PSN petitions Buhari over non-employment of pharmacists in federal tertiary hospitals
• Wants issuance of circular authorizing consultancy cadre for members, immediate reconstitution of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over non-employment of graduates of pharmacy into the Federal tertiary hospitals as intern pharmacists or as registered pharmacists. Yakasai said even federal health institutions in the catchment areas where pharmacy graduates are trained often times refuse to employ them.
The PSN during a courtesy visit to President Buhari, congratulated him for his disposition to shun privatization and commercialization of public health facilities, which would have derailed good and impactful healthcare in Nigeria.
The PSN commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health in initiating a Drug Distribution Guideline for the country which offers a major opportunity in sanitising the chaotic drug distribution channels and by extension curtail the problem of fake and counterfeit pharmaceutical products in our system.
Yakasai said the implementation of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) allows finished pharmaceutical products to be imported to zero percentage duty is a good gesture and same should be extended to raw and packaging materials which now attract a duty percentage ranging from five per cent to 20 per cent. He said this means that locally manufactured pharmaceutical products have become uncompetitive. “The fall out is an eminent closure of all Nigeria Pharmaceutical plants. We urge government to intervene on this critical issue,” he said.
Yakasai appealed to Buhari to sanction the implementation of Pharm.D (Doctor of Pharmacy) Programme. He said the draft Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) document for the Pharm. D degree which is clinical pharmacy as patient oriented degree, is currently receiving final inputs at the National Universities Commission for eventual consideration of the Federal Executive Council through the Honourable Minister of Education. Yakasai said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) blessing of the document will bring the Pharmacy training to same standards with what generally obtains all over the world which is patient-centric.
The pharmacists faulted the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and demanded that the Federal Government direct the board and management of the NHIS to immediately adopt lawful payment mechanism to wit, capitation for primary providers and fee for service for secondary and tertiary providers.
He said government must also redress the capitation modes by embracing international global best practices on what constitutes a primary facility for capitation in Nigeria; and to approve the immediate reconstitution of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria.
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is the regulatory agency of the federal government that regulates and controls pharmacy practice in all its aspects and ramifications in Nigeria. This gives it a specific approbation in law to register all cadres of premises where drug endeavours take place.
Yakasai urged Buhari to ensure implementation of the spirit of the existing circular on promotion of PSN members from Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) 14 to 15 as directors which places premium on the need to sanction defaulting hospital managements.
He said specific steps must be taken by the Head of Service of the Federation to ensure the expedited issuance of an enabling circular authorizing consultancy cadre for health professionals that have adhered to due process, to be vested with consultancy status as a prelude to inculcating this cadre into the schemes of service of these health professionals.
This, Yakasai said, must be worked out with the Federal Ministry of Health in line with the spirit of the circular on consultancy and specialist allowances Ref. SMH.491/S.2/VOL II.221 of 29th March, 1976, which authorizes consultancy status for all health professionals, and the condition precedent of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) that provides for a nod of the Federal Ministry of Health for the appointment of consultants.
He also called for payment of arrears of specialist allowances to qualified hospital based health professionals with effect from January 1, 2010, should be ensured; and full payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10 which remains outstanding since the year 2010.
Yakasai urged the release of the circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014 and immediate payment of at least 2 months arrears, while the balance is accommodated with proven evidence in the 2016 budget. “This particular subject matter has lingered for sometime with threats of strike by health workers which was averted by the skills of Late Barrister Ocholi, the former Minister of State for Labour. Your Excellency, I appeal that in tandem with your progressive change mantra, that you facilitate immediate approval of this request,” he said.
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