By Doris Obinna

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State branch has called on the Federal Government to hasten processes that will catalyse the approval and payment of benefits of health workers.

PSN made the call following federal government’s failure to pay the ten and half months Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) adjustments to health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) as done for Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) since January 2, 2024.

PSN in a statement signed by its Chairman, Babayemi Oyekunle, expressed worry that the information at their disposal confirms the reality of an impending 15-day ultimatum that may be served on the federal government.

They warned that the increasing restlessness which has encouraged mobilization of the various trade unions in JOHESU may be a hurricane too strong to quash as members continue to reflect on failed and broken promises across the entire fabric of successive leadership in the last one decade.

“We at PSN (Lagos Stated branch) are worried because information at our disposal confirms the reality of an impending 15 day ultimatum that may be served on the federal government which will cause a collapse and breakdown of services in all the 57 federal tertiary institution.

“We strongly urge the Hon Minister for Health, Prof. Ali Pate, to step up consultations to nip this ugly situation in the bud before it materializes.”

The statement further read in parts: “We are here again to raise funds for the many programmes of the PSN (Lagos State branch) in 2024.  Our advocacy, research and education activities will assume greater heights in 2024.

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“We also have huge responsibilities in the area of the maintenance and upgrade of infrastructure in Branch secretariat, so I enjoin you to donate generously.”

While commending the Federal Ministry of Education, in particular, Minister of State for Education, Dr. Tanko Sununu for successfully superintending the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), hailed the accomplishment of a significant educational reform which guarantees the commencement of a unified methodology in the training of Pharmacy Technicians in Nigeria.

The laws of the land according to PSN recognizes only two Pharmacy Statutes viz; the modern and most recent PCN Act 2022 and the more ancient Poison and Pharmacy Act Cap 535 LFN 1990.

“Section 4 of the PCN Act 2022 is very unambiguous as it lists the functions and powers of the PCN. Section 4(k) of the PCN Act states inter-alia: The Council shall in public interest determine and set standards of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to become Pharmacy Technician and Patent Medicine\Vendors, and review such standands.

“The provisions of Section 4(q) has been severally tested in Federal High Courts located in over 15 States of the Federation and the unifying verdict has always been that the PCN, a body corporate is the ONLY body in Nigeria that has a specific approbation in law to regulate and control pharmacy practice and business in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

“In the light of this unambiguous court rulings, any programme bordering on Pharmacy practice that is unauthorized by the PCN remains unlawful and illegitimate as confirmed by the MOU of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) brokered by the Federal Ministry of Education.

“Healthcare is driven by international best practices. The recognized global workforce in pharmacy practice consists essentially of pharmacists at the apex and pharmacy technicians who remain a well recognized cadre in the actualization of optimum therapy by consumers of health.”