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Emergence of State Health Insurance Schemes

Emergence of State Health Insurance Schemes

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
Over the years, the failure of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to fulfill its primary objective of providing the required health insurance coverage for all Nigerians has compounded the fortunes of those at the lowest rung of the economic ladder. A ray of hope that emerged through the approval of one percent from the Consolidated Revenue Fund by the Federal Government in 2018 budget remains the key to the provision of basic healthcare for all Nigerians irrespective of their financial status. The move, essentially, was to enable the funding of projects, programmes and policies towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria by 2025. The goal of the UHC, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is to ensure that all people and communities obtain he...
Beyond Inaugurating Cancer Centre in Lagos

Beyond Inaugurating Cancer Centre in Lagos

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
On 9th February, this year, President Muhammadu Buhari officially commissioned an utra-modern cancer treatment centre in Lagos - executed through Public-Private-Partnership agreement by the Federal Government and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. The ceremony, according to President Buhari, represents a bold step by his administration to fulfill its promise of establishing one cancer centre per geo-polilical zone in the country. Revamping the nation’s health sector to provide long-term chronic care is very crucial and the concept of PPP is key to facilitating efficient and effective control of the deadly disease. However, setting up one cancer centre in nearly four years may not be the best of propositions to cover a country with a population of close to two hundred milli
New PCN Law – Long overdue

New PCN Law – Long overdue

Editorial Opinion
The passage last year of the new Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill by the national assembly was long overdue even though it generated commendable reactions from stakeholders in the health sector. We believe that it is better late than never to have a law that will boost efforts aimed at sanitising the pharmacy services in the country. Before the passage of the bill, the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), the body responsible for the regulation of pharmacy practice in the country operated like a lame duck due to the weaknesses in enforcing the Acts setting it up. But now it is expected that when the bill is signed into law by President Mohammadu Buhari, the PCN will be sufficiently empowered and adequately strengthened to deliver effectively on its mandate. Pharmacy practice in Nige...
Return of Lassa fever And the Need for Vigilance

Return of Lassa fever And the Need for Vigilance

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
The report that there is fresh outbreak of Lassa fever should sound a note of warning to the Government and the people of Nigeria. As we have all learned, early action against any epidemic is absolutely critical to save lives. The virulence of Lassa fever is not in doubt. With over 50 deaths recorded in Ondo State as a result of Lassa fever outbreak, residents, as well as medical practitioners, are in panicky mood. It is worrisome that as at press time the epidemic disease has found its way into Plateau, Ebonyi, and most recently Edo state. The return of Lassa fever in the country, especially the pace of spread of the virus is a grim reminder that epidemics are a threat and that the only way to get this virus under control is through rapid response. It would be recalled that an outbr...
Time to Equip NAFDAC

Time to Equip NAFDAC

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
The Director General of National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye made a shocking revelation recently in Lagos when she said that 80 percent of her agency’s equipment is not working. Interestingly, she made the revelation while receiving members of the Senate Committee on Health who were in Lagos on a fact finding mission of state of affairs of federal health institutions located in Lagos state. The NAFDAC boss also used the opportunity of the occasion to inform her guests that the last time officials of the World Health Organisation visited NAFDAC Laboratory in Yaba, Lagos, the agency was scored zero by the global health watchdog. Prof. Adeyeye’s revelation is commendable and indicates that her administration is prepared to take the agency
Adherence to Professional Ethics, Panacea to Qualitative Healthcare in Nigeria

Adherence to Professional Ethics, Panacea to Qualitative Healthcare in Nigeria

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
The need for observance of ethical practices by healthcare professionals in Nigeria dominated discussions by experts during the 2018 edition of the World Pharmacists Day celebrations that held in Lagos recently. Various speakers who spoke on the theme, ‘Pharmacists: Your Medicine Experts’, identified unethical practices as one of the reasons why the nation’s health sector continues to falter after 58 years of Nigeria’s independence. President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, who was among the speakers, alerted the nation at the occasion when he said that professionals in health have crossed their legitimate sphere of practice by taking responsibilities that are outside of their core training. He wondered why healthcare professionals without training
NMA/ JOHESU Conflict: A Feverish Anticipation for Peace and Harmony

NMA/ JOHESU Conflict: A Feverish Anticipation for Peace and Harmony

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
The recent indefinite nationwide strike embarked on in April by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has had its fair share of influence on the nation’s healthcare system. In the course of the unfolding events, it was suggested by some Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) state chapters that JOHESU was engaging in acts of sabotage in their health institutions. On the other hand, JOHESU members accused the medical doctors of deliberately scuttling the implementation of agreement the federal government had earlier entered with its members, including upward review of CONHESS. Over the years health watchers have observed the inner wrangling and somewhat mutual distrust going on in the health sector – from federal to the states levels. It has been no love lost between the medical doctors and
Aftermath of ACPN Elections: Time to Forge Ahead

