The federal government has been called upon to give due recognition to Community Pharmacists in the unrelenting fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The pharmacists under the aegis of Association of Community Pharmacists called for the immediate inclusion of Community Pharmacists among healthcare practitioners to benefit from the distribution of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and every other palliatives designed for the healthcare sector at this time of unrelenting fight against COVID-19.
The National Chairman of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Samuel Oluwaoromipin Adekola, in a statement lamented that in Africa, Nigeria has conducted less than 15,000 tests compared to Ghana, which has done close to 70,000 tests; South Africa over 100,000 tests, and even Egypt having close to 60,000 conducted tests.
He attributed the set back to the Nigerian government’s failure to engage the private sector, particularly community pharmacies and the preponderance of private laboratories.
“The healthcare sector, especially in the downstream, prominently positioned community pharmacies as a veritable instrument for positive healthcare interventions in our country just as in other advanced economies,” he said.
Adekola called for the immediate engagement of community pharmacists in community data gathering and eventual COVID-19 testing with rapid molecular diagnostic strips, saying this initiative could become a game changer as currently witnessed in developed countries.
“As Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), they are in line with the government’s mandate in providing healthcare service as social responsibility to the populace,” he added.
However, Adekola said finding a favourable and low-priced funding has been a big barrier to the growth and continuous existence of community Ppharmacy endeavours in Nigeria; worse still is the challenge of products prices astronomical increase that has characterised the COVID-19 era across the world.
While appreciating the recent federal government intervention through Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the N100 billion intervention fund established for essential services, Adekola sai: “We seriously call on the federal government to prevail on the CBN to forthwith establish special fund in the like manner as done during this COVID-19 intervention as a permanent platform for the growth of community pharmacy in Nigeria with the understanding that community pharmacy segment of the pharmaceutical value chain was pivotal as the major link between the manufacturing and consumers of healthcare with huge potential of gainful employment generation.”