-Urges FG to ignore NMA’s call for withdrawal of circular
There seems to be no end in sight to the crisis rocking the implementation of the consultant cadre for pharmacists in the country, as the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has berated the petition of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to the Federal Government for the suspension of the cadre, describing it as purely self-centered rather than altruistic.
NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, had petitioned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, on behalf of the association, requesting the suspension of the consultant pharmacist cadre, arguing that it is “capable of causing disruptions in healthcare delivery system in the hospital, as it blurs the lines of competence and responsibility among different cadres and profession in the healthcare industry”.
In the 5 November 2020 communique, titled “Consultant Pharmacist Cadre: Danger to the Fragile Health System” and signed by the NMA president, the association stated several reasons why the consultan cadre should not be implemented for pharmacists.
However, in a swift reaction to the petition, the PSN has urged the Federal Government to ignore the call by the NMA, saying it negates global best practice.
Also, in a related development, a Nigerian medical doctor practising in the United States, Dr Anurika Ndidi, had earlier condemned the NMA and its president for opposing the approved consultant cadre for pharmacists in the country.
In a statement addressed to the NMA president, Ndidi described the NMA’s stance as shameful to the medical profession, saying it smacks of inferiority complex.
She said: “I became ashamed at how low the decision makers in Nigeria stooped to drag against what should be applauded and encouraged. I saw the unnecessary letter as a show of shame to doctors, which makes it look as if we now feel less of ourselves. I was never trained to feel less of myself.
“Thinking that someone becoming a consultant in Nursing or Pharmacy or even Laboratory will take job away from consultants in Medicine is a wrong judgement, Mr President,” she flayed.
The PSN, in a statement addressed to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and obtained by Pharmanews, stated that contrary to the NMA’s position, implementing the consultant pharmacist cadre will make the healthcare system better than what it is presently.
“In the light of the foregoing, in line with global best practice and given the immense benefits of the consultant pharmacist cadre to the healthcare system of our dear country, we urge Your Excellency, to ignore the petition of the leadership of NMA and appropriately disregard their call for the withdrawal of the circular of the Consultant Pharmacist cadre in Nigeria. Nigeria’s health system shall be better off with this cadre.
“NMA’s position is purely egoistic rather than altruistic. Permit us also to add that this growing penchant of the NMA to often challenge decisions of government and impose its self-centered wishes through blackmail (strike action) must be strongly reprimanded. Otherwise, it might create so much dissonance and entropy where every other professional group would dictate to government not only what it wants but also what it approves for other professional groups”, PSN maintained.
Countering the NMA’s petition that the circular for the approval of the pharmacist consultant cadre was hastily released without following due process, the PSN insisted that the document followed due process and fulfilled all the requirements as stipulated by the National Council on Establishment (NCE).
“Sir, it is appropriate to inform you that the NCE had in August 2011 given approval for the creation of the Pharmacist Consultant Cadre. This approval followed the receipt and adoption of the recommendations contained in a report of its technical committee on the review of the Scheme of Service and creation of consultant pharmacist cadre in the public service. However, owing to reasons beyond our comprehension, the follow-up circular was not released.
“In 2015, in an apparent attempt at releasing the circular, the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) dispatched a letter dated 28 July 2015 (reference no: HCSF/EPO/EIR/NCE/100/S.6/T/56) to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) requesting for his views/comments and inputs before the release of the circular as approved by the NCE in 2011. The FMoH responded via a letter dated 5th October 2015 (reference no: C4007/T4/315) in which the ministry reaffirmed its full support for the creation of the consultant cadre for pharmacists.
“How on earth can a process of review of the scheme of service which started with the submission of a memorandum to NCE in 2007 culminating in the release of the circular in 2020, thirteen (13) years down the line be said to be hastily done”, the PSN queried.
“The leadership of NMA needs to appreciate the fact that modern healthcare delivery is not indigenous to Nigeria but was imported from the developed world where the roles and responsibilities of each healthcare professional are well defined within the framework of its acquired competencies” it stated.