By Fabian Anawo
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, says that the sufferings occasioned by the prolonged fuel scarcity and the Naira Redesign are capable of reducing the life span of citizens.
It made the remark in a statement signed by its President, Professor Cyril Usifoh.
PSN described the sufferings that citizens have been exposed to as paralysing and suffocating and that it is capable of reducing the lifespan of Nigerians from the current fifty-three years.
The statement observes that even Federal Government apparatus and institutions reject the old naira notes and insists on payment of services through confirmed transfer services or payments with bank tellers into their accounts.
It notes that even the Judiciary commonly perceived as the hope of the common man has stopped collecting old naira notes from people gearing to file processes in court registries.
The statement reads in part; “As it stands today, the economy appears to be grinding to a halt with the full potentials of a meteoric rise in cases of morbidity and mortality as disease progression remains a major risk factor in a population where the less privileged who relies on out of pocket expenses to access healthcare is denied access to cash.
“This certainly makes a huge quantum of Nigerians vulnerable to death if this unhealthy scenario remains unchecked.
“For a country where a substantial majority relies on subsistence living because they thrive and live on daily earnings as artisans, market men and women, okada riders, bus drivers and so on, it is only a matter of time that the country might reap the consequences of its negligence of the health of the citizenry.
“In the light of the foregoing, the PSN wishes to encourage the Government at all levels to initiate action in the reflected areas which includes:The CBN must come up with a specific position to guide the banks in view of the Supreme Court’s declaration on the naira design on Wednesday February 8, 2023.
“This will go a long way in diffusing tension as well as restore credibility in the banking system at a time that most banks are no longer opened to the public for day to day banking operations and transactions.
“Government agencies at all levels need to be called to order to desist from complicating the already chaotic situation.
“In Kano State, the Government is already threatening to revoke the C of O of banks that refuse to collect the old naira notes.
“All Government hospitals should be compelled to initiate treatments especially in the Accident and Emergency Units and In-Patients department while acceptable payment modalities are being sorted.
“This unfortunate development forces the PSN to once again call on the FG and State Governments to see a need to review the operational modalities of Social Health Insurance in our country particularly to ensure that all endeavours are inclined on the path of lawful pillars in the plan of action.
“The PSN reiterates, for the umpteenth time, that the NHIA must conform with lawful payment mechanism and delineate facilities that qualify to be gatekeepers or primary providers which are eligible for capitation payments rather the indiscriminate capitation that is presently extended to secondary and tertiary facilities which remains a misnomer.
The PSN in particular draws the attention of the NHIA secretariat to salient provisions of the PCN Act 2022 which forbids the dispensing, sales and stocking of drugs in premises not registered by the PCN. (Lack of Superintendent Pharmacist)The banks should be mandated to upgrade their IT infrastructure leverage modern technology (Cloud and 5G) which are available already in Nigeria.The PSN wishes to direct Community Pharmacies which are the first points to seek healthcare globally to work out ways to sustain services within the ambits of existing payment framework.In instances where the last resort borders on collection of the old naira notes, we enjoin Pharmacy practitioners to collect such since we are assured the Apex bank will accept the old notes and credit our account balances.
“The PSN assures consumers of health that Pharmacists shall continue to stand with them as we continue to facilitate the manufacturing of essential drugs in the factories and making them available at accessible Pharmacies at affordable prices in line with the tenets of the National Drug Policy.”
By Fabian Anawo