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PSN raise concern over pharmacists’ exoduses

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By Usman Oladimeji

PSN laments the departure of 5,208 registered pharmacists from Nigeria.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, have called on the federal government to mitigate the rate at which pharmacists are departing the country as it laments on the mass exodus of 5,208 registered pharmacists from Nigeria in the last five years. It also condemned the stagnation of pharmacists in the civil service, bemoaning that most pharmacists in the Public Sector are not allowed to reach level 17, which is the peak of their careers.

In his statement at a press conference to herald its 95th Annual National Scientific, scheduled to hold in Jos, Plateau State, from the 31st of October to the 4th of November, themed “Medicine Security in an Unstable Economy”, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, PSN President, said in 2021, the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) confirmed that 803 Pharmacists received letters of good standing from the Council. Prof. Usifoh, who declared an emergency in pharmaceutical practice, explains that just like their counterparts in other health fields and many young Nigerians, these pharmacists left the country in search of the proverbial green pastures in countries like Canada, the UK and the United States.

PCN calls for a review of the scheme of service for pharmacists.

He asserts that there is a need for the Federal government to revert the trend with the provision of improved welfare, health care funding, infrastructures and enabling environment, among others. Prof. Usifoh further explains that WHO recommended a ratio of healthcare workers to the population of 23 to 1000 while in Nigeria, it is an abysmal 1.95 to 1000. Regarding the Pharmacists component, there are 0.07 Pharmacists to 1000 or 1 pharmacist to over 14,000 Nigerians. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the acceptable and recommended ratio of Pharmacists to the population is 1 Pharmacist to 2000 of the population.

Prof. Usifoh emphasizes the stagnation of pharmacists in the civil service, saying that the non-advancement to the high point of their careers has dampened the morale of public sector pharmacists. According to him, the current scheme of service for pharmacists, which came into existence in 2005, is long overdue for review. Thus, he solicits the review of the scheme to enable the promotion of pharmacists to level 17, which he expects to incorporate the enhanced entry point and enhanced call duty allowance for Pharm. D holders and the approved Consultancy Cadre for pharmacists.

The organization calls for salary restructuring.

Speaking on the implementation of the Pharmacists’ Consultancy Cadre, Prof. Usifoh lamented how pharmacists had been denied their rights to consultancy in the public sector following the approval of the Consultancy Cadre for Pharmacists in 2019 and the subsequent release of several extant circulars from 2020. He, therefore, requests the implementation of this circular across the board. Additionally, he also requested an upward review of the pharmacists (CONHESS) salary structure to reflect the current realities as adjusted for CONMESS.

Regarding the pharmacists in tertiary health institutions, Prof. Usifoh said that the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) and National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) have consistently denied the rights and some privileges of PCN members working in tertiary health institutions with the claim that only the aforementioned agencies could issue directives for implementation. He further solicits that the Federal Ministry of Health or any other agencies issuing out circulars also to direct the above agencies appropriately.

Stressing the cause and consequence of the mass exodus.

In the same vein, Dr. Lawal Mohammed, Chairman of the PSN, Kogi Chapter, also noted at the observance of World Pharmacists’ Day that pharmacists are suffering over poor remuneration due to the economic hardship caused by the global economic Recession. He stressed that the meagre pay, and poor Welfare contribute to why pharmacists depart the country. The gap left behind had unfortunately given rise to Quackery in the profession, thereby putting the lives of innocent people in danger.


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