Members of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give speedy assent to the Pharmacy Council Bill of 2018. The Association made this call during a courtesy visit to the new President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa FPSN, MON, OFR in his office in Lagos.
The AHAPN delegation was led by the National Chairman, Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Amibor, accompanied by the immediate past National Chairman, Pharm. Martins Oyewole, National Secretary, Pharm. Hafiz Akande, National Treasurer, Pharm. Bode Ogunjemiyo FPSN, National Financial Secretary Pharm. (Mrs) Funmilayo Fagboyo and the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Francis Odigie. Others were the Chairman of AHAPN Lagos State Branch, Pharm. (Mrs) Abidemi Onedo and Pharm. (Mrs) Folake Adeniyi, National Treasurer of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). On hand to receive the AHAPN delegation were the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa FPSN, MON, OFR and the National Secretary of PSN, Pharm. (Chief) Emeka Calistus Duru FPSN.
In his opening remarks, the National Chairman Dr. Amibor extolled the virtues of Mazi Ohuabunwa, which had singled him out for three national honours by successive Nigerian governments. According to Dr. Amibor “No doubt Sir, the Pharmacy profession in Nigeria is blessed to have an enigma like you at the helm of her affairs at this crucial point in time. There are few Nigerians living or dead bestowed with three prestigious national honours including Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) and the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) like you have. These awards did not just fall from the sky, but were conferred on you by successive Nigerian governments, because you truly merited them.”
The Association also praised the President for the giant strides he has made in the short time he has been in office, including the recent advocacy visit to the Honourable Minister of Health and other sundry issues.
Dr. Amibor thereafter intimated Mazi Ohuabunwa of the challenges confronting hospital and administrative pharmacy practice in Nigeria, one of which was stagnation of career progression and scale to scale promotion of their members. According to the national chairman, “It might interest you to learn that some of our members are still being stagnated on CONHESS 13, despite several representations to government and chief medical directors of hospitals. Some others especially in federal institutions receive same scale promotion without any financial increment, which is against the extant laws of the civil service. We solicit your assistance in redressing this trend.”
The Association also lamented the acute shortage of pharmacists in hospitals in the country. According to Dr. Amibor, “We are challenging the Society to advocate for employment of more pharmacists by various governments to ease suffering encountered by patients in trying to access care in hospitals, especially state government hospitals. This will also facilitate provision of pharmaceutical care services to our teeming patients.”
The National Chairman complained about the hardship fresh pharmacy graduates have to go through to secure space for the mandatory one year internship programme. “We are hereby appealing to you to aggressively pursue creation of more spaces for pharmacy interns, a situation which has seen fresh pharmacy graduates stay at home for upwards of three years, and constituting additional burden to their parents and guardians.”
Dr. Amibor called for restructuring of the Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) Scheme to enable pharmacists who are project managers of the scheme to become signatories to the DRF account. That way, funds will be made continuously available to manage the scheme and out of stock syndrome will be reduced to the barest minimum in hospitals.
The Association called on the PSN President to pursue the signing of the Pharmacy Council Bill of 2018 into law by President Buhari. “We urge you not to relent in pursuing aggressively, the signing of the Pharmacy Act of 2018 into law by the President, which will go a long way to curtail the numerous challenges confronting pharmacy practice in Nigeria, including the erratic drug distribution syndrome, incessant drug abuse especially among youths and infiltration of pharmacy practice by charlatans among others.”
Other areas touched on by the association included release of Consultancy Circular for the fellowship programme of the West African Post Graduate College of Pharmacists and registration of AHAPN as a trade union. They equally informed the PSN President that their members were being owed outstanding arrears including Call Duty Relativity arrears since 2014. Pharmacists and some other healthcare professionals are being owed payment of balance of April and May 2018 salaries, a fall out of the JOHESU led strike action of 2018, they told Mazi Ohuabunwa. Equally outstanding is promotion arrears being owed our members over the years.
Dr. Amibor then solicited the assistance of PSN in getting the government to pay these debts being owed their members.
The Association also sought the support of the Society in their quest to adopt pharmaceutical care as their new brand of philosophy of practice. According to the National Chairman, “We wish to remind you that globally, pharmaceutical care has replaced the traditional role of dispensing for which pharmacists have been identified with over the years. We are here to seek the support of PSN in our resolve to adopt pharmaceutical care as our philosophy of practice.” Dr. Amibor also sought for the assistance of the PSN in facilitating their members’ participation in international conferences and appointment of their members as Chairmen of Medical Advisory Committees of Hospitals, since many of them were eminently qualified. In all, the Association presented a 17-Point request to the PSN President.
Thereafter, the Association announced their decision to confer a leadership award on the President. “It is also our pleasure to announce the decision of AHAPN NEC and membership to confer the AHAPN Excellence in Leadership Award on you today, in recognition of your numerous contributions to societal growth, development and selfless service to the Pharmacy profession.“
Also contributing, the immediate past National Chairman of the Association, Pharm. Martins Oyewole MAW informed the President that there is no uniformity in the implementation of the scheme of service as it relates to movement of pharmacists and other health care workers from the position of assistant director to deputy director and director. He explained further that while some hospitals promote pharmacists from deputy director to director, others promote from assistant director to deputy director, without giving them the privilege of rising to the position of director.
Responding, the PSN President thanked Dr. Amibor and executives of AHAPN for the visit. He commended them for the award conferred on him, noting that of all the associations that have visited him since assumption of office, AHAPN was the first to present him with an Excellence in leadership Award, stating that the Award was very dear to him.
Mazi Ohuabunwa commended AHAPN for setting up a Committee to draw up the guidelines for the implementation of pharmaceutical care in the country, while assuring them of the support of the Society. He then took pains to address each of the 17 requests made by the Association.
The highlight of the visit was the conferment of the Excellence in Leadership Award to the PSN President by Dr. Amibor, flanked by the immediate past National Chairman, Pharm. Oyewole. The Association also presented copies of their Scientific Journal, The Health System Pharmacist to the President.