Delta Government has approved the employment of 40 pharmacists to bridge the manpower deficiency of pharmaceutical personnel in government hospitals across the state.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa gave the approval on Monday when the leadership and members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Delta chapter, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba.
He expressed concern that out of 64 government hospitals in the state, 39 had no pharmacists, adding that such was not a healthy development to the healthcare policies and programmes of his administration.
According to him, no hospital can perform optimally without the professional input of a pharmacist.
He said in spite of the present global economic challenges, his administration would ensure that government hospitals in the state were fairly staffed to meet the healthcare needs of the people.
He pledged to look into all issues presented to him with a view to addressing some of them for the overall good of residents of the state.
On the alleged issue of harassment by some government agencies, he urged members of the society to take up the issue with the relevant agencies if they noticed what they (such agencies) were doing was not in line with the position of the law.
The governor frowned at the attitude of some people on payment of taxes, adding that many Nigerians don’t pay tax.
He, therefore, charged Nigerians to always pay their taxes to enable government to continue to perform its obligations.
He noted that “we have 40 pharmacists with 64 hospitals; that obviously is not right.
“I don’t see why we would allow the situation to degrade to that level. Recently, I gave approval for the Hospitals Management Board (HMB) to employ doctors and nurses but I don’t think that reasonable provision was made to employ pharmacists. This is because for us to have 39 of our hospitals without even a single pharmacists, obviously it is not right and it ought not to be so. So, the Chairman of Hospitals Management Board, at least that one (the issue of shortage of pharmacists in government hospitals) I know I can attend to, I want a memo that will get to my table before the close of the week to employ 40 pharmacists. Actually, I don’t need a clap for this. The real truth is that every hospital should have at least one pharmacist. We have been employing people along the line. The huge number of staff that we have in this state and the exposure that we have in terms of salaries that we pay does not seem to collaborate this position. This is because if we have been employing staff in many other places (areas in the state civil service) I don’t see any reason why there should be lack of pharmacists within our hospitals. I think that is an anomaly and it must be corrected”.
Earlier, the state Chairman, Pharmaceuticals Society of Nigeria, Dr Kenneth Otenne, had told the governor that the visit was to commend him “for the monumental achievements in all positions held as a politician”.
He said the visit was also to seek partnership in moving the healthcare sector in the state forward.
Otenne outlined challenges inhibiting the professional body in the state to include shortage of pharmacists in government hospitals; denial of internship of the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, (DELSUTH) Oghara.
“Also, absence of accommodation for pharmacists on internship and non inclusion of pharmacists in the running of the primary health care, as well as contributory health insurance scheme, among others”.
The body presented an award of excellence in the health sector to Governor Okowa.