History has shown that the forces that shape society create and nurture appropriate situations that lead to the emergence of one type of leadership or the other. The leadership that usually emerges does so in response to the dictates of these forces.
It will be difficult to think of the first French Empire without acknowledging the landmark contributions of Napoleon Bonaparte. The peace and prosperity that was associated with the post apartheid South Africa would have been difficult to achieve without the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation so well preached by Nelson Mandela. Indeed, the charismatic leadership of Winston Churchill helped ensure that United Kingdom remained undefeated during the Second World War and emerged one of the victors of the war. The courage, visions and political brinkmanship of our Nationalists led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello and Obafemi Awolowo made it possible for Nigeria to have gained independence from our colonial masters at the time she did.
History has shown that who leads a people at a particular time makes the real difference in determining their welfare and well being. As has been proven, it is doubtful if there would have been a Moses, if the circumstances did not conspire to create discontent among the Jews in Egypt at that time.
At this stage of our development and given the mixed grill of events, time and circumstances, AHAPN needs a visionary and charismatic leadership that can consolidate on the gains made so far by our dynamic and hardworking National Chairman, Pharm. Martins Oyewole and also connect her to a fast changing global arena of limitless opportunities and fulfilled dreams in our practice. AHAPN requires a resourceful leader well equipped to fully harness the enormous potentials abound in AHAPN and reposition the Association for the greater good of all. AHAPN needs a dynamic leadership that can strengthen bonds that unite and bridge gaps that divide. Above all, AHAPN requires an inspiring leader who can motivate our members to strive for higher ideals in the pursuit of our happiness and well being of our members.
With all sense of modesty, I am convinced that I have got these qualities. In the pages that follow, I have laid bare for all to discern, my creative, visionary and dynamic blue print designed to consolidate on the gains of the past, revamp and reposition our practice for better service delivery to our patients and strengthen AHAPN. The ensuing manifesto is therefore meant to reposition our practice so that Pharmacists can be more relevant in health reform agenda.
- CONSOLIDATION OF THE ASSOCIATION
For any meaningful progress to be recorded, it is desirable that efforts are made to strengthen the association. The strategies for strengthening the association revolves around the following.
- DEVELOPMENT OF MEMBERSHIP DATA BASE AND GAINING THE CONFIDENCE OF OUR MEMBERS
If elected as National Chairman, we shall do everything humanly possible to ensure that we develop a comprehensive database of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists in Nigeria showing Pharmacist’s Name, PCN Registration Number, Telephone Number, email address and location of practice address. We shall cause same to be periodically updated and shall publish same in a membership directory for the use of our members.
Through adequate dissemination of information and education of our members on our activities/programmes and the level of progress recorded by the leadership, we shall work hard to win the admiration and confidence of our members. Flowing from the above, we shall strive to ensure the publication of our activities/programmes in newsletters every half year to be distributed to our members.
- TACKLING POOR ATTITUDE OF MEMBERS TO THE ACTIVITIES/PROGRAMMES OF THE ASSOCIATION AND WEAK FINANCIAL BASE
It has been my personal observation over the years that the major problem militating against the running of AHAPN and thus affecting the implementation of programmes lined-up by the National Executive Committee remains a weak financial base despite enormous potentials. This vice is occasioned by poor attitude/apathy of members to the activities of the association and over-reliance on collection of capitation and levies as a source of income. Against this background, if elected as your National Chairman, we shall work with all relevant stakeholders including Committee of Heads of Pharmacy in Federal Health Institutions (COMHPFHI) and the forum of State Directors of Pharmaceutical Services to sensitize and mobilize our members across the length and breadth of the country so as to stimulate their interests in the activities of AHAPN. We shall seek the assistance and support of COMHPFHI in reaching out to members, who are subordinates to Heads of Pharmacies in Federal Health institutions with a view to sensitizing them and also deploy the platform of COMHPFHI to assist us with the collection of capitation/levies from our members working in Federal Health Institutions.
In a similar vein, the forum of State Directors of Pharmaceutical Services would also be reached out to with a view to assisting AHAPN in ensuring that our members working for state governments and Local Governments Councils across the country are made to be more responsive to the cause of the Association both financially and otherwise.
