Pharmacists seek probe of directors of Federal Staff Clinic

By: Chioma Umeha

Pharmacists have attributed the recent crisis rocking the Pharmacy Department, Federal Staff Clinic, Jabi, Abuja, to the high-handedness and poor management skill of its Chief Medical Director, Dr. (Mrs) Chinwe Ifeoma Igwilo, even as they called for her probe. Pharmacists, under the platform of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) who condemned her poor treatment of colleagues, said that proper probe of her department will arrest the confusion in the clinic and ensure its effective management.

Last week, 20 protesting pharmacists shut down the entire pharmacy unit of the Federal Staff Hospital Abuja over what they termed unlawful treatment of pharmacists in the hospital and the transfer of the Head of Pharmacy Department, Pharmacist Taiye Olugun. The pharmacists, who were angry over the Chief Medical Director’s handling of affairs of the hospital, said things came to a head when she transfered the head of department. Pharmacist Douglas Tamunomielbi, who led his colleagues, said the management sees pharmacists as mere salespersons and does not accord them their rightful places in the hospital.

Another pharmacist, Hasiya Daura, said the CMD had given the HOD 24 hours notice to return to the Federal Ministry of Health while his office filing cabinet was removed and placed downstairs while his name and designation were removed from his office door. Meanwhile, the CMD who was seen trying to unlock the door of the pharmacy added that patients would not be made to suffer for actions of the pharmacists. Patients were seen hanging around the pharmacy with their prescription papers waiting to be attended to. Mrs. Igwilo who reluctantly spoke to journalists claimed she merely transferred the HOD following an investigation being carried out against him concerning his alleged involvement in removal of some drugs from the hospital. She said reports of the finding would be submitted to the office of auditor general who would advise on the necessary action to be taken.

Photo:L-R:  Lekan Asani, CEO GlaxoSmithkline West Africa and Chairman, Conference Planning Committee; Olumide Akintayo, National President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)  and Pharm. Victor Okwuosa, National Secretary, PSN, during pre-conference press briefing on the 86th annual National Conference of PSN at its corporate office, Pharmacy House, Anthony Village, Lagos, last Thursday.

According to her, the minister of health is in the best position to respond to the issues but would report the matter to the permanent secretary. Reacting, President of PSN, Olumide Akintayo, who led the call in a petition urged the Head of Service of the Federation, to institute a panel of enquiry to investigate the conduct of Igwilo, in the management of affairs of the hospital since her assumption. The petition which was signed by Pharm. Ologun Taiye Joseph, Pharm. Bada Niyi Joseph, Pharm. Daura Hasiya, Pharm. Adole Jane, Pharm. Enekebe Jennifer E., Pharm. Chika Ubajaka, Pharm. Adenike Adeladan, Pharm. Talent Olawunmi, Pharm. Douglas Tamunomiebi, Pharm. Kromsing Gabriel. Akintayo, in a letter dated October 28, 2013, addressed to the Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Secretariat, Garki, Abuja, wrote: “I am compelled by recent disturbing events at the Pharmacy Department Federal Staff Clinic, Jabi Abuja to reach out to your office. The official account has been communicated to the chairman of the board of the Federal Staff Clinic, Abuja, Alhaji Ladi Hassan.

The petition which was copied to Minister of Health, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Director Human Resources – FMOH, Director Food and Drug Services – FMOH, Director Hsopital Service, FMOH, The Registrar:- Pharmacists Council  of Nigeria (PCN) further stated: “Various consultation with Alhaji Ladi Hassan clearly suggests that the very unwholesome event in this very strategic establishment is certainly not getting desired attention, hence a need to refer the matter to your exalted office.” He added: “To as matter of national emergency institute a panel of enquiry to duly investigate the conduct of the Medical Director, Dr. (Mrs) Chinwe Ifeoma Igwilo, in the management of affairs of the hospital since her assumption of office as the head of the hospital right from the status of the hospital as a federal staff clinic.” He urged the Minister of Health to direct the investigation of the role of the medical director in collusion with federal audit unit of the ministry in the unsubstantiated allegation of theft she levelled against the HOD pharmacy, Pharm Ologun T.

According to him, the Minister should ensure the immediate constitution of the Drug Revolving Fund Scheme in line with the provisions of the national drug policy (2005). Akintayo also called for the reconstitution of  the Drug Therapeutic Committee, Procurement Committee and ensure that the Tenders Board functions properly. He further urged the Minister to direct that all posted and disengaged pharmacists, including HOD Pharmacy, Pharm Ologun T.J and Pharm. Douglas Tamunomiebi should be immediate recalled back to their duty post to render needed services. The PSN President said the Minister should direct that all casual labour should to stop as this is contrary to relevant labour laws of the nation.

Akintayo said that the PSN’s appraisal suggests three major dimensions to this whole episode, which include:
• The reign of impunity been orchestrated by Dr. Chinwe Igwillo the medical director of the Federal Staff Clinic, Abuja. Fall-outs of this directly include breaches of the Procurement Act, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Public Service Ethos & Regulations as well as obvious dimensions of alleged corruption. We have therefore through a separate memo forwarded the comprehensive petition of the affected pharmacists and appropriate annexure for your information and necessary action.

• Unethical practices of some pharmacists of the Pharmacy Department of the Pharmacy Department of Federal Staff Hospital (FSH), Abuja, which the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria will officially refer to the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria.

• A case of established physical assault on a pharmacist at the instance of Dr. Igwillo and Mr. Kanu which we shall take up with the Inspector General of Police.

The society called for full investigation into the activities of the Medical Director, FSH Abuja with regards to the employment and termination of employment of pharmacists at FSH, Abuja. The PSN said that investigation should establish culpability with respect to violations of the Procurement Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act, ICPC Act and other breaches of available Anti-corruption Acts in addition to vitiations of Public Service Rules & Ethos. The pharmacists also called for a probe of the personnel who engaged in dispensing of medicines in the Pharmacy Department of FSH, Abuja contrary to the provisions of the poison and Pharmacy Act Cap. 535.

The PSN also want application of sanctions as appropriate and prosecution in tandem with statutes to all found wanting after investigations to serve as deterrence in the Public Service. Akintayo concluded: “Our nation continues to stray from the path of order because often times we do not insist on ensuring due process and liberties of citizens of the state. “The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria therefore counts on your esteemed office to urgently expedite action on this sensitive professional matter in ultimate public interest.”

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


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