By Job Osazuwa, Lagos
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called on the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocation to the country’s health sector.
At a briefing in Lagos, heralding its 2021 national conference holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers State the president of the society, Sam Ohuabunwa, said that achieving a quality health care delivery requires adequate funding and proper monitoring of the fund.
Saying that five per cent budgetary allocation on the health sector against the recommended 15 per cent was inadequate and unacceptable, stressing that health is the most critical of all sectors.
He also demanded accountability on governments spending.
The president told reporters that he supports a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, stressing that there was no harm in taking the vaccine.
According to him, the government must intensify efforts to inform Nigerians on the importance of personal hygiene, stressing the need for mass health education at the grassroots.
Ohuabunwa charged organisations and individuals should support the government as it grapples with the challenges associated with the pandemic.
The theme of the conference, “COVID-19 Lessons: Broadening/Strengthening the Nigerian Pharmaceutical/ Health Sector”, promised to address contemporary issues covering the health, economy and social life of Nigerians.
‘The health of Nigerians should be a priority. Mental health should be an integral part of primary health care, given that some of the none pharmaceutical measures adopted to contain the spread of the virus could impact people’s mental health.
‘The Nigeria health care system could have succumbed to pressure if we had been hit as hard as the western world. The negligence of the primary health care structure over the years would have thrown up blown repercussions.
‘Community pharmacies should be officially recognised as primary health care centres as it is the world best practice,’ he said.
On setting priority right, the pharmacist stated: ‘We need to really cut cost. It is sad that every contract government awards is loaded with one thing or the other. We need to be more efficient and change our procurement mechanism. Our contractors also need to be assured that they get their money timely from the government.
‘It must be noted that these problems did not start today. One of the best ways to tackle corruption is to be proactive by reducing the poverty rate in Nigeria. I have travelled across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and I have seen how people are suffering.’
Urging Nigerians to take the vaccines, he said: ‘COVID-19 vaccines are safe. PSN position is that everybody should get vaccinated. In fact, I suggest that vaccines should be made mandatory. I have been practising that in my home and my company.’
On the line-up of activities for the programme beginning from November 1 to 6, on behalf of the organising committee, Chris Ehimien said that about 4000 delegates were expected at the event.
He announced that over 100 pharmaceutical companies would be part of the event. He also assured that researchers, inventors and administrators would be on the ground to make it worthwhile for all that will attend.