To actualise the vision of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in making the country the pharmaceutical production hub of West Africa, pharmacists must make themselves relevant in the nation’s affairs, PSN President, Professor Cyril Usifoh, has said. He added that joining politics is one way of achieving this.
The PSN boss, who expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of pharmacy practice in the country, averred that until pharmacists become part and parcel of government, their aspiration of moving the profession forward may be difficult to achieve. He also explained that his advocacy effort is part of his campaign agenda for pharmacists to be relevant in the scheme of things in the country, stressing that this a good step towards the progress of the profession.
While acknowledging that not all pharmacists will become politicians, Usifoh stated that those who will find themselves in government will help to drive the agendas of the Society.
Usifoh, who made the submissions at the Annual Luncheon of the Lagos Chapter of PSN, held recently at the Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, charged pharmacists in the state and throughout the country to join any political party of their choice.
When asked, in an exclusive interview with Pharmanews, if venturing into politics would not interfere with the healthcare service delivery of pharmacists, the PSN leader replied: “It is not everybody that will eventually become a politician. What I’m advocating is that, we should not fold our hands and sit back, counting drugs or making naira and kobo. Let’s be part and parcel of government. After all in the US, pharmacists are the most trusted professionals. I believe we can bring that to bear in the political arena. It will only be good for Nigerians and good for all; that’s the message.”
Also speaking at the programme, the Chairman, PSN-Lagos, Pharm. Babayemi Oyekunle, called on the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to revisit the suspended consultant cadre for pharmacists in public service in the state, as the implementation is long overdue.
He recalled that in May 2018, approval of the cadre was negotiated between JOHESU, PSN-Lagos and the Lagos State Government. He said it was however unfortunate that the government sacrificed a well thought-out agreement it had with a coalition of organised labour (JOHESU) and a noble professional association (PSN Lagos).
“We find it imperative to call on His Excellency, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to, without further delays or conditionalities, lift the unfortunate suspension imposed on the consultant cadre for pharmacists in the employment of LASG in 2018 by former Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode”, he appealed.
Oyekunle also reminded the governor on the need to fulfil his campaign promise to pharmacists in setting-up a viable Faculty of Pharmacy at the Lagos State University (LASU). He expressed the concerns of his members that a famed Centre of Excellence cannot be without a pharmacy school. The state, in actual fact, is supposed to lead others in care provisioning for its over 20 million residents, he said.
He stated further that Nigeria needs to get it right in its entirety by appropriately and adequately mobilising the totality of its health workforce, rather than continuing to promote a selective, discriminatory and self-serving professional plan, which, he said, will only continue to hurt health outcomes in the country.
The Lagos PSN Chairman also drew the attention of Sanwo-Olu to the delayed payment of retention allowance to his members, despite the seeming commitments of the chieftains of the state at the March 18, 2023 parley. He noted that it is disturbing that pharmacists were not part of the pioneer group of beneficiaries of the package, adding that it becomes more condemnable that those at the helms of affairs are still foot-dragging on the request.
The immediate past chairman of PSN-Lagos, Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, appreciated all organisations and individuals who supported his three-year tenure. He presented them with appreciation awards, recognition awards and leadership awards respectively.
Some of the award recipients include Pharm. and Pharm. (Mrs) Deji Osinoiki, who were decorated with Lifetime Leadership Award. Pharm. (Sir) Ike Onyechi, managing director, Alpha Pharmacy and Stores, bagged Special Recognition Award; Pharm. Derrick Osondu got the Special Recognition Award; while Mr Emmanuel Ajamah, admin manager, PSN Lagos State and Mrs Bola Ige, admin officer, PSN Lagos State, got Long Service Awards respectively.