By Lateef Ibrahim Abuja
Medical Health Practitioners in the country have called for the inclusion of community pharmacists and patent medicines vendors in the new Task Shifting and Task Sharing Policy of the Federal Government.
The policy was developed in 2014 and due for review in the current year.
The Task Shifting and Task Sharing (TSTS) Policy was developed and rolled out for implementation in 2014 in the bid by the Federal Government to ensure Universal Access to Quality Health Care Services.
According to experts, the policy (TSTS), when implemented, would increase from the current 30 percent to 90 percent thereby improving access to quality Primary Health Care Services in the land.
This was subject of deliberation at a one-day policy dialogue workshop organised by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria-Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (PSN-PACFaH@Scale) project and the Kaduna State Ministry of Health and Human Services in Kaduna, weekend
Edwin Akpotor, a Senior Program Officer of the NGO, explained that one of the strategies presented by the government for the achievement of the goal was to expand access to family planning and other primary healthcare services through the non-clinical private providers-Community Pharmacists and Patent Medicines Vendors.
This, he said, was because in a recent Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2013) which is due for review in 2018, it was discovered that about 60% of Nigerians obtained their contraceptives from the private sector through the services of community pharmacists and patent medicine vendors while only 30% was obtained from the public sector.
Based on this statistics, he said, there was need for the government of Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders to ensure Essential Primary Health Care Services are Task Shifted or Task Shared with Community Pharmacists and Patent Medicine Vendors bearing in mind their unique contribution.
Earlier in his remarks to declare the workshop open, Kaduna State Commissioner for health, Dr. Paul Manya-Dogo in his address said the role of patent medicine vendors and community pharmacists in the health sector should not be underrated.
He called on the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to be keeping data on the activities of vendors in the country.
“I am excited seeing patent vendors with pharmacists on this occasion, it is good because we are targeting one goal,” he stated,” he added.