Posted on: Mon 13-05-2024

The Lagos State branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has urged the Minister for Health and Social Services, Prof. Ali Pate, to avert imminent collapse and breakdown of services in all 57 Federal tertiary institutions.

The call came following federal government’s failure to pay the 10 and half months CONHESS adjustments to health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU.

The PSN also expressed worry that the information at their disposal confirms the reality of an impending 15-day ultimatum that may be served on the Federal Government.

Speaking during the Lagos PSN’s 2024 Annual Luncheon and Investiture Ceremony of the New Merit Award Winners, the State Chairman, Babayemi Oyekunle said the minister should step consultations to nip the ugly situation in the bud before it materialises.

He called on the Federal Government to hasten processes that would catalyze the approval and payment of benefits to JOHESU members with regards to the adjustment of CONHESS as done for CONMESS since January 2, 2024.

“Government must actualize these payments before avoidable strike actions which often disrupt healthcare services in hospitals become a reality yet again.

“The increasing restlessness which has encouraged mobilization of the various trade unions in JOHESU may be a hurricane too strong to quash as members continue to reflect on failed and broken promises across the entire fabric of successive leadership in the last one decade.”

He commended the Federal Ministry of Education, in particular, Minister of State for Education, Dr. Tanko Sununu for successfully superintending the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

Describing it as an accomplishment of significant educational reform, he said it guarantees the commencement of a unified methodology in the training of Pharmacy Technicians in Nigeria.

He said after a careful appraisal of all matters arising with regards to the milestone development, the PSN categorically submitted that the Nigerian laws recognize two Pharmacy Statutes: the PCN Act 2022 and the Poison and Pharmacy Act Cap 535 LFN 1990 and that the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria has specific functions, including determining knowledge standards for Pharmacy Technicians and Patent Medicine Vendors and regulating pharmacy practice.

They submitted that the provisions of Section 4(q) have been severally tested in Federal High Courts in over 15 States of the Federation and the unifying verdict has always been that the PCN, is the only body in Nigeria that has a specific approbation in law to regulate and control pharmacy practice and business in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

The PSN argued that any programme bordering on Pharmacy practice that is unauthorised by the PCN remains unlawful and illegitimate as confirmed by the MOU of the PCN and NBTE brokered by the Federal Ministry of Education.

“We appreciate the pains of some students and parents who did not reckon with the already stated facts and we solicit that the schools of training offer those who are willing an opportunity to change their courses to other approvable programmes of study.

“For others who graduated with these degrees, they should embrace relevant update programmes which might position them for employment in Pharmaceutical Industrial settings or related vocations.  

Pharmaceutical Technology, it must be said is more of a Postgraduate programme in Pharmacy.”

The PSN implored the PCN to actualize the horizon of fellowship it recently entrenched in Pharmacy laws by compelling the membership of Pharmacy Technicians on the Governing Council of the PCN.

He said pharmacists must lead the way in boosting the myth, career growth, and prospects of Pharmacy Technicians across the board to enable Pharmacy practice to assume apex levels.

“The PCN must also continue to support Pharmacy Technicians who are willing to upgrade or step up to become Pharmacists to have a seamless experience in Nigeria.

He commended the 38 new Merit Award Winners, reminding them that they are now at a stage where better and qualitative output is expected of them.