National Chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Samuel Adekola, has called on the Federal Government to develope appropriate legal and regulatory framework for community pharmacies in Nigeria as in other parts of the world.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Annual National Conference of ACPN in Abuja, Adekola said the benefits of Community Pharmacies as primary healthcare delivery facilities would be maximised if the authorities unlock the pool of potentials inherent in this class of health care providers. According to him, the country would achieve Universal Health Coverage through appropriate assessment and full utilisation of every strata of healthcare delivery system in Nigeria, including Community Pharmacists.“Community pharmacists are the health professionals most accessible to the public and are a cornerstone of primary health care.
The role of community pharmacists is expanding globally.
“The population should benefit from universal and appropriate access to community pharmacies, through enabling community pharmacy planning.
“This may be achieved through licensing of new community pharmacies based on demographic and/or geographical criteria as well as economic incentives.”
He also advocated for “optimizing and expanding the outreach of existing pharmacies, for instance through the establishment of branch pharmacies,” he said.
He decried the free field to practice given to quacks whereas decent professional pharmacists are stifled with over regulation.
Adekola, who identified lack of basic infrastructure to unfriendly government regulatory policies like multiple taxation as some of the challenges Nigerian Community Pharmacists are facing in the country, appealed for the inclusion of Community Pharmacists in the National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee as well as in the States and the full incorporation of Community Pharmacy in the National Health Insurance Scheme as it is done in other climes.
“During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic for instance, Community Pharmacists who are the first port of call for health interventions of varying depths were not covered by any form of insurance and benefit package in Nigeria, but these same cadre of personnel were singled out for praise by United Kingdom Prime, Minister Boris Johnson for sustaining services when Doctor’s Clinics in the private sector were closed in the throes of the plague of COVID-19.
The UK Government went further by approving the sum of 300 million Pounds to cushion the welfare and logistics plans for Community Pharmacists in the UK, apart from regular provision of PPE, masks and medical gloves to the Community Pharmacists and their support staff.
However in Nigeria, no Community Pharmacist has been able to access a dime from the 100 billion Naira Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) health sector intervention funds.
“This year’s Conference is aimed at bringing to fore the avalanche of values and benefits community pharmacists are capable of adding to primary health care delivery in our Country so that the government and its apparatus can be motivated to take the bold step of unlocking the pool of potentials inherent in this class of health care providers as being advocated by the World Health Organisation to the benefits of the greater percentage of the people of Nigeria.
Dr. Adekola listed distinguished Nigerians for recognition by ACPN, including Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, Former Governor of Kano State, Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Senator Sodiq Umar among others.