WEDNESDAY- 17th November, 2021: The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), and her technical arm and interest group - the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has commended the recent announcement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to include select pharmacies as vaccination centres.
They made the commendation in a release signed by the President of PSN , Prof. Cyril Usifoh FPSN Pharm., ACPN National Chairman ,Wale Oladigbolu FPSN and the National Secretary PSN, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi FPSN.
PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifo
ACPN, National Chairman, Pharm.Wale Oladigbolu
In the release which was made available to CEOAFICA, the society lauded the efforts of the FG calling it ‘a step towards the right direction’.
It read “This pronouncement is indeed a step in the right direction for the Federal Government and her agencies if the target for vaccination of eligible members of the population by December 2021 would be attained.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), her technical arm and interest groups - the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) and the Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria (CPAN)
respectively, have variously advocated for this move. In readiness of this noble pronouncement, the ACPN had in her 39th and 40th Annual scientific Conferences in 2020 and 2021 at Abuja and Abeokuta respectively highlighted the gains in incorporating community pharmacies as public health centres for Covid-19 vaccination.
“Nigerian Pharmacists have availed themselves of different training opportunities from corporate industry-led, FIP Vaccination Masterclass and only recently, even went ahead to certify some of her members on vaccination program in an ACPN training organised in collaboration with Mercer University, USA. The cost of this capacity-building programmes were borne individually yet would be readily deployed for the improvement of public health.
“Community Pharmacists especially welcome the pronouncement of the Federal Government of Nigeria on the use of Pharmacies as Vaccination centres. This move is in consonance with WHO Astana 2018 commitments of making bold political choices for health across all sectors, building sustainable primary healthcare system and empowering individuals and communities towards ensuring healthy living and promotion of wellbeing for all, at all ages. We have no doubt in our minds that this development will reduce vaccine hesitancy and provide vaccines for hard to reach, underserved and disadvantaged populations. Pharmacists in
Nigeria have observed for too long the low vaccination coverage in Nigeria, the under utilisation of skill, knowledge and preparedness of Community pharmacists to extend their primary healthcare services and
the attendant morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable diseases. The prevalence of these vaccine preventable diseases in Nigeria is high while the vaccine coverage is abysmal. The percentage of people who have received at least one dose of Covid 19 vaccine in Nigeria, for example, is currently at 2.9% compared to a global average of 52.8%, 27% for
South Africa and 7.7% for Ghana.”
The society was also quick to state in the release that Community Pharmacists in Nigeria, like their counterparts in other parts of the world, have the needed training and skill to administer vaccines within the Community Pharmacy, while noting that Pharmacists, particularly ACPN members applaud this new laudable initiative which is in alignment with global best practices whilst calling for the immediate implementation
of this policy to reduce avoidable ill health and death of Nigerians from vaccine preventable diseases.
The PSN further mentioned its continues advocacy for Pharmacists as primary healthcare givers, a mantra the PCN accepted immediately and is working assiduously to its full implementation.
The release further stated “The International Federation Pharmaceutical (FIP) and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) have both promoted these emerging roles of pharmacists as primary healthcare giver is being
integrated into the undergraduate training as Clinical Pharmacy degree, Pharm. D becomes the minimum qualification for pharmacists in Nigeria.
“Since the outbreak of this pandemic, pharmacists have been at the fore, providing pharmaceutical care services non-stop and donating both drugs and extemporaneously prepared hand sanitizers. This remarkable feat
happened across the 36 States and the FCT.
“It is no doubt that the Pharmacist is the most accessible member of the healthcare team. Vaccines, being Pharmaceuticals, are in no safer hands than those of the Pharmacists. We urge the Federal Government to upscale
this inclusion and ensure that Pharmacists in community practice are utilised in achieving this set goal.
“Let us leverage on the deep and vast training of the Pharmacist in drugs and on public health issues and the network of pharmacies spread across the nation. We call on the National Primary Healthcare
Development Agency and the NCDC to expedite action in ensuring that the impact of the inclusion of Pharmacists is truly felt, and that the gains in using this standby well-oiled machinery (the Pharmacist) are
“We are most willing for greater collaboration with the aforementioned agencies of government to ensure a smooth take-off of this programme to expand COVID-19 vaccination in the country.”