Govt proposes special status for essential medicines –Minister

…PSN inaugurates new boss, pledges support  for local  industries

It was a historic event with pleasant memories for the new President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, as the elites of the health industry, friends and colleagues gathered at the prestigious Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, to witness his inauguration and the investiture of new fellows of the society which took place penultimate Thursday.

70 new fellows were inducted to the board of fellows of the society, the same day. Yakasai, the 20th President of the 89-year-old association was elected at the 88th annual national conference of PSN November, last year.

While delivering his inaugural address, Yakasai promised to serve humanity through public health, expansion of the knowledge base of Pharmacists and protection of the rights of the patients.

He emphasized the need for cooperation among all healthcare professionals and urged the Minister of Health to organize an inter-professional workshop for physicians and pharmacists to discuss the challenges of the health sector for the ultimate goal of guaranteeing the patient’s wellbeing.

He said PSN will encourage patronage of the local industry, as more World Health Organisation (WHO) compliant pharmaceutical companies emerge.

He further said that he will support the local pharmaceutical industries to manufacture qualitative and standard drugs to reduce high cost of drugs in the country.

L-R: Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; Chairman of the occasion and Executive Chairman Juli Plc, Pharmacist, Julius Adelusi- Adeluyi; President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Pharmacist, Ahmed Yakasai; : Immediate Past President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria . Pharmacist, Olumide Akintayo; and Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, during the investiture of ­Ahmed Yakasai as the new President of PSN in Abuja.. . penultimate Thursday.
He said: “We plan in the months ahead our local pharmaceutical industry will be vigorously supported to come up with good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliant factories as prescribed by the WHO, through the evolving satellite pharmacy concept.”

Pharmacist Yakasai added that his administration will also expand the knowledge base of pharmacists in Nigeria through some core programmes, by providing a standard National Medicines Information Centre of international repute in collaboration with UK Medicines Information Centre.

He said pharmacist in the country are contributing to healthcare by developing new ways to support patients in their use of medicines and as part of the clinical decision making across the range of ailments.

“This is the major reason why the PSN continues to champion the dire need for a consultancy cadre in public service pharmacy practice. Professions exist to serve society, therefore our mission as pharmacists must address the needs of society, our duty is to work and ensure that the added value we bring to healthcare and our potentials are taken into account and respected by policy makers and other health professionals,” he said.

The new PSN boss said that his vision is to foster team work among practitioners from other health professional bodies, noting that there is a lot of competition, confrontation and distrust in the sector.

Yakasai said that this situation must give way for collaboration, consultation, cooperation in the interest of the health consuming public, stressing: “We must open our hearts and minds to allow the team concept to rule our worlds in healthcare delivery.”

According to him, the cost of fighting against disease and preserving health will continue to increase in spite of constant control and intervention, adding that there are manifold reasons and benefits for wishing to create a genuine cooperation between pharmacists and other healthcare providers.

“Pharmacists will therefore provide leadership to ensure unity among all the stakeholders in healthcare delivery. One very clear vision is that I am here to raise the bar of pharmacy practice in Nigeria and bridge inter-professional gaps,” Yakasai insisted.

In his address at the inauguration, at the weekend, the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, charged pharmacists in the country to explore innovative strategies that would support local production of essential drugs that are required for its efficient universal health coverage programme.

Adewole also called on stakeholders in the industry to partner government in its efforts to prepare Nigeria to cultivate pharmaceutical infrastructure that will ensure the availability of affordable, efficacious, quality and safe medicines.

The Minister announced that government plans to establish a Centre for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training. He also announced plans to establish a Bioequivalence Centre.

Both centres, he said would be channelled to further build the capacity of manufacturing pharmacists, quality assurance personnel and regulatory agency staff.

Adewole said, “I will like to throw a challenge to PSN members tonight on President Muhammadu Buhari’s Universal Health Coverage agenda. The aim is to deliver basic healthcare to about 100 million Nigerians using one primary healthcare per ward strategy.

“My challenge is that PSN should work and collaborate with the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement this ambitious health service delivery for the country.”

He promised government’s support to supporting indigenous pharmaceutical industries to be given special status so that essential drugs would be regarded as security items.

“The pharmaceutical manufacturers are hereby encouraged to work in close liaison with the Department of Food and Drug Services to build a strong advocacy on this matter and make the pharmaceutical sector a priority as well as protection of the industries within the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (ECT). This is to help improve trading along the West African Sub-Region,”Adewole said.

He added: “The Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Health has made efforts to build a strong pharmaceutical infrastructure, promote the growth of the profession and the industry as well as strengthen the health system for increased health outcomes.”

In his remark, President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Kayode Obembe said his organisation through its National Committee on Inter-professional relations, has developed a platform which will provide a synergy between Medical Doctors and Pharmacists towards providing an effective health care delivery system in line with International best practices.

He added that the NMA will give a helping hand to PSN to enhance effective health care delivery system in the country and to move the health sector forward.

The ceremony was well attended by members of the National Executive council of the PSN, leaders of the various technical industries in Nigeria, high ranking government officials, groups of PSN, friends and relatives of inductees, captains of the Pharmaceutical traditional rulers and other eminent Nigerians.

In attendance were, the Speaker and Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole; Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Uwais; the serving Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola; former Governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau; High Commissioner of Pakistan; the former DG of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii; President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Dr. Kayode Obembe among other dignitaries.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on February 25, 2016.


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