By Hassan Zaggi
The Federal Ministry of Health has called on Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to monitor strictly, supervise and build the capacity of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) to ensure quality pharmaceutical services.
The Head of Pharmaceutical Services Division, Food and Drug Services Department of the federal ministry of health, Mrs Beauty Okologo, gave the advice at a stakeholders meeting aimed at reviewing the Approved Patent Medicines List (APML).
The meeting was organised by the PSN under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PSN-PACFaH) @Scale in collaboration with the PCN.
Okologo insisted that PPMVs and Community Pharmacists (CPs) are critical private health sector players providing services to over 60 per cent of the populace.
“PPMVs are cadres that are lower than trained and licensed pharmacists so their capacity should be built. Monitoring and supervision of these cadre of practitioners is key, therefore regulatory bodies the PCN and NAFDAC should be up and doing,” she said.
According to her, access to this essential commodity would improve the health status of the people and reduce negative health indices.
Okologo however advised the PPMVs to work within their mandate adding that working contrary to the law would amount to effort in futility.
“Patent medicine vendors should have it in mind that this measure is to ensure improved health of the masses and they should work within the mandate giving to them otherwise the purpose will be defeated.
“I believe by the time the PPMVs see the positive side of government interventions those quacks that hawk drugs will be out of the game, “she noted.
Also, Ibrahim Ayuba, Programme Director Programme PACFaH @scale said the meeting was convened to ensure the PCN APML is strengthened to reflect current realities in the health space.
Ayuba says “With the present mal-distribution and unacceptably inadequate number of health practitioners in public sector to meet the growing health needs of the populace there was urgent need to beam search light on private sector players which contribute over 60 per cent services.”
He however assured of the commitment of PSN-PACFaH @ scale to support PCN, other government agencies and stakeholders to ensure increase access to quality health care services by Nigerians especially those in hard-to-reach where CPs and PPMVs to domiciled.
He decried the deaths of over 111 women and girls of reproductive age daily in the country from preventable and avoidable pregnancy and child birth related causes as well as one in eight children dying before their fifth birthday.
According to him, when the private sector are properly trained, supervised and provided with right commodities they can provide quality services that will lead to drastic reduction in nation maternal and child mortalities.
“Strengthening the PCN approved patent medicine list for PPMVs is among the first step toward achieving the goal of access to quality care to improve health outcomes and we are committed to support the council to achieve the set goal.
“I urge all stakeholders to bear in mind the lives of the most vulnerable women, children and girls in hard-to-reach communities. Let us put ourselves in their shoes and make recommendations that will lead to increase access and better health outcomes for all, “Ayuba said.
Also in his remarks, Mr Elijah Mohammed, Registrar of PCN noted that the council was collaborating with Integrate project an NGO to build the capacity of CPs and PPMVs to improve access to affordable, quality Family Planning (FP) services.