It is with pleasure that I present this address on this auspicious occasion of a courtesy visit to the highly intellectual Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye FPSN, FNAPharm by executives and members of Association of Hospital and Administrative
Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN). We are glad that this meeting is holding at last, after several postponements due to the exigencies of the office.
We bring you greetings from the National Executive Committee (NEC) and indeed all members of the Association. AHAPN is a technical arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and comprises pharmacists that practice in hospitals (government and private), regulatory agencies like Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), NAFDAC, Ministry of Health (Federal and states) and so on.
We congratulate you on your well-deserved appointment as Director-General of NAFDAC and are proud of your modest achievements in office to date. In particular, we appreciate the efforts your agency is making to rid our country of fake, adulterated and counterfeit products. Your efforts have gone a long way to safeguard the lives of Nigerians and we are very proud of that.
Fight against Drugs and Substance Abuse
We equally appreciate your fight against drugs and substance abuse which hasassumed monstrous dimensions of recent in the country and unfortunately, continues to take its toll on the health and economy of the nation, especially on the youths. We are glad that NAFDAC is leading in the efforts to curb the menace of drug abuse. Director-General Ma, we are alarmed by recent statistics that indicate that over 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years had used a psychoactive substance in the past year for non medical purposes, and that among every 4 drug users in Nigeria, 1 is a woman. We are however reassured by the gamut of efforts by government and other stakeholders to confront the scourge head-on.Director General Ma, on our part, AHAPN has been actively involved in the fight against drug and substance abuse in Nigeria. We have a dedicated Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse and I am happy to report that our members at national and state levels led by my humble self have fully engaged in the societal collaboration against drug and substance abuse and are determined to reduce the scourge to the barest minimum.
AHAPN 21st Annual National Scientific Conference.
As recent as August 2019 during our Association’s 21st Annual National Scientific Conference in Sokoto, we kick started the conference with a health walk against Drug and Substance Abuse, which saw us walking through the streets of Sokoto, enlightening the indigenes of the dangers of the menace. Additionally, we held a Panel Discussion Programne where participants were further enlightened on strategies to curb the menace. Very recently too, our members in Lagos State had a very successful campaign against drug abuse as part of activities to mark this year’s PSN Lagos Pharmacy Week. These activities were adjudged to be largely successful by all, including the press.
Staff Training and Welfare
Honourable Director General Ma, we appreciate NAFDAC’s commitment to staff training and welfare and in particular we are grateful to NAFDAC for including our members in the recent Traceability Workshop organized by NAFDAC which has gone a long way to equip our members with necessary skills and competencies for stores and inventory management.
AHAPN Membership by NAFDAC PharmacistsDirector General Ma, we wish to bring to your notice that NAFDAC based pharmacists are automatic members of our Association (AHAPN) by virtue of working in the regulatory body. In that capacity, they are expected to participate in all AHAPN organized activities and functions, including AHAPN national conferences. Although in practice, this is not the case as majority of NAFDAC based pharmacists do not identify with the activities of AHAPN. Honourable Director General Ma, we implore you to use your good offices to encourage your pharmacists to begin to identify with AHAPN in all our activities, and to pay their annual dues to the Association just as it is done with PSN. We are also encouraging your pharmacists to form a NAFDAC Branch of AHAPN forthwith, for ease of relating with the national body and coordination of members welfare. On a lighter note Madam, we also wish to Inform you Prof. that you too are a member of AHAPN by virtue of your current position as Director General NAFDAC and as such we will expect you to be a part of future activities of AHAPN. AHAPN has branches in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) just like NAFDAC and as such it would be convenient for your pharmacists to join the branch of the Association in the states they are domiciled.
Approval for Small Scale Manufacturing OutfitsHonourable Director
General Ma, some of our members that practice in teaching hospitals and specialist centers are desirous of setting up small scale manufacturing outfits where they can produce pharmaceutical products like antacids, antiseptics and so on to meet the needs of their immediatecommunity, while some others are desirous of producing sachet water. A case in point being the Pharmacy Department of Usmanu Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) Sokoto, who acquired the necessary equipment to commence sachet water production including Ultraviolet (UV) Sterilizer, but was denied approval by NAFDAC, thereby allowing the equipment to rot away. We implore you to assist hospitals that are desirous of setting up small scale manufacturing outfits with speedy approvals and removing all bottlenecks usually encountered with such approvals, more so that the society would be better off for it.
Increased intake of Pharmacy interns
We also wish to appeal to NAFDAC to increase the number of pharmacy graduates admitted every year for the mandatory one year internship training. This is with a view to easing the suffering parents and their wards encounter every year in quest of internship placement.
Employment of additional Pharmacists by NAFDACWhile we commend NAFDAC for having pharmacists on her pay roll, we wish to request that NAFDAC increases the number of pharmacists in her employment, since this will translate to more efficient service delivery for the agency.
Collaboration for Quality
We wish to request greater collaboration between NAFDAC and pharmacists that practice in Quality Control Units of tertiary hospitals who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that patients receive medicines of the highest quality after subjecting them to quality tests. Such pharmacists stand to gain immensely from NAFDAC organized workshops on quality.
Curbing Brain Drain in Pharmacy
Before ending this address, I wish to call upon the federal government to seriously look into the issue of brain drain created as a result of mass exodus of pharmacists out of Nigeria to US, Canada and others in search of green pastures. While we are lamenting the inadequate number of Pharmacists in Nigeria (about 22,000 registered pharmacists to 170 million population) the brain drain has compounded the problem of inadequate number of pharmacists needed to provide quality pharmaceutical care to the Nigerian people.
Improvement in Remuneration and working conditions of Pharmacists.
We equally call upon the government to improve the working conditions and remuneration of pharmacists in public service as she did for other category of healthcare workers. Government should reinvigorate the Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) Scheme so as to make essential drugs continuously available to the Nigerian people. Our Association frowns seriously at practices reported to the effect that management of some hospitals procure their medicine needs directly from the open drug markets at Onitsha, Idumota and so on. Such practices are at best criminal and if proven to be true, will be antithetical to societal growth and development while promoting faking and adulteration by possibly procuring fake drugs from such markets and passing same to the unsuspecting public.
Pharmacy Council Bill
We are equally calling on the Federal Government to give speedy assent to the Pharmacy Council Bill which when passed will help sanitize the chaotic drug distribution network in the country, among others.
In conclusion, we thank you most respectfully Honourable Director General Ma for granting us audience today and desire that you positively address our petitions. We wish you a very successful tenure in office. It is also our pleasure to confer on you today, the Leadership Award of the Association, in recognition of your efforts at safeguarding the health of the Nigerian people by ridding the nation of fake, counterfeit and unwholesome products.
Thank you, God bless you.
Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Amibor Pharm.D, MPH, FPCPharm, National Chairman AHAPN