square peg in a square hole; everything would synchronise. Professional jobs should be left for professionals. To do otherwise is to court danger.
Recently, both the Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, National President of PSN and Dr. Albert Alkali,  National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria also called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to resist any pressure to appoint a medical doctor as NAFDAC’s DG.

Ogun Remains Polio Free State, Adopt New Strategy

By Chioma Umeha

The Ogun State Primary Health Care Board (OGSPHCB) says it would continue with its new strategy aimed at capturing more eligible children under the ages of 0-5 years, in its bid at ensuring total eradication of Polio in the state and in compliance with world standard on campaign against polio,.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye made this known when he led the State Monitoring Team of year 2017, National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs), to Ijebu-Ode, during the 2nd round of the programme
Dr. Ipaye, maintained that the present administration in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) was committed to making the state Polio free as the state had not recorded any case of polio since 2009.
“Ogun remains polio free state since 2009 and we don’t want to rest on our oars as we will continue to maintain our status as polio free state, we thank the government for their efforts and the good people of the state for standing resolutely for our vendors for the immunization”, Ipaye said.
He commended the religious leaders, schools, houses visited as well as the parents and guardians for being receptive of government effort at ensuring the complete well being of children across the state, adding that government could have not recorded huge success without the support of residents.
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Nofiu Aigoro urged the health workers to strive harder in order to cover the areas allocated to them, including the remote areas which people might not believe that they might do.

Symposium To Discuss Harmony Among Health Professionals

By Chioma Umeha
Driven by the passion to improve patients’ healthcare services via effective collaboration, consultation and cooperation among the various professional groups in the health sector, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), in partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) is organising a Symposium to promote teamwork in the sector.
The overall goal of the symposium which will hold tomorrow, at the University of Lagos, is to harmonise the services of healthcare personnel and improve on their relationship in order to satisfy the total health needs of patients.
The theme of the symposium is “Health of the Nation: The Imperative of Inter-professional Collaboration,” while the Former Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo will be the keynote speaker.
The President of NAPharm, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, said that teamwork remains the answer to the acrimony in the health sector.
Adelusi-Adeluyi, who was represented by the Vice President of the Academy and Chairman, Symposium Planning Committee, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, explained: “The joint Symposium was as a result of several years of efforts to bring different healthcare practitioners together to enhance inter-professional collaboration.”
His words: “Every consideration should be given to the wellbeing of the patient. Indeed, without the patient, the caregivers have no business at all. When the caregivers fail to harmonise their services, the patient will be at the receiving end.
“The nation’s apparent poor healthcare services are partly the resultant effects of lack of collaboration among healthcare practitioners. When services are not properly harmonised, the patient suffers the most and the professionals also experience the side-effects of the suffering. So, there is need for collaboration and communication”
In his remarks, the PSN President, Ahmed Yakasai, said the symposium will bring about a healthy relationship among the various healthcare groups in the health sector.
Yakasai represented by the Secretary of the society, Gbolagade Iyiola, said the constant bickering over who is the leader in the sector should be put aside if the sector must move forward and if the patients’ needs must be met.
“The only way forward to give the best to patients is to collaborate among healthcare professional groups. For the interest of the patients, we are ready to bury our hatchet. If bickering continues, the patients will not get the best”, he said.
It would be recalled that for several decades, the various professionals in the medical profession have always engaged in battles of supremacy which has often been injurious to the patients.
Such unhealthy struggles had fed fat on anger and divisive statements by the various cadres of professionals, to the detriment of Nigerians who ought to benefit from an optimally functional healthcare industry.
Similarly, Secretary of NAPharm, Prof. Fola Tayo, called on health professionals to have a change of attitude and in the way they think and ensure that they give their best to the patients.
The Nigerian Medical Association, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives among others have all indicated a willingness to be part of the programme.
Other speakers lined up for the Symposium include, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, a medical doctor and former president of the Guild of Medical Directors, Mr. Jimi Agbaje Pharmacist and frontline politician, Mrs. Sade Modupe Jokotola a veteran nurse as well as Professor Agbonlahor a seasoned Medical Laboratory Scientist.

