• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Community pharmacists want partnership with Health Ministry on immunization, family planning

Community pharmacists want partnership with Health Ministry on immunization, family planning

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has called on the Federal Ministry of Health to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with it on immunization and family planning programmes, stating that their members have the capability to efficiently offer the necessary services.

While making the call in a letter addressed to Minister for Health, Ali Pate, ACPN explained that their demand aligned with the Pharma Consultative Forum agenda recently inaugurated by Pate to help remedy the unpleasant situation with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).

In the letter which was cosigned by ACPN chairman, Adewale Oladigbolu, and the National Secretary, Omokhafe Ashore, the association also noted that community pharmacists have been championing the strengthening of Nigeria’s declining health system in line with the legal approval that designates pharmacies as health facilities within the framework of the National Health Act 2014.

The letter partly reads, “Hon. Minister, the ACPN strongly demands albeit respectfully that the FMOH signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with it on immunisation endeavours and family planning for a start given the level of training Community Pharmacists have endured for these tasks.

“Hon. Minister, the ACPN will rely on the spirit of the Pharma Consultative Forum you recently inaugurated to fix this unwholesome situation with NPHCDA.”

It also reads, “The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) is a technical group of the PSN that specialises in providing health services through neighbourhood pharmacy facilities.

“The ACPN is also a member of the International Federation of Pharmacists which is the global template of all Pharmacists.

“Perhaps, it is imperative to draw you on memory lane of the series of interactions we had with you way back when you were the CEO of the erstwhile National Primary Healthcare Development Agency before you emerged as the Minister of State for Health under the Jonathan administration.

“We at ACPN have been at the forefront of strengthening Nigeria’s faltering and sinking health system given the legal approbation that Pharmacies are designated as health facilities within the framework of the National Health Act 2014.

“At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate past leadership hierarchy of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) partnered with the ACPN by authorising the Community Pharmacies to administer COVID-19 vaccines in their facilities in 2021. The two-year MoU for this working agreement lapsed in December 2023.”

They posited that within the two-year duration in which the MoU 2021 lasted, Community Pharmacies vaccinated over 76,000 patients and clients in just 253 Community Pharmacies.

On the other hand, the association observed that it is apparent that appendages of the FMOH still catalyse medical elitism despite the tenets of the National Health Strategic Development Plan.

“What still prevails in the Health System the Hon. Minister coordinates is a situation where everything including resources and privileges is appropriated to the constituency of Physicians, “adding that the Physician tribe sits on top of a rudderless ladder where there is no interconnectivity or relationship with key health professionals in the value chain of healthcare.

To the pharma body, the six major pillars of the country’s National Health Strategic Plan revolve around safety, effectiveness, patient-centredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity.