Pharmacy technicians are important stakeholders of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Council is committed to regulating and enhancing their operations, Pharm. N.A.E. Moahmmed, registrar, PCN, has said.
Speaking with Pharmanews in an interview recently, Pharm. Mohammed disclosed that PCN, as part of its transformational drive, has taken some giant strides in the regulation of pharmacy technicians.
According to Mohammed, the PCN, in December 2015, organised an interactive forum with provosts of accredited Colleges/Schools of Health Technology and heads of departments of pharmacy technicians training programme to, among other things, review pharmacy technicians training curriculum. This he said was to boost its content in line with global best practices to enhance their practice, eligibility for admission into Nigerian universities through direct entry and eligibility for commissioning into certain higher cadres in the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The PCN, the registrar said, has also approved the request of the Ogun State College of Health Technology, for retraining of holders of pharmacy technicians certificates of the college who graduated between year 2000 and 2015 when the programme had not been accredited by the Council, adding that a special sandwich programme was currently being organised for the 1,200 students at Colleges of Health Technology in Lagos, Kwara and Oyo States.
The PCN registrar also disclosed that the Council had equally reviewed the Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors guidelines which give preference to pharmacy technicians to operate the shops, with and expanded list of medicines and new designation.
He added that the PCN had similarly reviewed the entry qualification for the pharmacy degree programme with the National Universities Commission (NUC) in order to accord recognition to pharmacy technician certificates from PCN accredited Colleges/Schools of Health Technology for direct entry.
Pharm. Mohammed further disclosed that there is an ongoing review of the PCN enabling ACT, noting that Pharmacy Technician is being recommended to be in the membership of the Governing Council.
He revealed that the PCN, aside developing a mandatory continuing professional development module for pharmacy technicians, also in March 2016 developed a proposed strategies, guidelines and standard operating procedures for the commencement and implementation of national pre-certification examination.
The PCN, the registrar noted, is also collaborating with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) for proper placement of pharmacy technicians within the framework of primary health care services so that they can head the drug stores at the local government headquarters and handle the dispensing of drugs at the facility levels.
Other steps taken by the PCN, according to Pharm. Mohammed, include the review of the accreditation process to include private Colleges/Schools of Health Technology to train pharmacy technicians, thereby increasing the number of pharmacy technicians produced annually in the country.
The Council, he said, has also ensured a 67 per cent increase in admission quota for pharmacy technician applicants for the accredited Colleges/Schools of Health Technology, as well as increasing the number of College/Schools of Health Technology accredited for the training of pharmacy technicians from 18 in year 2009 to 26 in 2016.