Nda-Isaiah Advocates New Drug Policy

By Alabidun, Shuaib Abdulrahman

As Niger State government is set to receive funding from N 1.5billion Basic Health Care Grant, the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group Limited, publishers of LEADERSHIP Newspapers, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, has called for initiative, akin to Presidential Initiative on Fertiliser, to solve problems of drug manufacturing and distribution in Nigeria.

Nda-Isaiah made the disclosure when himself and other notable pharmacists who have practiced in Niger State received award by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), yesterday from Niger State chapter.

The award was part of the activities of the chapter’s Pharmaceutical Week, with the theme “Medicine Availability and National Security” held in Minna, Niger State capital.

The commissioner of Health, Dr Mustapha Jibrin who was a guest of honour at the event stated that Niger State was the first state with comprehensive health policy plan and that based on that, the state has attracted N1.5 billion Basic Health Provision Fund and signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation.

He revealed that two other states; Ogun and Abia are also to benefit from the fund, saying that only three states out of the 36 states of the federation were to benefit from the scheme which is aimed at boosting Primary Health Care delivery in the states. On drug revolving system, the commissioner disclosed that the state’s contingent had visited Kenya recently to understudy their drug distribution system leading to the establishment of the state Drugs and Hospital Consumable Agency which government has approved N65 million for its take off.

The chairman of LEADERSHIP Group Limited, Mr Nda-Isaiah who spoke on “Politics of Medicine Availability In Nigeria,” after he was given a Special Award, stated that if government makes a policy that only locally manufactured drugs should be distributed in Nigeria most drug manufacturing industries would produce to full capacity and notable manufacturing companies will set up their plants in Nigeria.

He recalled that during the era of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) when it was made mandatory that drugs supplied must be locally manufactured, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Companies produced at about 85 per cent capacity. He said that if government at all levels agreed that only drugs made in Nigeria should be supplied to health institutions, the Pharmaceutical companies would be producing at 100 per cent capacity.

Consequently, he advised government to establish a policy similar to the Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer for the pharmaceutical sector, noting that the Presidential Initiative on Fertiliser has proven to be effective. He noted that this would ensure drug availability in the country and urged the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria to make its position known to the appropriate authorities.

Also speaking, the wife of Niger State governor, Dr Amina Abubakar Sani Bello emphasised the need to always work in unity, positing that much will not be achieved if the professionals and stakeholders in the health sector fail to work together. She stated that all stakeholders must work together to ensure better manufacturing and distribution of drugs, adding that there was a growing need to reduce the percentage of drugs consumed in Nigeria through importation.

The chairman of the occasion and former deputy governor of Niger State, Dr Shem Nuhu Zagbayi, who is also a pharmacist said pharmacy is key to health care delivery and urged pharmacists to be committed to their calling.

The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, represented by Mayaki Nupe who is also a pharmacist, Alhaji Aliyu Usman Mayaki, stated that while drug distribution is well regulated there was a need for more supervision adding that in the Emirate, the Etsu Nupe has drafted him into the advocacy against drug abuse. The guest lecturer from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria , who is also a pharmacist and director of Academics of the university, Professor Ibrahim Sule said that government should step in to solve the problems associated with drugs manufacturing and distribution.

The state chairman of PSN, Hamzat Tijani Yahaya, lauded the effort of the Niger State government in implementing all the salary package of the medical and health workers 100 per cent.

Source: Leadership Newspaper