By Henry Uche
The president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Sam Ohuabunwa, has called on Nigerians to regularly go for medical screening of their liver and get vaccinated (if need be) as the knowledge of one’s status would help to take decisions concerning one’s liver condition, since the liver remains the chemical factory of the body.
At an event sponsored by Mega Life Sciences, Ohuabunwa, who made this call in Lagos last week as WHO marked the World Hepatitis Day, with the theme, “Hepatitis Can’t Wait,” noted that indiscriminate use, abuse and wrong administration of drugs sets one at risk of liver damage.
“It is reported that every 30 seconds someone dies from a hepatitis-related illness, which has been worsened by the current COVID-19 crisis. Pharmacists can’t wait to act on viral hepatitis. We must individually take responsibility of our life; it belongs to you, not any other person. So, we must take issues concerning our body organs very seriously. We need to undergo regular check, and get vaccinated, where necessary. We must also desist from poor management of drugs. They could be dangerous to our health. We must all key into the vision of WHO of eradicating hepatitis by 2030.”
On the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the pharmacist maintained that COVID-19 has worsened viral hepatitis, thus PSN is interested in the whole wellness of Nigerians. He noted that concerted efforts are needed to wage war against the Delta variant ravaging some countries like Senegal.
The PSN president decried the low percentage of Nigerians who have been vaccinated against COVID-19; he called for the re-invigoration and revalidation of Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) and prudent management of the fund by tertiary health institutions, as well partnership between drug management organizations and health maintenance organizations.
He bemoaned the unchecked sale of drugs across the country by unqualified persons, adding that the PSN Law, when passed, would address the many anomalies in the health sector.
“Present statistics available shows that, from March 5 to July 10, population who are fully vaccinated are about 1,404,740 (0.70 per cent), those who received first dose are about 1,129,465 people (0.56 per cent) while about 198,465,795 people (98.74 per cent) are unvaccinated. This unacceptable gap in vaccination is too bad when Delta variant is ravaging.
“We call on the CBN to make forex available for those who have received loan to acquire machinery and critical raw materials. We call on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure central posting of intern pharmacists as they are doing for house officers. The internship training is a prerequisite for the licensure of pharmacists. Interns are an invaluable support in pharmaceutical care delivery in our public health institutions.
“FMH should come out with end date for the National Drug Distribution Guideline implementation. We need sanity in our drug distribution system. The present chaotic system is not only causing proliferation of fake and counterfeit medicines but is also fuelling insecurity.
“In the past few weeks, the security agencies have arrested some individuals with alarming quantities of controlled drugs and poisons. Pharmacists will no longer watch our youth destroyed by preponderance of drug abuse and our beloved country drift into anarchy, with frightening levels of violence, fuelled by drug use due to the inactions of our institutions empowered by law to safeguard public health and safety,”
He called on government across levels to desist from dilly-dallying attitude and match their words with expected actions: “Government should be serious for once. All these lackadaisical and reneging attitude should stop forthwith. All the nonsense happening here cannot happen even within Africa, let’s respect our words and do the right things, this electronic transmission of results will exposed the real color of the National Assembly and the executive the younger generation is watching.”