In apocalyptic terms the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria considers it necessary that the in-coming APC administration come up with specific action plans in the reflected areas even when it is not limited to these items:
1. Universal Health Coverage – incorporating fully Community Based Social Health Insurance Programme (CBSHIP)
A need for universal coverage is acceptable, but the condition precedent is to harness and consolidate the philosophy of a managed care concept that is statute entrenched. To achieve quality assurance in our version of social health insurance, it is important to encapsulate the below:
• Access to basic health as a fundamental right of the Nigerian citizen.
• Proper implementation of the primary health care endeavors as canvassed in the new National Health Act.
• Canvass a consolidated healthcare funding which requires first line deduction of at least one per cent for healthcare delivery. This helps in funding the subsidy gap to ensure good healthcare.
• Promote the culture of corporate social responsibility by enlisting support of the banking, oil and gas and telecoms sectors which are the frontliners in the Nigerian economy.
2. Well defined welfare package for health workers which redresses attendant stress junctions that have resulted in recurrent and perennial strike actions. Some of the recurrent welfare issues the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria considers relevant includes but not limited to:
i. Implementation of the spirit of the new circular on promotion of our members from Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) 14 to 15 as directors which places premium on the need to sanction defaulting hospital managements.
ii. Specific steps must be taken by the Head of Service of the Federation to ensure the expedited issuance of an enabling circular authorizing consultancy cadre for health professionals that have adhered to due process, to be vested with consultancy status as a prelude to inculcating this cadre into the schemes of service of these health professionals.
iii. Payment of arrears of specialist allowances to qualified hospital based health professionals with effect from January 1, 2010, should be ensured without any delay whatsoever.
iv. Flowing from 2 and 3 above the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) strongly demands that the Federal Ministry of Health must now come up with a circular on residency programmes for all health professionals in Nigeria.
v. Immediate and full payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10 which remains outstanding since the year 2010.
vi. Immediate and unconditional release of the circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014 and immediate payment of at least 2 months arrears, while the balance is accommodated with proven evidence in the 2015 budget.
vii. Sponsoring an amendment bill to correct once and for all the litany of contentious provisions in the obnoxious decree 10 of 1985 (CAP U15 463) LFN 2004 which formalizes the marginalization of all health workers by Doctors in the following areas:
(a) Lopsided Composition of the Board Of Management
(b) Appointment of Chief Executive Offers (CEOs) of Federal Health Institutions
(c) Appointment of Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (C-MAC)
(d) Appointment of Deputy Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (C-MAC)
(e) Training of Health Professionals
(f) Removal of the Borders of Restriction on Permanent Staff of Federal Health Institutions
3. An acceptable Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative for some services in the health system to promote efficacy, boost competences and build capacity in the private sector. The PPP models must be worked out with the relevant professional associations’ trade unions in the health sector and professional regulatory councils as they arise. Under no circumstance should public facilities be turned into commercial ventures which makes life difficult for citizens and health workers.
4. In the Public interest, government at the centre must come up with reforms that will usher a petrochemical industry which is the precursor for genuine industrial revolution across board. The moment Nigeria comes up with benzene plants, then the inertia for primary manufacturing at all levels is established in contrast to the stuttering fortunes which we have continually witnessed in our country. This helps us to locally source laboratory reagents and chemicals, X-ray films and other health specific needs.
At a time when we place emphasis on diverse sources of IGR because a mono-based economy comes with too much limitations and complications, government must exploit the vast expertise available in the pharmaceutical sector by making Nigeria a destination of choice for drug manufacturing in the foreseeable future. The other dimension is that, the envisage chemical reforms checkmates gas flaring, which makes it imperative that such waste will be channeled to meet some of our power related needs
5. Investment in research and development through substantial dedication of funds for the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and other Research Institutes. It is the shame of a nation that at time of national health emergences we depend entirely on other nations to provide vaccines and medicines for clinical disease states that are exclusive to the tropics. This must change in the envisaged new dispensation.
6. NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME (NHIS)
In the spirit of the broad spectrum of reforms, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) recalls the monumental injustice meted out to its teeming members in Nigeria’s version of a social insurance scheme. For over 5 years now the NHIS encourages unlawful payment mechanisms dubbed global capitation, while HMOs also capitates secondary and tertiary facilities which out rightly disrupts the equilibrium of the health system.
7. APPOINTMENT OF MINISTER FOR HEALTH
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) wishes to passionately appeal to Your Excellency on the choice of your appointment with regards to the next Minister for Health. For many years now this appointment continues to elude our members.
The norm now is to appoint seasoned administrators and managers of cognate experience to run modern day healthcare. With benefit of insight we assure relevant decision makers that we have a preponderance of such persons in the pharmacy profession.
*Olumide Akintayo is the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).