By Hassan Zaggi
The Federal Government has charged the Consultant Pharmacies cadre to make Research and Development a priority, ensure cutting edge skills that are of international standard are key and must be consistent in training.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, gave the charge at the sensitization workshop to kick-start the implementation of the Pharmacists Consultant Cadre within the healthcare system in Nigeria in Abuja, Tuesday.
He also charged them to ensure cross and professional harmony and understanding, insisting that, being leaders, they must do everything possible to ensure harmony in the health sector and also ensure that the healthcare system is a team work.
He recalled that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) on its part had since 22nd September 2015, directed all its Departments and Parastatals/Agencies to recognize and accept the students of the West African College of Pharmacists (WACP) for Residency Programme and provide necessary assistance to make the Programme a success.
This, the Minister stressed, is in line to develop the requisite manpower needed to feed the newly created Cadre.
He charged Consultant Pharmacists to dig deep to justify “this huge investment embarked upon by the Government in spite of its lean financial resources worsened by the global COVID-19 pandemic that has led to economic recession across the world.
“I wish to call on all participants at this workshop to pay attention and understand their specific roles in the successful and effective implementation of the new pharmacists Consultant Cadre, which essentially aims to improve healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
“The FMoH firmly believes the implementation of the new Consultant Pharmacists Cadre will no doubt ensure availability of specialized and highly skilled manpower in Pharmacy practice in Nigeria and would as part of general efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Next Level Agenda, encourage Pharmacists in Civil/Public service as well as stem medical tourism.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in Federal Ministry of Health, Abdullahi Mashi, the Minister disclosed that: “For the implementation of the approved scheme, the FMoH liaise with the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to include Consultant Pharmacists in the specialist’s allowance for consultant healthcare professionals.
“The salary structure for the Consultant Pharmacists Cadre is therefore contained as the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) 13 – 15, which is the equivalent of the Salary Grade Level (SGL) 15 – 17.”
Speaking, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the PCN, Prof Ahmed Mora, expressed optimism that with the commencement of the Consultant Pharmacists cadre, new skills acquired by the production and quality control pharmacists, will improve prophylaxis, diagnostics, and curative components like vaccines.
According to him: “It is in view of this recognition of the Pharmacist Consultant cadre by the Federal Government that the PCN, which has the mandate by Law to regulate and control Pharmacy education and training as well as practice, is organizing this workshop to kick-start series of workshops to follow in Lagos, Enugu and Kaduna to induct the Fellows that are now approved Consultants as they officially begin a new phase of their professional practice in the Federal, States and Local Government Councils, as well as in the organized private sector for the benefit of patients and the healthcare system.
“The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists has various faculties. There is the faculty of production and quality assurance. We expect that the propensity and accelerated development of pharmaceutical products whether they are solid dosage forms or syrups or vaccines are now enhanced.
“With these new skills acquired by the production and quality control pharmacists, it is expected that prophylaxis, diagnostics, and curative components like vaccines will now be brought to bear because these Consultants have been trained overtime but the recognition has not been there. Now the recognition is there in terms of remuneration and other packages, which will now serve as a motivator to do and give their best.”
On his part, the Registrar of the PCN, Pharm Elijah Mohammed, advised the new Consultant Pharmacists cadre not to see themselves as competitors with other professionals in the health sector.
He noted that: “The issue is not about supremacy but the issue is about the patient, and this new concept is focusing on the patients.
“Before now, the pharmacy practice was product focused. But the new concept now is patient-focused, that is, pharmaceutical care; what are the impacts of these drugs on the patient, and how the patient can get better with the administration of the drugs.
“Therefore, there is no room for competition among professionals because everybody has his own field of endeavour. With this, we should be expecting an increase in the level of Nigeria’s healthcare delivery to move from the position it is now to a better position.
“It is pertinent to note that today’s event is the opening ceremony that will kick start a series of Zonal sensitization workshops targeted at Consultant Pharmacists, in order to familiarize them with the newly approved cadre as well as the attendant responsibilities. Pharmacists have been equipped with vast skills sets which are yet to be fully deployed to achieve the desired result.
“I am confident that with this new cadre, there would be abundant opportunities to deploy every skill set acquired during the Consultancy training and to enable Pharmacists bring their specialized knowledge to bear on the healthcare system in Nigeria.”