‘Lack of Viable Drug Revolving Fund Threatens National Security’

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Martins Ifijeh

The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), has expressed concern over the lack of viable Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) in hospitals across the country, adding that this is capable of compromising national security.

Stating this in a communiqué at the 20th Annual National Scientific Conference of the association held in Rivers State recently, and made available to THISDAY, it said if the DRF is put in place, patient satisfaction with healthcare delivery will be ensured, while prescribers and dispensers will also have job satisfaction leading to fewer brain drains, with medical tourism drastically reduced.

The communiqué reads in part: “Any Drug Revolving Fund scheme allowed to operate without depletion of funds or decapitalisation is also guaranteed to generate revenue for the health institution.

“The operational guidelines for DRF include provision of adequate take off capital, appropriate training of all operators, setting up of a DRF Committee, maintaining separate accounts with the Head of Department of Pharmacy as mandatory signatory, protecting the integrity of the DRF, and abiding by cost recovery policy, among others.
“The goal of the National Drug Policy (NDP) is to make drug available, qualitative, affordable, and effective at all times to the Nigerian populace, in other to ensure the rational use of such drugs, and to stimulate increased local production of essential drugs.”

The conference concluded that for NDP to be effective, part of the strategies for its implementation include the DRF, drug selection, price policy, drug distribution and storage, among others.

The communiqué also called on government at all levels to ensure that viable DRF schemes are put in place in all state and federal hospitals, adding that they should be mandated to operate along the guidelines in order to reap the maximum benefits from the scheme.

“Some of the barriers to implementing pharmaceutical care in Nigeria include pharmacist’s attitude and resistance to change; education and training; health systems barriers; and remuneration.

“We therefore enjoin all pharmacists to embrace pharmaceutical care as an add-on to traditional roles. Despite the identified barriers, all pharmacists must arm themselves with the relevant advanced knowledge and skills,” the communiqué noted.

At the end of the conference, a total of eight scientific papers were presented on a range of research topics by hospital and administrative pharmacists across the country, while the second edition of the association’s journal rebranded The Health System Pharmacist, was unveiled at the opening ceremony.