President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa, has urged the Federal Government to employ more pharmacists to ease pressure on existing health workers.
He said the current statistics of pharmacists available in the country shows a ratio of one pharmacist to 50,000 people.
In a press statement signed by the PSN president, the pharmacist made the call on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the office of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in Abuja.
“COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacies of our healthcare delivery system, including the number of health professionals in the country.
“As recommended by the WHO, there should be one pharmacist to 2,000 persons of the total population. In Nigeria, as professionals, we are faced with about 50,000 people to one pharmacist. This is obviously overwhelming,” he said.
Ohuabunwa, therefore, urged the minister to look into the matter by employing more pharmacists to improve the quality of prescription and drug delivery services in the health sector.
The PSN president also drew the attention of the minister to the plight of young pharmacy graduates striving to secure placement for an internship.
“Many young pharmacy graduates are roaming around in search of a non-existing internship spaces despite the federal government’s approval.
“Many are the plights of these young graduates who travel across the length and breadth of this country, constantly putting their lives at risk, looking for a place to be qualified to offer service to their fatherland,” he said.
He further stressed that the issue of central posting for new pharmacy graduates was one of the contributory factors to the inadequate number of professional pharmacists in the country.
“Besides, it is important to note that the internship program is a critical step in the training to becoming a full-fledged registered pharmacist.
“This is a matter of urgent necessity to close this gap in the process of their training,” he said.
The PSN is the umbrella body of registered pharmacists in Nigeria whose members are responsible for the provision and rational use of safe, effective and affordable medicines, pharmaceutical care, promotion of public health and quality of life.