For Immediate Release: Over the past few decades, the effectiveness of the Nigerian Health System and healthcare delivery has been sub-optimal. Fragmentation of the health sector, inadequate human resources for health, funding issues and other resources gaps, coupled with weak accountability mechanism have all combined to impact negatively on the quality of health services. As a result, communities have little confidence in public health services and the use of them is usually very low. Failure of the primary healthcare system has created an overburdening of the private health sector and made more prominent the informal healthcare sector, which includes various providers including proprietary patent medicine vendors (PPMVs). This group of health care providers are found are in virtually all street corners in Nigeria and every Nigerian must have at one time or the other accessed services from them. Research shows that community pharmacists and PPMVs provide between 15% – 83% of all primary health services for under-fives in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is a Federal Government Agency charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the education, training and practice of pharmacy in all aspects and ramifications, including the regulation of Pharmacy technicians and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors in Nigeria. Recently, a project of Society for Family Health and partners, the IntegratE project; which is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers Foundation and aims at improving the quality of Family Planning Services delivered by Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) in underserved areas of Lagos and Kaduna states commenced activities in Nigeria. The project will support PCN in the implementation of a tiered accreditation system that will support efficient and quality service delivery at community pharmacists and PPMVs.
As a first step to achieving this goal, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the project, represented by SFH, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday 22nd January 2017. The event which took place at the premises of the PCN in Idu, a suburb of Abuja had the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria – Pharm. N.A. Elijah Mohammed and the Managing Director, Society for Family Health – Sir Bright Ekweremadu signing on behalf of their organisations. The PCN Registrar and the Managing Director of SFH. both expressed delight at the opportunity to work together towards improving access to contraceptives and quality primary healthcare delivery amongst Community Pharmacists and Patent and Proprietary Medicine vendors in Nigeria and specifically in Kaduna and Lagos States. The event was witnessed by Pharm(Mrs.) Olaleye and Pharm(Mrs.) Mojisola Aizobu representing PCN and Pharm. Michael Alagbile, Pharm. Kenechukwu Eruchalu and Pharm. Emeka Okafor representing SFH.