By Doris Obinna
Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State branch, has asked the state government to lift the suspension on the consultant cadre for pharmacists in its employ allegedly imposed in 2018. Its chairman, Oyekunle Babayemi, urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to without further delay lift the suspension.
He said the high incidence of politics in the health sector “is responsible for the reduction of output in healthcare to a peculiar Nigerian type of health system as against international best practices.”
Other pertinent issues raised included; the circularisation of the consultant cadre for pharmacists; setting up a viable Faculty of Pharmacy at Lagos State University (LASU); payment of retention allowance to pharmacists and establishment of consultancy cadre for pharmacists.
Babayemi disclosed: “In 2018, government approved consultancy cadre for pharmacists in the public sector but suspended the same benefit package on the promptings of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA). That is the way it still stands till today.
“This discourse of a freshly approved consultant cadre for pharmacists by the Federal Government becomes the ideal time to call on the state government, Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to entrench the consultant cadre earlier approved but suspended across board in the state.
“It is imperative to impress on the government that healthcare is driven by international best practices and therefore cannot be restricted to the humongous as well as insatiable appetite to regulate through slowing down the growth and development of other professions by Nigerian physicians.
“The consultancy cadre is a reality across the globe from the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), France and Austria to African countries including Ghana, Sierra-Leone, Egypt and South Africa.
“It is largely driven by a need for pharmacists to have the right knowledge to help support our patients. As challenges come with complications in patient therapy where care providers have to deal with multiple disease states in one patient, pharmacists must adequately respond by acquiring these competencies to bring deliverables in the value chain of healthcare delivery.
“LASU must recognise and approve the consultancy cadre for all deserving health workers to boost competencies/capacities in peaceable dispensations and emergencies which are bound to arise.”
“In the twilight of the March 18, 2023 gubernatorial elections when we had tripartite consultations on the platform of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU)/Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP)/PSN (Lagos State) and a delegation of LASG chieftains led by the Special Adviser, Labour to the Governor, one of the areas of mutual agreement was to commence the payment of retention allowances to pharmacists and the entire pharmacy workforce.
“It leaves a very sour taste in the mouth that pharmacists were not part of the pioneer group of beneficiaries of this package and it becomes condemnable that the state government is still foot-dragging on this request.”
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