PSN President, Cyril Usifoh

Naira Scarcity: PSN Urges Govt Hospitals To Prioritise Patients’ Survival First

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has urged the management of government hospitals to prioritise the stability of patients while acceptable payment systems are sorted out later to prevent unnecessary loss of lives, especially those in emergency conditions.

PSN president, Professor Cyril Usifoh, who made this call in a statement made available to newsmen, admitted that the ongoing naira crisis could further reduce life expectancy in the country, pegged at 53 if all hands are not on deck to checkmate the ugly incident.

He, however, appealed to the Federal and State Governments to rectify the abnormality in the Social Health Insurance operational modalities, towards ensuring that all endeavours are inclined on the path of lawful pillars in the plan of action.

Usifoh lamented over the actions of the judiciary and other government functionaries, that have conspired to frustrate the common man as most of the courts in the land have stopped collecting old naira notes from people who have to file processes in court registries, despite Supreme Court ex parte order.

“As it stands today, the economy appears to be grinding to a halt with the full potential of a meteoric rise in cases of morbidity and mortality because disease progression remains a major risk factor in a population where the less privileged who rely on out-of-pocket expenses to access healthcare is denied access to cash.

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“This certainly makes a huge quantum of Nigerians vulnerable to death if this unhealthy scenario remains unchecked.

“All government hospitals should be compelled to initiate treatments, especially in the Accident and Emergency Units and In-patients Departments while acceptable payment modalities are being sorted.

“This unfortunate development forces the PSN to once again call on the Federal 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.”

He also appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to put up specific guidelines for banks given the Supreme Court’s declaration on the naira design on Wednesday, 8th February 2023.

He added said such guidelines will go a long way in reducing the pressure as well as restoring credibility in the banking system, especially at a time when some banks are no longer open for day-to-day banking operations and transactions.

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Usifoh further suggested that banks should be mandated to upgrade their IT infrastructure, and leverage modern technology (Cloud and 5G) which are available already in Nigeria, to relieve citizens of financial transaction failure.

The PSN President, however, appealed to his colleagues in the community to extend their compassionate consideration to patients, which is their first point of call for healthcare services in the community.

He urged them to demonstrate more empathy with clients, including accepting the old naira notes if possible, hence CBN can still credit their accounts when deposited to the bank.

“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 ambit of existing payment framework.

“In instances where the last resort borders on a 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.

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“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.”


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