Shortage of community pharmacists worries professionals
Ray Ozolua, a professor at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Benin (UNIBEN), on Thursday, decried the yawning gap of available community pharmacists in Nigeria, saying no more than 220 local government areas out of 774 have at least a community pharmacist.
Ozolua, who delivered a keynote address at the 2021 annual summit of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) in Benin City, said the figure of registered pharmacists, both dead and alive, stands at 28,500 as of December 31, 2020.
The don said in Nigeria it is one pharmacist to 13,000 as against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of one pharmacist to 2,000 population.
As a result, he said inadequate professionals in the health sector has led to poor healthcare delivery, avoidable disabilities and deaths, and encroachment in another profession’s territory.
“Nigeria is poor in health indices and some of the health sector challenges are unavailable and inaccessible healthcare system, out-of-pocket expenditures, and shortage of healthcare providers,” Ozolua said.
Samuel Adekola, National chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), on his part, said Nigeria has limited numbers of pharmacists due to poor remuneration and little or no support from those in authorities which has led to brain drain of the practitioners.
Earlier, Duke Otite, Edo State chairman of the association appealed to the state government to be included in the governments’ healthcare plan through the Edo Health Insurance Scheme and Primary Healthcare participation which are key components of Universal Health Coverage.