Aftermath of ACPN Elections: Time to Forge Ahead

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
The 37th annual national conference of ACPN ended recently in Benin, the Edo State capital with the election of new leaders who are to preside over the affairs of the body of community pharmacists in the next 3 years. In the keenly contested election, Pharm. Samuel Oluwaoromipin Adekola, former national vice chairman and community pharmacist from Akure, Ondo State polled a total of 292 votes to edge out his closest rival and community pharmacist from Rivers State, Pharm. Chima Ogbu who polled a total of 288 votes. In a post-election statement Pharm. Ogbu had cried foul, alleging that he was denied victory by what he described as ‘official conspiracy’. Whatever that statement signifies, the allegation is weighty and should not be swept under the carpet by the Adekola led-administration in
Time to Declare Emergency in Healthcare Sector

Time to Declare Emergency in Healthcare Sector

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
President Muhammadu Buhari recently hinted that his administration is considering upward review of budgetary allocations to the health sector in order to enhance the quality and access to medical facilities across the country. The president reportedly made the disclosure while receiving in audience the new leadership of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), recently at the state house, Abuja. The urgency of more funding for the health sector is presently underlined by the unprecedented level of deterioration of the sector in all fronts: inadequacy of medical facilities, 35,000 medical doctors attending to over 180 million people, brain drain, absence of modern equipment, high cost of drugs, high morbidity and mortality rates among numerous other challenges facing the healthcare system in Ni...
Extended GAVI Support Not Reason To Rest on Our Oars

Extended GAVI Support Not Reason To Rest on Our Oars

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
Since 2002 Nigeria has been receiving intervention assistance from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI). And as the government strives to overcome regional inequities in vaccine access to save children’s lives and protect people’s health, a number of constraining factors have been the bane of the exercise so far, especially funding. Just recently, it was in the news that Nigeria will not yet graduate from the GAVI Alliance intervention funds until at least ten years from now. This is due to the extension of the ‘expiration term’ of Nigeria so as to enable the country get ready for proper take over. The information that was made public by the honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole was coming at a time the nation is battling to cope with how to bring to an e
NHIS Funds: Universal Health Coverage, Public Malfeasance and the Rest of Us

NHIS Funds: Universal Health Coverage, Public Malfeasance and the Rest of Us

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
In June of 2017 news came filtering in regarding the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Usman Yusuf, and the investigations that followed bore strong allegations of gross misconduct and fraud to the tune of N919m. Subsequently, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole suspended the NHIS boss while investigations by EFCC and ICPC were underway. The Minister’s own panel set up to investigate the said allegations found Yusuf guilty of nepotism and theft of public funds – leading to his suspension together with eight other top officials of the NHIS. From statements coming from official quarters, obviously a lot of malfeasance has for long been going on in that agency under the federal ministry of health, in that there had been a h
Drug Abuse: Need For Community Pharmacists to Complement NAFDAC’s Activities

Drug Abuse: Need For Community Pharmacists to Complement NAFDAC’s Activities

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
It will be stating the obvious to say that drug abuse has attained a new and higher dimension in Nigeria. But recent efforts and achievements of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) clearly testify to the fact of the enormity of the problems on our hands, as well as the agency’s unalloyed resolve to substantially curb this menace. Just recently, among other achievements, and actions carried out by the agency, was the confiscation and destruction of expired drugs, food, cosmetics, as well as expired drinks worth N80 million. Within the same period the agency also in a related development confiscated two truckloads of tramadol - a drug used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is pertinent to note that this ‘simple’ medicine works in a manner
The Expediency of Local Drug and Vaccine Production

The Expediency of Local Drug and Vaccine Production

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
Making adequate healthcare available to Nigerians is a major challenge just as almost two-thirds of the population exists below the poverty level. Part of the general objectives of medicine availability as espoused by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in its last annual conference held in Umuahia, Abia State, is basically to increase locally manufactured medicines. Furthermore, the body of pharmacists aims to achieve about 70 percent local production as against the current 40 per cent of total medicines consumed in Nigeria – working in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health. And this ought to be the spirit. Sometime ago when Nigeria had a Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) outbreak in March last year, we had to wait for vaccines to be supplied from overseas while 282 people
Fake Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril Resurfaces In Nigeria

Fake Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril Resurfaces In Nigeria

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
•As new NAFDAC DG Promises Hell for Promoters of Counterfeit Medicines There are strong indications that fake Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril anti-hypertensive medicines have resurfaced in drug markets across the country and this is coming as the new director- general of NAFDAC is sending a strong warning to promoters of counterfeit medicines to desist from their criminal activities or face the consequences. The circulation of fake versions of Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril became subject of media headlines late 2016 when the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) officials, apparently acting on a tip-off, paid unscheduled visit to a drug market in Lagos and consequently, sealed about 5 shops in connection with un-registered Teva products. The Lagos visit by
Nigeria Pharma Industry: Time to Harvest a Ripe Opportunity

Nigeria Pharma Industry: Time to Harvest a Ripe Opportunity

Editorial Opinion, NEWS
It is no longer news perhaps that the worth of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry is a paltry estimate of about $1.3bn - accounting for less than 0.25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At least this much was allualded to by Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), at the recently held 90th Annual Conference of the Society in Umuahia, Abia State, last November. This is a rather disturbing picture of a nation as richly endowed as Nigeria, on the premise that Nigeria, assuming the part of a leading light, has as much as over 150 pharmaceutical manufacturers registered! But the country, nay West Africa, and indeed the entire continent are ripe for harvest, and we do not seem to be awake to that great opportunity that beckons. Nigeria therefore nee