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NARD strike: Pharmacists threaten to down tool over FG’s botched agreement

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By Lawrence Nwimo

Association of Hospital And Administrative Pharmacists Of Nigeria, an umbrella body for pharmacists in Nigeria have warned the Federal government to honour the agreement it signed with health unions in the country to avert a looming industrial action that would halt medical administration across the country.

In a statement signed by the National Chairman, Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm Olabode Ogunjemiyo and National Secretary, Pharm Oladele Obikoya, the body regretted that “Government had entered into many agreements with health workers including National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) at various times but is yet to fully implement such.”
The statement which sought for the immediate amicable resolution of the impasse between the various governments and health personnel in the country blamed past and present governments for the avoidable industrial actions which have often bedevilled the health sector of the country.

According to the statement, “the current imbroglio between the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government is, to say the least,  unnecessary, avoidable and inimical to the already “Nose- Diving”, pathetic and embarrassing Nigerian Health System with its associated pitiable health indices when compared with the Global Norms. 

“It is no longer news that based on the recent WHO ranking of Health Systems, Nigeria is ranked at  a very low rung of the ladder at 187th position out of 190 countries that were rated. This manifestly demonstrates retrogression, degradation and backwardness of our health system in comparision to even most poor resource countries in Africa. 

 “There is no gainsaying that issues concerning health ought to be taken very seriously but this is not the case in our nation. Whereas many countries of the world have moved ahead and are even seen to be adequately remunerating their health workers with good pay packages and also continuously creating good working conditions for their health professionals because of the current global catastrophes occasioned by the COVID- 19 Pandemic, Nigeria still lags.”

The association maintained that the delivery of good health is the primary responsibility of every well-meaning government to its citizenry and that social obligation on the part of the government should be sacrosanct.
It urged governments to honour all the agreements entered into with health workers and NARD to avert another strike crisis, adding that further strike actions would cause more harm to the beleaguered health System of the country. 
It also urged Governments to utilise the opportunity to dialogue with all health professionals to foster good rapport and harmonious working relationships in the health sector.
It further stated that “governments must ensure that Pharmacists are paid hazard allowance commensurate with their level of exposure and risks at their workplaces.

” It is common knowledge that pharmacists suffer double jeopardy in terms of hazard because they come in contact with the patients during ward round, dispensing of medicines and counselling of patients. Pharmacists are also known to come in contact with biochemical hazards encountered during the handling and or compounding of drugs and chemicals which are detrimental to their well being and as such,  deserve the best hazard allowance.

“It is also a common thing to see prescriptions being sent to the pharmacies with gloved hands and some visibly stained with all forms of fluids including blood.

“We call on the government to ensure that all agreements entered into with healthcare workers are fully implemented so as to avoid unnecessary strike actions and equally instruct all its officers and agencies to respect the letters of extant circulars of government as it affects the pharmacists.”

” Nigerian Pharmacists are watching with keen interest the unfolding drama at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria between government and NARD and we shall not hesitate to act decisively as would be dictated by events as they play out in the days ahead.”

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