– Seeks more placement opportunities for intern pharmacists
Former governor of Rivers State, Celestine Omehia, has called on the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to actively engage the government towards ensuring that pharmacists are employed in every government-owned medical and health facility across the country.
Omehia, who is the founding partner, Celestine Omehia & Associates, made the call at the Award/Dinner Night of the 94th Annual Conference of the PSN, held late last year in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He was the chairman of the occasion.
The former governor also emphasised the need for more placement opportunities for pharmacy interns, saying there would be a lacuna of experience and shortage of manpower if the younger pharmacists cannot get places to do their internship, while the older pharmacists are retiring.
He said: “I am a lawyer. Many lawyers were stranded – without employment. So, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) thought it necessary for the governments to expand their horizon, such that lawyers could be compulsorily employed in different segments of government establishments. At the end, every judge was made to have a lawyer that would be advising him or her and to write reports. Every magistrate now employs the services of a lawyer. Every government parastatal has lawyers as advisers and other important key roles, and I can go on and on.
“This kind of gesture is also needed for pharmacists. All government medical establishments should be made to have pharmacists with them. Today, there are many hospitals with very few pharmacists. This is not supposed to be so. Pharmacists are supposed to be in different arms of every hospital – to advise patients, to advise doctors, and to handle every affair of drugs. It is the duty of the PSN to force it down the throat of government to get this done as soon as possible.”
Continuing, Omehia said: “I also know – because I have handled this issue personally before – that sometimes, it is difficult to do internship. Most pharmacists, most of the time, find it difficult to find a place to do their pre-qualifications examinations or whatever it is. The problem with this is that, if pharmacy graduates cannot find a place for their internship, there will be a lacuna and the lacuna is that the current practitioners will not have good successors.
“It is therefore the duty of the PSN to make a move to ensure that the governments relax their policies on interns taken and expand their horizon, so that as many young pharmacists as possible can be taken as interns, as quickly as possible.
“Things can’t continue the way they are now; there must be a change. The new president of PSN and his executive members should work on this issue.”