To commence the reduction of Nigeria’s disease burden by over 50 per cent from 2016, the gospel of good hygiene and other public health issues must be spread by health professionals in their practice facilities at community levels, while Environmental Health Officers must begin enforcement of health statutes, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has said.
Yakasai, who recently emerged PSN president, made the remark in Lagos, during his maiden media parley as PSN helmsman. He also called on the incumbent Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to introduce institutional reforms and strengthen the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to drive the processes which will compel the active participation of community pharmacists and physicians, environmental health officers, nurses, laboratory scientists and other public health experts at grass root levels, adding that these services must be paid for to incentivise these health care workers because their contributions would save the nation a lot of money spent on curative drugs.
The new PSN boss lamented that the fundamental problem with the nation’s health system is the unfortunate emphasis on curative rather than preventive health care, adding that the norm in civilised climes is to nurture and build a virile as well as viable primary health care model which embraces the utilisation of the skills, expertise and hands-on experience of all health care professionals and workers.
Pharm. Yakasai, while also speaking on the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, bemoaned a situation whereby anytime the nation had to contend with public health emergencies, it always had to resort to ad-hoc measures, rather than build structures that are enduring and sustainable.
He equally called for a review of Nigeria’s dependence on donor agencies, urging the government to create an enabling environment for local drug manufacturers, by way of intervention funds to enable them to produced needed rugs and even vaccines. He commended the Federal Government through the National Health Care Development Agency for recently organising stakeholders forum on vaccines production to stimulate interest and develop a business plan for local vaccines production in Nigeria, disclosing that the action of the government was commendable because the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation Initiatives (GAVI) is gradually withdrawing from Nigeria.
On his vision as the new PSN president, Pharm. Yakasai said his main aim is to strengthen the Society with collaborative participatory, responsive, and transparent leadership, adding that he will focus on measures to enhance the role of PSN by means of wider advocacy at various national and international fora.
The new PSN leadership, Pharm. Yakasai said, would also, among other things, work to stimulate public awareness and knowledge on various health, hygiene, sanitation issues and diseases, with specific emphasis on drugs, as well as promoting rational use of drugs with cooperation from the medical fraternity.