By Lateef Taiwo
In a bid to ensure the availability of drugs in health institutions in the federal capital territory (FCT)he Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has proposed the legalization of the Drug Management Agency (DMA) bill.
The permanent secretary of the FCTA, Mr. Olusola Adesola, disclosed this during the 4th Annual Scientific Conference of the Abuja Zone of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, WAPCP which was held in Abuja over the weekend.
Adesola stated that there was urgent need for the bill to be legalized so as to give priority to the Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) in the government’s scheme of things.
He noted that the DRF which is a “policy guideline that engenders the sustainability platforms for ensuring veritable pathways to attaining sustainable drug and commodities availability in federal institution,” has not been accorded the attention it deserves, and disclosed further that processes are ongoing to give the bill legal backing to become a driving force.
Director of Pharmaceutical Services at the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, Pharm. Boniface Ikwu, stated that the DRF has been operational in the states of the federation through their own legal apparatus, but that the same cannot be said of the FCT which requires an act of parliament for any legislation to enforced in it.
“The DRF has been on as a draw-down from the National Drug Policy, but what we have on the ground is that there is no act backing it.
“What is happening in many states is that they have been doing it by their own acts. But in the FCT, the DMA bill is in the process of being sent to the National Assembly because for the FCT you must pass through the National Assembly for the reformed DRF and DMA bill to be enforced.
“So in most states in the north: Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and others, they passed it through their state assemblies. So there are laws backing the DRF programs in those states,” he said.
Also speaking, the chairman of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, Prof. Ahmed T. Morah, contended that the DRF does not need any special legal backing to become enforceable since it is already contained in several documents of the federal ministry of health.
While providing a conclusive perspective to the entire discourse, Dr. Abubakar Danraka who is the zonal coordinator of the Abuja zone of the WAPCP and host of the conference, disclosed that it was necessary for the fellows of the WAPCP to use their platform to once in a while, showcase the innovations they are bringing to the fore.
“We do a lot of activities at our different practice settings. We conduct research, we do interventional studies, operational studies, and as you saw, we had about 30 prospective abstract presentations, but because we had criteria of the interventions that we need, we pruned them down to four. Those were the four presented,” he said.