In what many have described as unprecedented, the Bayelsa State government has engaged the services of 15 more pharmacists into the state’s hospital management board.
The appointment, which was announced recently, was greeted with jubilation by pharmacists in the state.
Speaking with Pharmanews, Pharm. Alek Okunbriowei, director of pharmaceutical services (DPS), Bayelsa Ministry of Health, remarked that the appointment was a welcome development, given the fact that the last time any pharmacist was employed into the state civil service (before the emergence of Governor Seriake Dickson as governor in 2012) was in 2005.
“The good news is that this governor, prior to the recent appointment, had earlier employed four more pharmacists between 2015 and 2016,” he noted.
Giving a brief background to the appointment, Okunbriowei explained that following the construction of the Bayelsa State Drug Distribution Centre, there was need to employ more pharmacists, since some older ones had retired and some others had left the system.
The 15 latest addition brings the total number of pharmacists in Bayelsa Civil Service to 30.
The Bayelsa State DPS further stated that the ‘restoration government’ of Dickson had so far proven to be a listening one.
“There are plans to build a modern and befitting central medical store in the state. This is presently captured in the 2018 budget proposal and the governor has given a nod to this project.
“The government is also currently building five referral hospitals in five local government areas which are in different stages of completion. Once they are ready, I am only hopeful it will create room for more pharmacists to be engaged,” he enthused.
While charging the media, especially Pharmanews, to delve deeper into health and pharmacy-related activities in states like Bayelsa, Okunbriowei, who joined the state’s hospitals management board about 20 years ago, declared that pharmacy-related activities in the state were grossly under-reported.
“Thank God, we still have a vibrant PSN branch which is poised to reposition the face of Pharmacy in Bayelsa and has been doing so creditably well,” he said.
Buttressing this view, Pharm. Tamaraotare Owota Johnson, managing director, Bayelsa State Drug Distribution Company Limited (BSDDC), noted that with the recent developments in the state, Dickson had justified the faith the people had in his restorative government.
“I am using this medium to commend his effort. I believe that the recent appointment will go a long way in boosting the confidence of pharmacists in Bayelsa State Civil Service and in pharmacy practice in general,” she stressed.
In a related development, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, Bayelsa State commissioner for health, has declared that Dickson’s government has employed far more pharmacists than any other government since the creation of Bayelsa State on 1 October, 1996.
Explaining further, the commissioner said that when he came on board, he observed the dearth of pharmacists in the service and promised the people he was going to do something about it.
“I want to give kudos to the state governor for graciously approving this appointment. I think he is pharmacy-friendly. As for me in my position as a commissioner for health, I have no qualms about such action.
On the palpable fear that the newly appointed pharmacists risk being owed salaries, the commissioner debunked such apprehension, stating that the new appointees had nothing to fear.
“No, they will not be owed. The government has put in place mechanisms that will ensure that the whole thing is seamless. It is not going to affect anybody in terms of salaries and all that. Salaries will definitely be paid on time,” he reassured.