In this interview with GBENRO ADEOYE, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Olumide Akintayo, comments on the challenges in the health sector, National politics and other sundry issues
The National Universities Commission recently reversed its approval of the Doctor of Pharmacy, why was this?
I will be bold and honest to admit there were problems. Incidentally, these problems were in-house to a large extent especially from some of our universities. I must thank NUC for doing its job professionally and identifying the grains of sand in our shoes before things degenerate to an irredeemable calamity.
Having said this, we are working to redress the dimensions of drawbacks to put in place a format that is procedurally acceptable to the NUC.
The changing roles of pharmacists have benefited several countries that have adopted Pharm. D degree in health care services improvement and the quality of lives of patients. The pharmacist is physically present and professionally active to contribute to the positive outcomes of drug therapy. In addition, he is able to save drug costs and prevent unnecessary wastages because of his intervention at the right time before drug administration. After drug administration, he also monitors the action of the drug and the response of the patient as well as making necessary interventions to minimise drug-related problems. None of these roles encroach on the roles of other health care practitioners, including medical doctors.
With due respect to my teachers, senior colleagues and colleagues, the call for downing of tool by the doctors is needless having read the ratio in which the strike was called upon.
Over the years, having worked within and outside Nigeria both in clinical and public health domains, I am strongly obliged to state that the nation’s health drawbacks are essentially caused by doctors who ordinary are meant to be the leaders of the health team. It suffices to state that, while it is true that the leadership of the health team is like a birth right, their roles and responsibility are equally a birth right, only when these are aligned that we can claim the leadership of the heath team. Come to think of the request placed before the federal government, It is sad to note that the issues are quite petty and trivial to culminate to such a decision that will result to irreversible consequences and loss of lives.
As a medical doctor with over fourteen years experience, I have never had a course to question if I am the head of any health team where I found myself as the most senior doctor or the only doctor in a collection of health practitioners in a health mission, for the simple reason that, I know my bound and appreciated that even the weakest link in my team count. I will also not pursue vanity to a disreputable feat. The posture and activities of my colleagues both at the public and private sectors is appalling, such that it has left some of us who have seen our shortfalls and have made or shown some resentment to it are seen as deviance. We must note that what we think and promote is what can endear us or otherwise to the good books of the government, other health workers and the general public.
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PATIENTS are now turning to private health clinics, hospitals and pharmacists as the nationwide strike of members of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) enters day two. Many are also deserting the various hospitals in the face of the doctors’ action.
In Ilorin, Kwara State, The Guardian investigations showed that many pharmaceutical centres in the ancient town have partially become consulting centres as patients now turn to pharmacists for some of their health needs.
Besides, many privately owned clinics are being heavily patronized by patients especially those on emergencies’ needs. Nurses often have their residences besieged by patients in need of minor medical attention.
Some residents of the town have sharply criticized the doctors for embarking on the strike noting, “why should they go on strike? Did they not consider the number of people that will die due to the non-availability of doctors? I think they should call it off because at the end of the day they will still be paid for the services not rendered, “ according to Tajudeen Akanbi of Awodi Area of Ilorin.