Through advocacy to the Chief Executive Officers of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), we shall work to secure their support aimed at sensitizing our members working in those organizations to take greater interests in the affairs of the Association and to be more financially responsive to the Association.
iii. BOOSTING OUR SOURCES OF REVENUE
It is my plan if elected as Chairman to work assiduously to improve funding of the association from external sources beyond the traditional ports of call so as to reduce the burden of levies on members, develop a greater capacity in implementation of programmes and activities. To this end, we shall ensure that organizations benefiting directly or indirectly from AHAPN support AHAPN activities and programmes. I had personally developed this model in the past during my tenure as National Secretary in 2012 during which I single handedly with the approval of NEC pulled through a deal with ETISALAT NIGERIA resulting in the Association becoming more financially buoyant by Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N2,500,000) only.
We shall also pursue a mutually beneficial partnership with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to engender some capacity building workshops for patent and proprietary medicine vendors (PPMV) at a fee to be shared at an agreed ratio and our members would serve as facilitators.
We shall also canvass for and secure sustainable partnerships with some Non-Governmental Organizations notably Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation and others with a view to accessing their grants with the overall aim of improvement of our finances in mind.
In order to evolve a more efficient mechanism for the management of our limited resources, we shall develop and strengthen a budgeting system so as to make projections on our incomes and expenditures and we would be guided by such proposals. Our overall aim shall be to ensure that we leave the association more financially buoyant than we met it.
- PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT PROGRAMMES
Over the years, I have observed that there is reduced awareness about the role of the Pharmacist as a healthcare provider. This therefore, reinforces the need for an awareness campaign on whom a Pharmacist is and what he stands for in the minds of the Nigerian public and it shall form one of the thrusts of our administration’s agenda if elected Chairman, to reposition our practice for prosperity and also improve public perception of the Pharmacist. Accordingly, if resources permit, we shall run an unprecedented media blitz aimed at creating an expanded awareness on the roles and functions of the Pharmacist. We shall also encourage state branches to carryout outreach programmes in schools and markets. The overall goal shall be to maintain a wider visibility of the Pharmacist brand and make Pharmacy and the Pharmacist a household name in Nigeria. The school awareness programmes which would be designed to be undertaken in secondary schools by state branches would be aimed at catching them young and such young secondary school leavers may make careers choices of Pharmacy as a course at higher levels of learning which would likely lead to population explosion in Pharmacy schools.
- CONSULTATIONS AND NETWORKING AS TOOL FOR ACHIEVING STABILITY IN LEADERSHIP
I am persuaded that adequate and proper consultations and networking remains a veritable tool for achieving stability in leadership, which in turn is a prerequisite for the peace required for making meaningful progress that would guarantee prosperity for any organization.
Accordingly, we shall place premium on consultations with different segments of our membership. We shall ensure that virtually all our members are carried along in all our actions and undertakings. In order to strengthen and improve on consultations with stakeholders with a view to being properly guided on major practice issues, if elected as National Chairman, AHAPN under my leadership shall put machinery in place to review/amend our bye-laws to establish AHAPN Advisory Board which shall serve as the highest body of advisers on major issues affecting AHAPN and our practice. It shall also be the highest dispute resolution platform as far as AHAPN affairs are concerned. It shall also serve as a secret lobby group. This body shall comprise of all past National Chairmen of the Association, the serving National Chairman and any member of the Association, who is serving or had served as PSN President.
It would also be necessary to initiate processes for the strengthening of the already established National Strategy Committee of AHAPN, which comprises of all serving PSN National officers, who are members of AHAPN, all past National Secretaries of AHAPN and all past National Chairmen of the Association.
We shall also strengthen consultations with the forum of State DPSes and COMHPFHI. We shall ensure that consultative meetings are held from time to time as would be dictated by circumstances and resources in the overall interest of our practice and AHAPN.
vii. MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF FUNCTIONAL SECRETARIAT
We will strive to create and maintain a functional Secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. If resources permit, it is my intention that an administrative clerk would be employed and situated to man the secretariat while the Chairman and Secretary visits at regular intervals. A senior Pharmacist resident and practicing in Abuja, a member of the Association experienced in organizational matters would be engaged on part time basis to serve as National Liaison Officer and he would be supervising the administrative clerk and communicating with the National Chairman and Secretary. The idea is for the Association to be seen to maintain visibility and presence in the Federal Capital Territory like most other professional associations in the health sector for greater ease of the accessing information and getting feedbacks on all developments in matters concerning our interests.
