Pharmacists roll out project to reduce childhood killer diseases
• To elect new President on November 13 in Abuja,
give Evergreen Award to Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi
As part of efforts to stop deaths caused by treatable childhood killer diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea, which account for the death of over 400,000 children under the age of five years in Nigeria, annually, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has rolled out, PACFaH, an innovative three-year programme on child and family health.
President PSN, Olumide Akintayo, at a press conference, in Lagos, yesterday, ahead of the 88th Annual National Conference of the Society tagged “Unity 2015,” scheduled for Abuja from November 9 to 14, 2015, said PACFaH is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and coordinated by a leading Nigerian consultancy firm, development Research and Project Center (dRPC).
Akintayo said the PACFaH programme is implemented through a coalition of seven indigenous Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)- PSN, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON).
The PSN President said PACFaH has four programme areas, which include: treatment of childhood pneumonia and diarrhea; family planning; routine immunization; and nutrition.
He said the vision of PSN- PACFaH is to see its advocacy work contribute to getting Government and relevant stakeholders work in concert to stop deaths caused by treatable childhood killer diseases- pneumonia and diarrhea- which account for the death of over 400,000 children per annum under the age of five years in Nigeria.
Akintayo said the PSN-PACFaH goals are to: advocate for the revision of the national treatment guidelines/essential medicines list to include Amoxicillin dispersible tablet (Amoxicillin DT) adopted as first line treatment for childhood pneumonia by 2016; increase buy-in/support for Zinc- Lo ORS as treatment for childhood diarrhoea by 2016; and increase capacity of indigenous civil society- community & faith-based- organisations to conduct advocacy and track budgetary allocation for the procurement of child health commodities.
The pharmacist said the PSN-PACFaH project has the following specific objectives: advocate for the review of relevant national regulations to domesticate World Health Organisation (WHO)/United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF’s) new treatment guidelines that recommend Amoxicillin dispersible tablets as first line treatment for childhood pneumonia and Zinc/Oral Rehydration Solution (Zn/ORS) for childhood diarrhea; encourage local healthcare providers and private sector actors to increase production, distribution and appropriate promotion of the essential life-saving commodities-Amoxicillin dispersible tablets and Zinc/ORS for the effective treatment of childhood pneumonia and diarrhea.
Other objectives of PSN-PACFaH, according to Akintayo, include advocate for adequate and wide-spread training to ensure that frontline health workers are knowledgeable about diagnosing correctly and effectively treating childhood pneumonia and diarrhea using Amoxicillin DT and Zinc/ORS respectively; build a high performing team of indigenous civil society organisations that will engage with key policy makers for the achievement of the project objectives; and advocate for budgetary allocation, release and utilization on our thematic focus, which can be achieved through the concerted efforts of the ministries of health and finance, and in collaboration with the legislature, create a specific budget line in the ministry of health for the procurement of the essential life-saving commodities: Amoxicillin DT and Zinc/ORS in order to benefit from the proven benefit of economies of scale through pooled procurement.
Other specific objectives are: improved markets for life-saving commodities in Nigeria; improved national delivery of life-saving commodities; and improved integration of private sector and consumer needs.
Akintayo said the pilot states for the PSN- PACFaH project are Kano, Kaduna and Lagos. He said the states were selected on the basis of the following considerations: Kano because of high burden of disease prevalence; Lagos because of responsiveness that is has history of working well with development partners); and Kaduna because of saturation that is host to all four PACFaH issue areas.
Akintayo said key stakeholders in Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that are health-related at the national level are also targets of this project.
The PSN President said the major events that will take place during the opening ceremony 88TH annual national conference of the society are: investiture of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, as Grand Patron of PSN; presentation of Evergreen Award to one of the legends of pharmacy practice – Pharm. (Prince) Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; and presentation of award to the Overall Best Graduating Student, 2013/2014 Session, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka to Miss Nkiruka Ozioma Ibeanu.
Akintayo explained: “The 88th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria will hold in Abuja from Monday November 9 to Saturday November 14, 2015. We expect a massive turnout as pharmacists all over the States of the federation will witness change of baton of the leadership of PSN, which will take place at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) holding on Friday, November 13 2015.
This year’s conference will also feature Deans forum, directors of pharmaceutical services forum and also forum for heads of pharmacy department, federal health institutions to strengthen the relationship management. The Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) credit points will be awarded to delegates who participate at the various scientific programs.
“There will be social nite where delegates will be given the opportunity to socialize and interact with old friends at some stages while the Very Important Personality (VIP) forum which debuted in Ilorin will be consolidated.”
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