Posted on: Tue 14-05-2024

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to take immediate action to prevent the total collapse of services in all the 57 Federal tertiary institutions across the country.

The appeal was made by the Lagos State Chairman of PSN, Babayemi Oyekunle at the Lagos PSN’s 2024 Annual Luncheon and Investiture Ceremony of the New Merit Award Winners.

He advised the Minister of Health and Social Services, Professor Ali Pate, to initiate talks immediately to stop any nasty situations before they arise.

Oyekunle also called on the FG to hasten processes that would facilitate the approval and payment of benefits to JOHESU members with regards to the adjustment of CONHESS as done for CONMESS since January 2, 2024.

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

“The increasing restlessness which has encouraged mobilisation 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 decade.”

Oyekunle expressed gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Education, and specifically, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Tanko Sununu for overseeing the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Board for Technical Education and the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria.

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 stated that following a thorough examination of all issues about the milestone development, the PSN firmly stated that the PCN Act 2022 and the Poison and Pharmacy Act Cap 535 LFN 1990 are recognized as two pharmacy statutes in Nigerian law, and that the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria is tasked with regulating pharmacy practice and setting knowledge standards for pharmacy technicians and patent medicine vendors.

Oyekunle claimed that Federal High Courts in more than 15 States of the Federation had repeatedly tested the provisions of Section 4(q), and the consistent ruling was that the PCN is the only organization in Nigeria with specific legal authorisation to oversee and regulate pharmacy practice and business in both the public and private sectors.

The PSN chairman 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.

The PSN President, Professor Cyril Usifoh, highlighted the critical role of pharmacists in healthcare delivery and called for their recognition as primary healthcare providers.

“Pharmacists play a crucial role in routine vaccinations and the availability of essential drugs in government hospitals,

“We need an enriched drug management agency and public-private partnerships to ensure that our healthcare system can continue to function,” he said.

Recall that the Federal Government met with health workers, under the umbrella of the Joint Health Workers Unions to discuss pertinent concerns regarding pay grade adjustments, the state of the health workforce, outstanding arrears, and the establishment of timelines for forming boards at tertiary health institutions.

JOHESU’s members are the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria; the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals; the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, and Associated Institutions; and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions.

PUNCH Healthwise had earlier reported that JOHESU wrote to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the Ministry of Finance, demanding an upward adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure.

JOHESU said it might resume its suspended strike if positive action was not taken by the Federal Government regarding the salary structure.