…As Ikeja Zone takes free health screening to Alade Market
Community pharmacists under the auspices of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Lagos State Chapter, have vowed to leave no stone unturned in tackling the menace of ‘register-and -go’ syndrome, saying it has tarnished the image of pharmacists and has brought the profession to ridicule.
Speaking in Lagos at the free Health Outreach Programme organised by the ACPN, Ikeja Zone, at the popular Alade Market, Ikeja, Lagos, the Chairman of the association, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, noted that there are a lot of bad eggs among the practitioners who encourage and fuel register-and-go, popularly known as R&G practice and allow the influx of charlatans in the respected profession.
‘Register-and -go’ is an unethical practice, whereby a registered pharmacist uses his or her certificate for the registration of a premises, which he or she does not superintend.
According to Ekhator, who was the guest of honour at the programme, the menace of R&G has become very rampant, especially at this period when the country is faced with a shortage of healthcare practitioners as a result of the mass exodus of professionals to foreign countries, adding that pharmacists in this class believe the way to go is to register an outlet by the way of R&G format and collect money in return.
He noted that the menace of R&G appears insurmountable as the practice has become an embarrassment to the profession, adding that one of the ways the association has decided to checkmate it is to leverage technology in such a way that all the registered pharmacists in the state would be biometrically captured, so that with a tip of a finger, the location and identity of the owner of every pharmacy outlets in the state can be known.
He said, “We have tried several means in the past where we engaged the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), to assist us in this regard, but all to no avail. So we have decided to stop putting the blames at the doorstep of the PCN, and take the bull by the horn in our little way, and we believe if the data of all registered community pharmacists is biometrically captured, there won’t be room for R&G any longer”.
On the free health screening which witnessed the distribution of free drugs for participants, the number one community pharmacist in the state lauded the programme, noting that it was in fulfilment of the motto of the association, which is to empower pharmacists and protect the people, adding that the best way to protect the people is to safeguard their health.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN), Lagos State Branch, Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, said the biometric data capturing of members is a right step in the right direction, adding that the Pharmacy profession is not a trader association, but a set of professionals who are expected to do things professionally.
Paul-Ozieh, who is a former chairman of ACPN, Lagos State, affirmed the step taken by the association was self-regulation targeted at reducing or possibly eliminating the practice, saying the practice of dropping one’s certificate in exchange for an agreed monetary compensation and walking away is absurd and should stop.
“We have engaged the government on this issue severally and the question they keep asking us is what has been our effort as an association, so this step by the current administration is a commendable decision, and we hope it serves the purpose it intended” she remarked.
Pharm. Vivian Ibeh, coordinator, ACPN, Ikeja Zone, in her contribution, noted that going by the popular saying that ‘health is wealth, the pharmacists in Ikeja and its axis have decided to make the process easier by bringing healthcare, checkups, consultation and others closer to the people and making it free of charge, while expanding the roles of community pharmacists which entails point of care testing.
She continued, “As a follow-up to our outreaches in the past, we have decided to settle for Alade Market, knowing well that the environment is much more neutral and diversified, so we have come to showcase what we do and represent in the healthcare space, to enable know that we are the closest to the people and that we care for them.
“Our members here today conducted free health screening for about 200 traders in this market, and we also counselled them on the importance of disease prevention and why they should avoid self-medication and drug abuse, as they have long-lasting adverse effects.
In her reaction, a respected octogenarian member of the market, Alhaja Abibat Balogun, appreciated the ACPN, Ikeja Zone for bringing the free health screening to their doorsteps and called for more support to enable average Nigerians live meaningful life.