From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The National Treasurer, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Pharm. Eze Ambrose has said private sector is critical for the success of any public health intervention hence government at all levels need to carry them along.
He stated this in a statement issued after a PSN-PAS and IntegratE trainings, held recently.
The statement added that there is need for CPs and PPMVs to be included among the private providers of free Family Planning commodities just like the private hospitals and clinics in are currently doing.
Pharm. Eze Ambrose also added that there is urgent need to increase access and availability to affordable FP commodities since high cost of FP products was identified as one of the major barriers to FP products and services.
In his words, “when we counsel patients on contraceptive methods and we don’t have the contraceptive to give them, it affect the actual uptake.
“The patients are more comfortable to receive the commodities from us (who are close to them in the community) than going to the hospitals with the many bureaucracies.
“Free commodities will mean that the end user won’t pay (except of course for the small, little service charge) to obtain the product”.
“It was observed that it is only private hospitals and clinics that are currently included among facilities (together with public facilities) that get free FP commodities from government in Lagos State.
“This implies that clients visiting CPs and PPMVs will be disenfranchised from benefiting from the government free FP commodity policy.
“This may affect uptake. There is urgent need to integrate CPs and PPMVs into government free commodity program.
“we have distributed free malaria commodity with the government and other partners and it worked well. There was no issue”.
“The issue of documentation and data submission was the major challenge the some government officials alluded to for the non-inclusion of CPs and PPMVs in the free FP commodity system.
“The official of ACPN said “the issue about CPs reporting commodity consumption data back to government can be handled by building our capacity and giving us the relevant tools.
“Community Pharmacists are currently providing data for HIV/AIDS programmes and there are no issues. If we are included in the free FP commodity system, there won’t be any issue around data reporting,” he said
Pharm. Eze also advocated for more male involvement in FP programming as a strategy of ensuring the CIP document is fully implemented.
Another representative of the Community Pharmacists at the meeting Pharm. Mrs. Abiola Paul-Ozieh also expressed her delight at the various discussions at the CIP development meeting she was not happy that the invitation to the critical private sector players came late making them to miss out in the first day of the event.