Approve CONHESS Adjustment for Health Workers, PSN Urges FG

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L-R: Pa Deji Osinioki; Pharm.(Mrs) Olayinka Oredola, chairman of the occasion; and Pharm. Babayemi Oyekunle, chairman, Lagos PSN, at the programme.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Lagos State Chapter, has craved the indulgence of the Federal Government of Nigeria to expedite the approval of CONHESS adjustment for health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) in order to avert a looming crisis in the sector.

The Chairman, Lagos State PSN, Pharm. Babayemi Oyekunle, gave the charge to the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammadu Ali Pate, while he expressed the grievances of JOHESU members, PSN inclusive, to the several failures of government in meeting agreement reached with the group, which has culminated into restlessness in impending disruption of services without urgent intervention.

Oyekunle, who spoke at the 2024 Annual Luncheon of the association, said the state chapter is privy to an impending 15-Day ultimatum that may be served on the Federal Government, which may lead to the total collapse of services in the sector, if the government does not swing into action in addressing the issue.

He said, “The PSN Lagos State Branch finds it necessary to once again call on the Federal Government to hasten processes that will catalyze the approval and payment of benefits of health workers under the aegis of JOHESU with regards to the adjustment of CONHESS as done for CONMESS SINCE January 2, 2012, a whooping 101/2 (Ten and a half) years ago. Government must actualize these payments before avoidable strike actions which often disrupt healthcare services in hospitals becomes a reality yet again.

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“The increasing restlessness which has encouraged mobilisation of the various trade unions in JOHESU may be a hurricane too strong to quash as members continue to reflect on failed and broken promises across the entire fabric of successive administration in the last 10 years.

“We at Lagos PSN are worried because information at our disposal confirms the reality of an impending 15-Day ultimatum that may be served on the Federal Government, which will cause a collapse and breakdown of services in all the 57 Federal tertiary institution. We strongly urge the Honourable Minister for Health, Prof. Ali Pate, CON, to step up consultations to nip this ugly situation in the bud before it materializes”.

A cross-section of merit award winners at the event.

He also hailed the historic abolishment of the training of pharmaceutical technologists in Nigerian institutions by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National Board for Technical Education, saying it was long overdue, as pharmaceutical technologists training lack the required clinical content to operate under the regulations of the PCN.

Oyekunle averred that the training of pharmaceutical technologists unfortunately has always been devoid of a meaningful clinical content which is a major reason this cadre has never been recognized as a cadre in pharmaceutical endeavours through relevant establishment schemes of service in Nigeria.

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“Pharmaceutical technologists do not have a clinical DNA by nature of what the training provides as a result of which they have no place in the health system”, he insisted.

Expressing his sympathy for those affected by the policy, who were not aware of the existing information, he urged management of tertiary institutions in Nigeria to offer students who are willing to change their course the opportunity of choosing approvable programmes of study.

We appreciate the pains of some students and parents who apparently did not reckon with the already stated facts and we solicit that the schools of training offer those who are willing an opportunity to change their courses to other approvable programs of study.

For others who have graduated with the degree, he encouraged them to embrace relevant update programmes which might position them for employment in pharmaceutical industrial settings or related vocations. Pharmaceutical Technology, it must be said is more of a postgraduate programme in Pharmacy. Oyekunle added.

“We encourage the PCN to actualize the horizon of fellowship it recently entrenched in Pharmacy laws through compelling the membership of Pharmacy Technicians on the Governing Council of the PCN.

“Pharmacists must lead the way in boosting the myth, career growth and prospects of Pharmacy Technicians across board to enable Pharmacy practice assume global best practices..The Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) must also continue to support Pharmacy Technicians who are willing to upgrade or step up to become Pharmacists to have a seamless experience in Nigeria”, Oyekunle stated.

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In her address, the Chairman of the occasion, Pharm. (Mrs) Olayinka Oredola, emphasised the need for pharmacists to continuously distinguish themselves in the healthcare continuum by display of superior knowledge and excellence in all they do in order to earn that recognition and respect they desire.

She reminded her colleagues that respect is not demanded but earned and so they should be ready to elevate and increase the stakes; intellectually, innovatively and indeed through strategical thinking and leadership towards earning then rightful place in the healthcare arena.

In today’s world, she noted that pharmacists must leverage on technology, diversify and flex their expertise and intelligence in different spheres, participate either actively or passively in politics, while ensuring strategic alliances and collaborations as they strive to excel in all our endeavours.

The event, which was graced by the cream de la cream in the Pharmacy profession in the state, saw the decoration of 38 pharmacists as Merit Award Winners, making the list of Merit Award Winners in the state to be 335.

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