The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has appealed to the newly elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a pharmacist as next minister of health.
In a communiqué signed by its president, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, the society argued that such appointment had eluded its members for several years under various administrations.
“The norm now is to appoint seasoned administrators and managers with cognate experience to run modern day health care. With benefits of insight, we assure relevant decision-makers that we have a preponderance of such persons in the pharmacy profession.
This development is coming on the heels of speculations that a technocrat or a health professional with medical background could emerge as the next minister to pilot the affairs of the health sector. The last time a pharmacist rose close to a similar position was during the short-lived interim government of Ernest Shonekan when Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi (incumbent president of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy) was made the minister of health and human resources,” the statement said.
The PSN further stressed that the marginalisation suffered by pharmacists is not limited to the ministerial level but equally affects other areas, such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) and the amendment bill to correct the obnoxious decree 10 of 1985.
“In the spirit of broad spectrum of reforms, the PSN recalls the monumental injustice meted out to its teeming members in Nigeria’s version of a social insurance scheme. For over 5 years now, the NHIS encourages unlawful payment mechanisms dubbed global capitation, while HMOs also capitate secondary and tertiary facilities which outrightly disrupts the equilibrium of the health system,” the PSN stated.
The Akintayo-led society demanded a well-defined welfare package for health workers, which redresses controversies that have led to recurrent and perennial strike actions.
According to the PSN communiqué, some of the recurrent welfare issues the society considers relevant include:implementation of the circular on promotion of its members from CONHESS 14 to 15, as directors, which places premium on the need to sanction defaulting hospital managements; specific steps to be taken by head of service of the federation to ensure expedited issuance of an enabling circular authorising consultancy cadre for health professionals that have adhered to due process to be vested with consultancy status.
“We want payment of arrears of specialist allowances to qualified hospital-based health professionals with effect from January 1, 2010, to be ensured with further delay. Flowing from those two earlier requests, the PSN strongly demands that the federal ministry of health must come up with a circular on residency programmes for all health professionals in Nigeria” it emphasised.
Aside from calling for immediate and full payment of arrears accruing from skipping of CONHESS 10 which remain outstanding since 2010, the society said it was high time an amendment bill was sponsored to correct, once and for all, the litany of contentious provisions in the obnoxious decree 10 of 1985 (CAP U15 463) LFN 2004 which formalises marginalisation of all health workers by doctors in the country.