FG Laments FOREX Depletion Due To Medical Tourism

*As Reddington Launches Cardiology Centre In Lagos

By Chioma Umeha
Worried by the tide of huge medical capital flight, a major contributor to foreign exchange depletion in the country, Reddington Healthcare Group has inaugurated the Grays Cardiology Centre in Lagos.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the centre, the first comprehensive cardiology clinic in Lagos Mainland, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of State for Health, said that Nigeria loses over $1 billion, an equivalent of N400 billion, annually to medical tourism.
Ehanire who lamented the continued lack of faith in the national health system and the attendant financial implication of seeking healthcare services in other lands, said that “medical tourism is one of the major contributors to foreign exchange depletion, to the tune of $1 billion annually”.
He also identified limited access, inequitable distribution of facilities, limitation of both material, financial and human resources for health, poor attitude to work, strikes and inter-professional discord and limited affordability for the average citizen as challenges plaguing the health sector.
The Minister however assured that the Federal Ministry of Health was working assiduously to regain confidence in the health sector.
“The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) is furthering the revitalisation of nearly 10,000 primary health care centres (PHCs) in Nigeria, at least one in every political ward. We are working with states and our development partners, to rebuild the National Health System from the foundation, including plans for a referral system to relay patients through secondary to tertiary facilities,” the Minister added.
While praising the initiative of a high-tech cardiac centre, he said that the Buhari-led administration was committed to rebuilding the health system through private sector engagement.
Ehanire said: “Government desires to encourage more private sector participants in health care delivery. The injection of private capital, management skills, innovation and discipline should lead to the modernisation of health care delivery in Nigeria and overall improvement of the health system.
“The FMoH, through the department of public-private partnership (PPP) and diaspora, is keen to collaborate and partner with private health care providers and Nigerian health care experts in the diaspora in what Mr President calls “knowledge and skills repatriation.”
According to him, the Grays Cardiology Centre sets the bar higher as it goes beyond the routine, to bring state-of-the-art diagnostic and intervention capacity to Nigeria.
“We are proud that services that would have been found only in the top hospitals of technologically advanced countries, can be rendered right here, in the country, without need for passport, visa, airfare or other hurdles and expenses.
He said the phenomenon which many Nigerians have resorted to has left the poor in Nigeria to their fate or faith in God, and so-called native medicine.
In his welcome address, the Medical Director of the Centre, Dr. Soe Moe Aung, gave his assurance that the latest medical technology in cardiology will be used to provide the expertise to ensure that all patients receive world-class medical care.
Aung explained that the Grays Cardiology Centre, is a full-fledged Cardiology Centre with a vision of improving patients’ chances of healthy survival, bettering the quality of their care, and giving more people the tools and education they need to prevent cardiovascular disease in an ethical and affordable manner.
Recalling that the first digital Cardiac Catheterisation and Angiography Suite in Nigeria was launched by Reddington Hospital in 2009, he said Grays Cardiology Centre was launched in collaboration with a team of indigenous cardiology experts, Professors of cardiology, and a USA-based cardiology group.
The Grays Cardiology Centre will offer services covering non-invasive and interventional procedures, heart diagnostic procedures, cardiac rehabilitation, intensive coronary care, telementry services, and heart care education, among others.
Dr. Okechukwu Usim, Clinical Director of Grays Cardiology Centre during a clinical presentation, noted that cardiovascular diseases have been responsible for many untimely deaths and disabilities worldwide, especially in developing countries.
However, the Clinical Director said; “I am glad to be a part of a dynamic team that has helped save so many lives from an early death and restore them back to a productive healthy life.”
The inauguration of Grays Cardiology Centre is coming barely one week after the Reddington Healthcare Group opened a Women Health Centre.
Other special guests at the commissioning of the Centre were, Dr. Akinyanju, the Chairman of the Sickle Cell Foundation, Dr. Eckhart Diestel a Consultant Cardiologist from Germany and Dr. Demola Abiose, an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa College, USA.

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