The Federal Ministry of Health should factor in patent medicine dealers in carrying out immunisation programmes in Nigeria.
The national president of the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED), Prince Joel Odoh, stated this weekend while addressing newsmen in Abuja.
Prince Odoh said the call became necessary because patent medicine dealers are found in every part of the country, and that ‘they are highly dedicated and experienced’.
According to him, the union, with over 627, 000 registered members across the federation, has a structure to take the scheme to the grass-roots to ensure quality health delivery in Nigeria.
He said, “The ministry should consider our members for immunisation programmes instead of hurriedly training non-health professionals and sending them to the field. This is about health.
“Patent medicine dealers have been in this field for many years. Our association is over 60 years. A majority of us have garnered experiences through trainings and on the field, hence we can discharge primary health roles effectively.”
He commended the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control for making identification of fake drugs easy.
He said, “We commend NAFDAC that numbers drugs. Our members know how to identify fake and counterfeit drugs. Anybody selling them simply wants to do that. There are numbers inscribed on these drugs for easy identification.
“Our members know that getting these drugs from open markets may make them vulnerable to fake drugs. I urge them to be very careful by simply observing those precautions. Some of us who get drugs from manufacturers directly also check these facts meticulously.
“We have stringent measures for erring members. If it is the government that arrested such sellers, we won’t go there. If it is our task force that arrested them, because we have task forces at unit, state and national levels, after dealing with the persons in accordance with our rules, they will be handed over to NAFDAC for further actions.”