In the medium to long term, we shall strive to engage the authorities of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in a productive dialogue with a view to exploring the possibilities of having land allocated to the Association for the purposes of erecting a permanent secretariat.
- STRENGTHENING THE DRUG REVOLVING FUND SCHEME (DRFS)
The Drug Revolving Fund Scheme (DRFS) as well known was established to guarantee the continued provision of essential medicines needed for preventing and curing the diseases most commonly suffered by Nigerians by collecting sufficient funds through charges to patients for drugs consumed to cover full replacement cost of new drugs as well as losses through deterioration or pilferages and to ensure uninterrupted supply of drugs in the healthcare delivery system. However, it is no longer news that the advantages of this scheme have not been manifest in most institutions in the country due largely to misapplication of the funds, poor management of scheme and de-capitlization of the fund by most hospital managements.
If elected as your Chairman, AHAPN under my leadership would champion a crusade which would result in strengthening of the DRFS. We shall work surreptiously to reach out to major stakeholders in government and other interested parties to ensure that the operation of the DRFS is moved from the realm of being a National Policy to a realm of being a law. In the short to medium term, we shall pursue the signing of a Presidential Executive order on DRFS while our goal in the long term would be the enactment of an Act of parliament on DRFS. Where need be, we shall seek to criminalize certain sections of its operation so that the DRFS can be insulted from the political control of CEOs of health institutions and thus set the DRFS on a path of continuous growth .
- UNIFORMITY OF STANDARDS OF PRACTICE IN OUR HEALTHCARE INSTITUTIONS
It is my plan, if elected as your Chairman to initiate processes for harmonizing the standards of Pharmacy practice at the various levels of healthcare provision in the country. We will segment our practice into three (3) different levels of care of primary, secondary and tertiary for Primary Health Centres/Cottage Hospitals, General Hospitals and Teaching/Specialist Hospitals respectively.
Therefore, we shall seek collaboration with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to review the requirements of practice for each of the levels and we shall champion advocacy at Council for strict enforcement of the regulations. This has become necessary in the light of certain aberrations observed in our practice in some health institutions. We shall also seek the cooperation of Council to enact a set of regulations for Hospital Pharmacy practice that would guide the conduct of Pharmacists in the discharge of duties to the patients and the public in the hospital. This hopefully would be achieved through the release of appropriate gazettes.
While partnering the relevant stakeholders, we would strive to infuse excellence in Hospital Pharmacy practice at the tertiary level of healthcare. As such, the entrenchment of Unit Dose Dispensing System (UDDS) and the enthronement of the concept of Pharmaceutical Care as a minimum benchmark of practice in all tertiary hospitals in the country shall be pursued with vigour. Accordingly, we shall work in time lines to bring this to fruition. We shall seek the enactment and enforcement of specific rules and regulations on this by Council.
We shall also encourage the sustenance and strengthening of the peer review meetings of COMHPFHI as a strategy for ensuring the harmonization of our practice across the country. Consequently, we shall partner with COMHPFHI to see to the actualization of this ideal.
- IMPROVING THE WELFARE AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICES
Though all the previous leaderships of AHAPN and our current dynamic one of the indefatigable Pharm. Martins Oyewole have been struggling to ensure the attainment of good conditions of service for our members so as to guarantee their overall happiness, the facts on ground show we are still far from getting there. Accordingly, we shall not relent but would continue to try. After all, in the words of Wisdom Churchill, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. Propelled by these imperishable words of Churchill, we shall strive to ensure that Pharmacists in public service receive commensurate earnings based on their job schedule. We will seriously pursue through lobby the implementation of the 2008 Inter-Agency Committee’s Report on Job Evaluation in the health sector as a permanent solution to the recurring problem of pay structure for health workers in the country.
