Why nation’s health sector continues to falter, by experts

National Secretary, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Emeka C. Duru (left); President, Ahmed Yakasai; Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria, Bhushan Akshikar, and Chairman, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Prof. Martins Emeje, at a media briefing on the 2018 World Pharmacists Day in Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has advanced reasons why the country’s health sector continues to falter after 58 years of independence.It charged the Federal Government to implement effective prescription policies to ensure that healthcare practitioners engage in ethical practices.

The PSN made the assertion at the 2018 World Pharmacists Day with the theme: Pharmacists: Your Medicines Experts, where the technical arms brainstormed on issues in the health sector and provision of medicines for patients’ care.

President, PSN, Ahmed Yakasai, said healthcare professionals should not cross their own sphere of practice, noting that due to greed, professionals have crossed their limits of practice, which has resulted to serious challenges in the health sector.He lamented that if the challenges of drug distribution in the country were not addressed soon, it would be chaotic and detrimental, not only to patients and the health system but also the whole country.

He said pharmacists were responsible for ensuring safe, effective and rational use of medicines, as well as committed to the advancement of the healthcare sector for the benefits of all.

Yakasai also emphasised the importance of creating an enabling environment for pharmacists to contribute effectively to healthcare delivery system in the country.He lamented that the issue has resulted in the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as many Nigerians have abused antibiotics, which he said, has been administered by other healthcare professionals who do not know the proper use of medication.

Speaking, Country Medical Director, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Company, Nigeria, Dr. Laja Odunuga, noted that antimicrobial resistance has become an increasingly serious threat to global health as its deaths are estimated to increase by 10 million in 2050 and an estimated global cost of $100 trillion. He said, this requires action across governments, sectors and the society, adding that misuse of antibiotics by physicians in clinical practice, unskilled practitioners, public animal husbandry and poor quality of drug promote the rise in AMR, as identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

He said Nigeria has the highest number of substandard drugs in Africa, stating that to address the issue, pharmacists should take their rightful place in the distribution of medicines in the country with the support of government and other stakeholders.

Also speaking, National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) Dr. Kingsley Amibor said crisis in the health sector has caused lack of collaboration between pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners, especially medical doctors, which tend to limit pharmaceutical practice and care for patients.

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Ahmed YakasaiPSN
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