The Director, Pharmaceutical Services of Kano State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Pharm. Abdullahi Abubakar Danzabuwa, has called for immediate integration of pharmacists into primary healthcare services, saying such a move will aid quick attainment of universal health coverage in Nigeria.
Pharm. Danzabuwa, made the call on Wednesday during his presentation at the second plenary session of the ongoing 96th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). The topic of the second presentation at the second plenary session was “Pharmacists integration in primary healthcare: The team approach to facilitate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria”.
He stated that it is only through teamwork that UHC can be achieved in Nigeria and therefore, there is a need for the integration of all healthcare professionals to rally round patients to ensure that the patients enjoy quality healthcare services. He added that healthcare delivered by a team is superior to services delivered by a single practitioner.
Pharm. Danzabuwa averred that pharmacists must be seen as important players that are needed to be integrated into the primary healthcare service in Nigeria, explaining that community pharmacists especially, have a bigger role to play in primary healthcare delivery which will, in turn, facilitate the attainment of UHC.
The team approach to achieving UHC according to Pharm. Danzabuwa requires healthcare workers with optimal skills mix at all levels of healthcare, who are equitably distributed, adequately supported with access to quality-assured products, and enjoying decent work.
While explaining the reason pharmacists should be integrated into primary healthcare and the roles they would play; Pharm. Danzabuwa said pharmacists will collaborate with other healthcare professionals to optimise patients’ outcomes, adding that primary care pharmacists play a significant role in managing medicines.
He said “The pharmacists have a strategic role to play by focusing on maximising benefits and minimising the risk associated with medicines, as well as making the best use of resources allocated for medicine”. He said that pharmacists will actively participate in immunisation services by ensuring availability of potent vaccines and other commodities, as well as maintenance of the cold chain for those commodities.
He added that community pharmacists render primary healthcare services such as integrated management of childhood illness, prescription refill, and health education, improve public health, and reduce health inequality based on their knowledge, skills, and proximity to the general public, among others.
He specifically pointed out that pharmacists remain an untapped resource to a vibrant healthcare delivery that will enhance the attainment of UHC in Nigeria.
To attain UHC, Pharm. Danzabuwa, therefore, said pharmacists must be integrated into primary healthcare services and also be recognised as important professionals needed to deliver quality healthcare services to every Nigerian.
He added that the needed infrastructure, human resources, health commodities, and affordable services must be provided in equitable proportions across the country to achieve universal health coverage.
Pharm. Danzabuwa also noted that the quality of interaction between healthcare teams is the key to delivering quality healthcare services rather than the composition of the team.