We shall also work assiduously to make the payment of the Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) allowance a matter of law not discretionary. This hopefully would be achieved through the enactment of an enabling law in the proposed laws to strengthen the Drug Revolving Fund Scheme (DRFS).
We shall also pursue the restructuring of the Pharmaceutical Services department of Federal Health Institutions and the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health to reflect the paradigm shift and new realities in our practice. In line with this sterling objective, we shall cause to be sent in proposals to that effect to the appropriate authorities and we shall follow up same with lobby. Consequently, we shall make proposals for five (5) divisions in the Directorate as follows: Pharmacy Administration, Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmacy Store Management, Public Health Pharmacy/Food, Drug and Poison Information Services and Drug Production/Quality Assurance.
The actualization of the release of circular on the Consultancy cardre for Pharmacists in public service would be given priority attention if for any reason it is not yet a reality on our assumption of office, if elected your Chairman. No effort would be spared in ensuring that this circular is released and implementation commenced in Federal Health Institutions (FHIs). State branches would be encouraged and supported to initiate lobby of their state Governments to ensure it also receives the approval of their respective State Executive Councils for implementation.
We will also pursue the incorporation of the Pharm. D. certificate into the scheme of service for the Pharmacist Cardre and ensure the appropriate entry point for holders of the certificate. We will also strive to inaugurate a functional welfare scheme for the benefit of our members across the country.
I am not unaware of the fact that Pharmacists working in over 20 Federal Health Institutions are still being owed arrears of relativity allowances since 2014 though the current leadership of the association have made efforts in the direction of ensuring the payment of this allowance. If elected as your National Chairman, we shall put machinery in place to ensure that this anomaly is redressed without delay.
- REPRESENTATION OF HOSPITAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PHARMACISTS AT JOHESU/AHPA AND REGISTRATION AS A TRADE UNION
It is common knowledge among colleagues that the interests of Pharmacists in the public health sector are not adequately represented and protected at the levels of the Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations. The reasons for this are varied and range from the non-trade union status of our Association to representation of hospital and administrative Pharmacists by a non-public service Pharmacist. It is needless stating the obvious that it is he who wears the shoe that knows where it pinches most. As such, the interests of Pharmacists in public service cannot be better projected and or protected by a Pharmacist, who operates in the private sector. As it is well known, the platform of JOHESU/AHPA has proven to be a potent platform for championing the interests of health workers in Nigeria and Pharmacists cannot live in isolation.
Hence, if elected as your Chairman, in the short term, we shall cultivate a relationship with the leadership of JOHESU/AHPA and if it is practicable, seek to be given a status at JOHESU meetings while AHAPN would, if PSN supports, seek to assume the official platform representing Pharmacists at AHPA.
In the medium to long term, we shall sustain the pursuit of registration of AHAPN as a trade union by requesting the regrouping of NUPMTPAM. In this wise, we shall deploy lobby as a strategy.
I personally believe that some of the problems affecting good Pharmacy practices in the public health sector in Nigeria which, we don’t have the clout to pursue alone, can be solved using the strength in the platform of JOHESU/AHPA.
In the foregoing pages, I have tried to map out in concrete terms the broad philosophical framework of our administration’s policy initiative if elected into office as National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN). It is by no means exhaustive and an absolute sector-by-sector account of what we intend to do. Rather, it is a modest effort to connect with our members on the task that lies ahead in the collective endeavour of strengthening our professional practice for better service delivery to our teeming patients and building a better, strong and virile AHAPN.
In doing so, I am driven by the knowledge that a vast and overwhelming segment of our membership are desirous of having an improved Pharmacy practice with increased clinical content that meets the needs and yearnings of our patients in an ever changing world. I am also emboldened by their desire for a responsive leadership with listening ears that would also chart the course we should take in the global information super way that now stares us in the face.
It is my intention to reposition our practice for better service delivery and place our Association as a model organization in Nigeria that has climbed the mountaintop and found prosperity, progress and development.
I ask for the mandate of the members of our Association as their Chief servant to enable me perform this duty, which my inner being relentlessly desires. I give you my word of honour. I will deliver! So help me God.
PHARM. ELECHI OYIM FPCPharm.