BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
The Chairman, PCN Governing Council, Prof. Ahmed Mora, has described as a ‘big problem’ the lack of places for internship training for pharmacists in the country.
Mora, who disclosed this while briefing journalists after the 41st regular meeting of the Governing Council, in Abuja, however, expressed the Council’s commitment to addressing the problem.
According to him, there are 380 internship centres in the country, mostly in the general, teaching hospitals and also the manufacturing industry whereas 1,500 pharmacists are produced annually.
He said “The number of pharmacists that are produced in the country, there are not enough places for them to do their mandatory one year training. This is a big problem for us. These youths, sometimes they get frustrated. Two months to three month after induction, they don’t have places to do their internship.
“We are also collating the available positions of vacancies at hand right now for fresh graduates to do their internship. We produce 1500 pharmacists every year, so we look at it in such a way that we have a holistic approach to it. We are liaising with agencies to see that this whole issue is centralized in such a way that pharmacists, by the time they are being inducted as pharmacists, they already know where they are going for their internship training, we are really passionate about it.”
Stressing the importance of data, Mora said “Now without data, we will not be able to plan, so we need the directors of pharmaceutical services in the state and FCT and the Deans of Faculty to give us their own vacancies and graduands that they have.”
On open drug market, the Registrar, PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, said the coordinated wholesale centres which are currently being constructed across the country to substitute the open drug market will soon be completed.
He said “The federal government is very concerned about the open drug market, if we are to close the open market today, a lot of people will be out of job. The coordinated wholesale centre is the alternative that the federal government had put in place in its policy that would take care of the open drug market and right now, the coordinate wholesale centres are being constructed across the country. So we can’t just close down the open market when those coordinated wholesale centres have not been completed.
“We are waiting for these constructions to be completed and thereafter, we will definitely dismantle the open drug market, so there is a programme in place to close down those open drug markets once those facilities are completed, the open drug market will be closed down.
“The coordinated wholesale centre will accommodate all of them in the open drug market. NAFDAC will have an office there, PCN will have an office there and there is going to be a police post and bank. So products coming and going out will definitely be highly regulated, also people will be able to access genuine drugs.
The facility is going to look like a Shoprite kind of facility where temperature will be highly regulated, other storage facilities will be highly supervised so that those degradation of most of our products which are exposed to sun will be a thing of the past.”