Lagos State chapter of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has urged the Federal Government to encourage government at all levels to institute the consultant cadre for pharmacists and eligible health workers across the board.
A statement signed and made available to BusinessDay by the chairman, Lagos State PSN chapter, Gbolagade Iyiola, unambiguously admonished Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently lift the suspended consultant cadre for pharmacists in the employment of the state.
“We particularly call on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to without further delay and conditionalities inspire a lift of the unfortunate suspension imposed on the consultant cadre for pharmacists in the employment of Lagos State government in 2018 by former Gov. Akinwumi Ambode,” it said.
According to the group, “The May, 2018 approval of this cadre was a product of JOHESU-LASG negotiations which was sacrificed by the Ambode administration to satisfy the yearnings of the NMA.’’
It also added that the consultant clinical pharmacist cadre is an advanced level of career position who is a pace-setter in education, research and the delivery of specialist pharmacy practice.
Explaining further, Iyiola said: “The consultant cadre is necessary for the sustainable growth of the pharmacy profession albeit globally. It is instinctive to put on record that the cadre puts pharmacy at a height of professional learning and practice to look up to.
“The consultant pharmacist cadre beyond ensuring significant contributions towards basic healthcare delivery and optimising healthcare outcomes ensures optimal medication therapy which underscores the availability of quality drugs supply in every credible health system.
“Pharmacists who manufacture drugs are also the only trained personnel in the sales, dispensing, distribution and procurement of drugs. This is why a Pharmacist has globally acclaimed the expert on drugs.”
On the other hand, he alleged that the NMA has always intimidated the federal and state governments with threats of varying nature especially that of strike actions and withdrawal of services.
He, therefore, reminded the government at all levels that NMA and its affiliates like NARD and MDCAN are not trade unions and therefore should not be granted privileges to negotiate Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and MOUs on behalf of its members.
Continuing he affirmed: “This matter is presently being challenged by the JOHESU at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Ibadan Division to stop the abuse obviously aided by government inaction. It is important to sound it loud and clear now to the government at all levels that we shall tackle the NMA breath for breath, meter for meter on this subject matter of consultancy cadre.
“If government concedes to NMA pressure to attempt to sabotage the approval already given our kith and kin on this occasion, we shall respond in like manner to meet government at any level if it allows the NMA to push the matter.”
Stressing the need to re-organise primary healthcare services in Nigeria, he said that the major tiers recognised in the nation’s ailing health system include; the primary, secondary and tertiary and added that the primary health care sector is the major pivot to unlock the potentials of providers as over 70 percent of challenges in most health systems are dealt with at this level.
In his words: “For us in Nigeria, this tier of service rendition is not structured to bring deliverables because governments at all levels often times ignore the immensity of the skills of non-physician care-providers.
“Some of the core primary healthcare services revolve around immunisation, family planning, ante-natal services, nutrition counsel, smoking cessation and others.
“In a bid to improve accessibility, affordability, safe and efficacious delivery which will impact on the health system, government must be proactive by inculcating all healthcare professionals who practice at community level because of their proximity to the grassroots.
“It is noteworthy that the National Health Act 2014 (NH2014) has already paved the way for comprehensive health reforms by listing pharmacies, medical laboratories, nursing homes, physio clinics and many other health professional structures as health facilities in Nigeria.”
To him, the way forward is for government to involve pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists and other health workers in primary healthcare services in Nigeria.