Former Senate Speaker Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki implored pharmacists in the states of the federation to fulfill their mandates by collaborating with doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, organizations and stakeholders of the health sector ; to deal with health problems.
Speaking on Saturday in Abuja, at the World Pharmacists Day 2021 commemoration organized by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Abuja branch, Saraki said the government should not always take responsibility for problems in the country. Nigeria, because pharmacists have a big role to play in the betterment of the country.
He said: “Today’s theme is ‘Pharmacy: Always Trusted for Your Health’ and I would like to ask if PSN has met that expectation in Nigeria? For several years, pharmacists have been named among the top five most trusted professionals and been voted the second most trusted profession in Turkey and the UK. Can the same be said of Nigeria? This is a question that should stir the minds of the professionals gathered here and those of us who belong to associated professions and even consumers of services provided by pharmacists should be concerned.
“I raise this question because I think that while the government or political leaders have been held responsible for all the evils that plague our society, they maybe also rightly so, but we also need to start to to question our own roles as citizens and as professional groups and see how we have also failed to uplift our country and its people. This is the time to question ourselves in our country.
“The PSN was established in 1927 to instill discipline and maintain professional ethics among the members of the organization through regulation, education, legislation, research and advocacy interventions. Roles also include investigating acts of ethical misconduct, establishing sustainable policies, evaluating pharmacy and drug statuses, mentoring pharmacy students, designing sustainable programs, alleviating the ailments of pharmacists and conducting surveys in critical areas of pharmacy practice.
“Nigeria today faces many challenges in the health sector, especially in the areas of financing, and pharmacists are no exception. The country suffers from a “brain drain” as a high number of trained professionals leave each year for the developed countries in search of greener pastures for various reasons which are not limited to the problems of security, the bad remuneration, the lack of food. necessary, lack of necessary facilities, among others.
“A frightening statistic recently came out of the website of the General Medical Council, the body which authorizes and maintains doctors in the UK. It shows that between June 10 and September 20, 2021, 353 trained Nigerian doctors were licensed to practice in the UK. Or on average 3 doctors per day. In total, around 8,737 Nigerian doctors who graduated in Nigeria are now practicing in the UK. I’m sure the same is true of other healthcare professionals like pharmacists. How can a country that is said to lack medical personnel to treat its population suffer from such a brain drain? I’m sure a similar figure will apply to the United States and other major countries in Europe and America.
“Another major problem that we face in the country today is the problem of drug addiction which affects all age groups, with statistics reaching over 14% of the population. Many people also self-medicate, which is very detrimental to the overall health of an individual. There is also the problem of many unlicensed drug outlets where people buy all types of over the counter drugs. It also brings us to the challenge of fake drugs that have worsened the health conditions of people who on numerous occasions patronize the producers of these imitated, unapproved and poorly produced drugs.
“So the question is:” Has the PSN lived up to the expectations of its members and those of Nigerians in its 94 years of existence? The world is changing rapidly and the advent of technology is being used as an innovation tool to improve the efficiency of all interventions in all sectors and thus build confidence within systems.
He added, “I said that it shouldn’t be the job or the hobby of a leader at any level in our company to whine and point out flaws. We should be problem solvers, solution seekers and creative thinkers. As healthcare professionals, it is paramount to work with other members of healthcare teams such as doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists and others, including organizations focused on addressing issues. health. Every Nigerian, in every sector, should focus on improving health outcomes for women, infants and children in Nigeria and around the world through daily actions. We cannot achieve this without the desired partnership with the members of the team made up of health professionals to provide the required quality to people.
“We all need to find ways to better meet the health needs of our society. In the previous terms that I have held, we have made two interventions, among many others that I am always proud to speak about. First, as a supporter of the health insurance scheme, our administration in Kwara State implemented the Community Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS) to make quality health services readily available, accessible, acceptable and affordable for the majority of Kwarans, most of whom live in rural areas. 39,676 people initially registered and only pay an annual membership fee of N 300 per year. The program is a tripartite agreement with the Dutch government represented by PharmAccess, the Kwara State government and another private sector healthcare company. This initiative is now being replicated nationally and in several states.
“In addition, in the Senate, we activated the provision of the National Health Law which has remained dormant until then, that is to say the section which devotes one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to strengthen the Basic primary health care provision fund in the 2018 budget. This improves the financing of the health sector in Nigeria and has helped improve the quality of life, reduce ownership and mortality rates and, indeed, to “Make Nigeria Stronger”. The move was greeted around the world, including by then WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus. Such political interventions coupled with attitude change at all levels, I believe, are what we need to make a difference.
“In addition, there is an urgent need to engage with other sectors such as education, finance, economic planning, agriculture, women and youth development. Involving them will provide insight into how collaboration across all sectors can help generate and achieve desired health sector outcomes that ultimately move the country towards achieving universal health coverage. with economic improvement.
“In order for PSN to live up to today’s theme, I strongly call for faster licensing, better compensation and better regulation among members of this great organization. This cannot be achieved without intense and deliberate advocacy targeting policy makers at national, state and local levels as well as other stakeholders.
“To that end, let’s all think about the issues and ask questions. We should start thinking outside the box of how the many challenges can be overcome and overcome in a way that leads us to achieve the desired results. What should interest us is the journey and not the destination. The race to get it right is a marathon, not a sprint. Improvement takes time, courage, dedication and most importantly, building confidence.
“Our lack of commitment, our avoidance of responsibility and our inattention to results have hindered the progress of various reputable professions in our climate and pharmacy is not exempt. It’s time to take personal, organizational and societal responsibility with the determination to strategically measure the outcome of the intentional commitment to excellence. It’s time to put Nigeria on the map of pharmaceutical excellence and it’s time to make our world a better place than we have encountered it. “