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Pharmacists caution Lagos on proposed insurance scheme

By By Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos) and Isa Abdulsalamin (Jos)
06 July 2017   |   4:00 am
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State Branch, have cautioned the Lagos State Government against making the same mistakes by the Federal Government...

Pharmacy

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Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State Branch, have cautioned the Lagos State Government against making the same mistakes by the Federal Government in the implementation of the ‘ailing’ National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as she plans to roll out her own programme later this year.

Chairman, PSN Lagos Chapter,, Bola Adeniran, alerted journalists that the ‘defective’ NHIS model is the roadmap the Lagos State Ministry of Health has set for the Lagos State managed care programmes.

She explained: “At federal level, disbursement of N351 billion employing this mode gave coverage of 1.75 per cent in 12 years. You see that it was a lot of retrogression. We do not want this for our dear Lagos State presumably because it is perceived as a centre of excellence.

“The mega city vision is on course with massive consolidation of infrastructures everywhere in the landscape; Governor Ambode has a unique chance to amplify these gains with quality healthcare by going back to the drawing board to immediately deal with the defect and loophole laden managed care scheme the experts at Lagos State Ministry of Health intend to bequeath to the citizenry. If urgent steps are not taken to rectify things now, the scheme I dare say is dead on arrival.”

Adeniran further explained: “Sometimes between 2008 and 2009, one of our past Presidents, Olumide Akintayo, had pointedly told a stunned audience at a NHIS retreat in Bauchi that all that was going on in the guise of Social Health Insurance in Nigeria was thievery because privileged persons at the NHIS Secretariat and some of the chieftains of leading Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) were just sharing money. This scam which is now established as per events at the investigative public hearing is probably worse that the fuels subsidy scandal of some years ago because the system under the guise of eliminating out of pocket expenditure in the health system was actually milking enrollees who were shortchanged with extremely poor services.

“In undocumented instances you know that the direct fallout of this unfortunate agenda remains morbidity. As the Lagos State Government plans its roll out, I find it necessary to make passionate appeals that we learn from the experiences at national level. The PSN warned as early as August 16, 2006 at a review meeting held at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja that the NHIS would fail as long as fundamental issues with regards to unlawful payment mechanism, indiscriminate capitation, need to embrace a public sector driven concept and getting drug manufacturers and importers to design affordable drugs for the scheme were not redressed.

“Why will anybody want to pay another service provider (primary provider) and add bills of secondary providers (fees for service) to it when the various professions are autonomous. Healthcare we continue to say is a global practice, which favoured people cannot continue to mutilate to get a Nigeria style of practice.”

Also, this year’s conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), which started Tuesday in Jos is aimed at providing platform to pull the country out of the present economic recession that it has found itself as erudite scholars will brainstorm on the issue.

Besides, the association is worried that the youth who are believed to hold the future of the country ardently involved in dangerous drugs and other substance abuse, which must be stopped.

In a chat with journalists at the weekend, the National Chairman of the association, Dr. Albert Alkai, disclosed that it is going to be the 36th annual conference of the association which will be declared open by Governor Simon Bako Lalong because it is holding in his territory.

The theme of the conference, according to him, is “Community Pharmacists’ Contributions to Nation Building” which he said will attract about 74 pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria, holding at the Eliel Centre, Gold and Base, Rayfield, Jos.

Alkali argued that the conference will discuss exhaustively on the way out of the present Nigeria’s economic quagmire so that it can move forward and put the recession behind it, adding that they want the country to be better positioned.

He pointed out that the conference will bring awareness of drug abuse and the devastating effect on youth who are hooked to drugs and other substance abuse, while various drugs will be displayed and some will be shared to school children.