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Phamarcists may down tools over resident doctors’ strike

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The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has urged the Federal Government to honour all agreements it entered with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to stop the incessant strike actions in the health sector.

The group said they were monitoring the progress of talks with the resident doctors in readiness to embark on industrial action.

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AHAPN said the current imbroglio between NARD and the Federal Government “is, to say the least, unnecessary, avoidable and inimical to the already nose-diving, pathetic and embarrassing Nigerian Health System.”

The group made the position public in a resolution signed by Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo and Pharm. Oladele Obikoya, National Chairman and Secretary, respectively. They regretted that despite the pathetic nature of Nigeria’s health system with its associated pitiable health indices when compared with global norms, industrial disputes should be allowed to interfere with healthcare provision.

AHAPN stated: “It is no longer news that based on recent World Health Organisation (WHO) ranking of Health Systems, Nigeria is ranked at a very low rung of the ladder at 187th position out of 190 countries that were rated.

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“This manifestly demonstrates retrogression, degradation and backwardness of our health system in comparison to even most poor resource countries in Africa. There is no gainsaying that issues concerning health ought to be taken very seriously.

“Alas, this is not the case in our nation. Whereas, many countries of the world have moved ahead and are even seen to be adequately remunerating their health workers with good pay packages and also continuously creating good working conditions for their health professionals, because of current global catastrophes occasioned by the COVID- 19 pandemic, Nigeria still lags behind.”

While noting that the Federal Government had entered into many agreements with health workers and NARD at various times, the group expressed dismay that the government was yet to fully implement them.

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“We, therefore, admonish both the federal and state governments to honour all the agreements entered into with health workers and NARD to avert all these unwarranted and avoidable strikes that cause more harm to the already sick and ‘comatose’ Health System in Nigeria than good.

“Every responsible government owes its citizenry good health as a social contract and this obligation should be sacrosanct. More so, it is always said that ‘a healthy nation is a wealthy nation’. Government should utilise this opportunity to dialogue with all health professionals in order to foster good rapport and harmonious working relationship in the health sector,” the group stated.

AHAPN also urged the government to ensure that pharmacists are paid hazard allowance commensurate to their level of exposure and risks at their workplaces.

“It is common knowledge that pharmacists suffer double jeopardy in terms of hazard, because they come in contact with the patients during ward round, dispensing of medicines and counselling of patients. Pharmacists are also known to come in contact with biochemical hazards encountered during the handling and or compounding of drugs and chemicals, which are detrimental to their well being and as such, deserve the best hazard allowance,” they added.

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