PRESS RELEASE 7Th April, 2020
The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) is the umbrella of all pharmacists that practice in hospitals, parastatal clinics and regulatory agencies such as Ministry of Health (federal and states), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others. AHAPN is a technical arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and comprises over five thousand pharmacists.
We commend the Federal Government of Nigeria for her interventionist programmes in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. We appreciate the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health in keeping Nigerians informed on daily basis on control efforts. We equally appreciate Nigerians, non governmental organizations and groups (including pharmacists) that are partnering with the government to control the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The attention of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria has been drawn to the news item making the rounds to the effect that the Federal Government of Nigeria has concluded plans to import Chinese doctors to Nigeria to help in the fight against the Corona Epidemic. Ordinarily, AHAPN is not opposed to the federal government taking steps to modernize, upgrade and augment healthcare services in the country; these have formed the fulcrum of agitation of our esteemed Association over the years.
However, the circumstances surrounding this particular decision of government to import Chinese doctors in response to the Corona pandemic are quite different. Apart from the fact that the pandemic emanated from China, the rest of the world is still very skeptical about the role China has played so far in the control of the scourge, including possible concealment of the actual number of victims of the scourge in China, and not revealing the exact treatment protocol that helped in curing the victims of the pandemic.
There are equally reports that the presence of Chinese doctors in Italy and Spain rather than ameliorate the condition, seemed to have worsened it, if number of deaths happening in those countries on daily basis is anything to go by. There are reports also of a second wave of infections again taking place in parts of China.
Putting all these together, AHAPN is convinced that the decision of the federal government of Nigeria to import Chinese doctors into Nigeria at this critical and crucial time is ill timed and not in the overall best interest of the country and may be counterproductive both on the short and long run.
What we believe the federal government can do is to strengthen the existing health structures for maximum impact. We are dismayed by daily reports of healthcare workers (including pharmacists) having to attend to patients in our hospitals (including possible COVID-19) patients without the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) especially face masks and hand gloves because they are perennially not available in our hospitals. Now that donations have started coming in towards controlling the pandemic, interventions such as provision of PPE and ventilators among others should be a top priority.
Government should recall retired healthcare personnel and arrange short courses for them on management of COVID-19. Task sharing should also be encouraged in this period of global emergency.
Pharmacists in Nigeria are in the forefront of the fight to control and eradicate the Corona virus out of Nigeria. From production and distribution of hand sanitizers to outright manufacture and distribution of medicines recommended for use in curbing COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists are involved. Pharmacists are drug experts, committed to ensuring rational use of all medicines, including those used for the Covid-19 pandemic in order to assure maximum patient safety at all times.
We will not relent until the Corona pandemic becomes history in Nigeria.
Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Amibor PharmD, MPH, FPCPharm
National Chairman AHAPN
Dr. Hafiz Akande PharmD.
National Secretary AHAPN