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NAFDAC advocates for community pharmacists in national vaccination programme

NAFDAC advocates for community pharmacists in national vaccination programme

As Nigeria continues to push towards achieving herd immunity with the mass vaccination scheme of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), which aims to vaccinate 50 percent of the over 110 million eligible adults by January 31, 2022, Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general (DG) of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), has advocated for the inclusion of community pharmacists in the national vaccination programme.

According to Adeyeye, with over 300 community pharmacists spread across the country, Nigeria can ensure vaccines get to the rural communities.

She also said that Nigeria needed local manufacturers of vaccine to ensure government’s policy on ‘vaccination for all: leave no one behind’ target. “Vaccine should go where the crowds are,” she said.

Adeyeye made the observation at the investiture of the 15th national chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), where she disclosed that NAFDAC was currently working to ensure Nigeria emerged as the sub-hub for vaccine manufacturing in Africa.

The NAFDAC director-general, who was recognised by the ACPN for her excellent leadership, equally sounded a note of caution that the country might soon have issues with expiration of vaccines considering the current apathy to vaccination and the rate vaccines are coming into Nigeria with shorter expiration date.

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Adewale Oladigbolu, national chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), said the APCN has about 6000 members spread across Nigeria rendering first and advanced level healthcare service. Accordingly, he said the partnership will benefit the public more in relation to community pharmacy expansion scheme by ensuring that prescriptions are fulfilled in community pharmacies.

According to him, the partnership with Wellahealth Technologies will ensure National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) prescriptions are channeled towards community pharmacists, which is being pioneered by Wellahealth. “We are the gate keepers to peoples’ health,” he stated.

Oladigbolu also urged the technology company to engage more health maintenance organisations (HMOs), clinics and hospitals so as to ensure the benefits of the partnership to get more people at the grassroots. “Because a prescription without the input of the pharmacist is a poison; its death at installment to majority of Nigerians,” he stated.

Ikpeme Neto, CEO Wellahealth Technologies, said the partnership would enable the deployment of over 4000 community pharmacists into its network of pharmacists with access to technological services and support. “It is an enduring partnership that will provide value to every partner; already we work with 1500 pharmacies in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Neto, Wellahealth hope to deepen collaboration with the NHIS and other insurers to give access to genuine medication within community pharmacies across Nigeria. “Because of our technology, insurers can call on that technology to access medication in any one of these particular pharmacies. If you are in Bayelsa and you need diabetes drugs; your insurer will send that information to us at Wellahealth, and we will pass it on to a pharmacy in the network,” he said.