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Pharmacists accuse Lagos over lopsided health insurance scheme



Pharmacists under the aegis of the Association of Community Pharmacists (ACPN) have rejected the Lagos State health insurance scheme, saying it is structured solely to favour and give monopoly to medical practitioners, while other healthcare professionals are shut out from rendering their services.

This, the body of Pharmacists, said could impact negatively on the quality of healthcare given to the citizens, as only doctors would perform the roles of all other professionals in the health industry, thereby endangering the lives of the masses due to lack of expertise in those practices.

This was the submission at the ACPN’s Annual General Meeting held on Friday in Lagos


Speaking on the issue, the Chairman, ACPN Lagos State chapter, Pharm. Ogbedeyi Olabanji Benedict, cried foul in the structure of the state’s health insurance scheme, which he said excludes other healthcare practitioners, who are also vital in ensuring provision of quality services and delivery as well as the success of the scheme.

He accused the office of the state’s ministry of health of shortchanging the citizens by making the health scheme compulsory without full provision of all medical services by the various healthcare practitioners, despite series of continuous calls to address the loopholes in the design of the scheme, which has being neglected.

“The way the Lagos state health insurance scheme is being projected is where you force people to subscribe. A situation where pharmacists and other medical scientists are not recognised, everything is left in the hands of the doctor.

“These are all the things that Lagosians are being denied of, they are being denied of pharmaceutical care that they have actually paid for. We have attempted at several times to see the Commissioner for Health to let him know about all these loopholes, but he kept on giving us lots of unpleasant reasons,” he said.

Benedict stressed that if the issue is not addressed on time, it would end up like the failed National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), while urging its members not to subscribe to the Lagos health insurance scheme until matters are resolved.

Speaking further on the implications of the state’s health insurance scheme structure, the Deputy President, Healthcare Providers of Nigeria, HCPAN, Madehin Gafar Lanre, said with the fewer number of medical practitioners in the state, it cannot cater for its population of over 20 million, adding that this would lead to delay in accessing quality healthcare in the designated institutions available, as patients would spend longer time waiting for treatment either weeks or months.

Meanwhile, the Secretary, ACPN, Lagos chapter, Pharm. Okotie Jonah, urged the government to encourage and provide a conducive environment for pharmacists to practice, adding that outside the shores of Nigeria, pharmacists are valued and appreciated for their sacrifice and contributions towards ensuring safety of lives, while calling on the redesign of the Lagos state health insurance scheme to accommodate all professionals.

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