Stakeholders in the health sector have said funding the pharmaceutical sector will ensure quality healthcare service delivery in Nigeria.
They said the sector is key in the healthcare value chain, as investing in it would ensure local manufacturing of drugs and optimal services delivery to the average Nigerian.
Speaking at the Pharmacy Industry Round table with the them: "Strengthening the Value Chain", organised by Pharmaccess Foundation Nigeria in partnership with Anadach Group, the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai said, accessing funds at an easy and cheaper rate would enable the community pharmaceutical companies have good structures, technological innovations and best practice to render good and quality services.
He stressed that the commercial banks have made accessing funds difficult, which has deprived the sector from making the desired progress in healthcare delivery.
The Country Director, Pharmaccess Foundation, Nigeria, Njideka Obijiaku said the pharmaceutical sector has been overlooked, especially the community pharmacists who are closest to the people.
"We always talk about health insurance and people been able to afford access to quality healthcare, but most often time we leave the pharmacists out of it, but they are the ones that ensure that the quality of drugs that the patients require to get well is available, and I think it is time we recognize their role and bring them in to the discussion and help them, we at Pharmaccess we are trying to give them access to finance to help them strengthen their pharmacies and also provide technical support to them so that they are able to strengthen their service delivery in the health sector," she said.
She said to ensure the sector is not left behind as it plays a major role in the healthcare value chain, Pharmaccess, through its Medical Credit Fund (MCF) disburse loans to the pharmacists through the local banks, with over 300 loans given with a value of $2.5 million as it was discovered that the sector's repayment was 99.7, which prompted the need for improve investment.
"Our objective is to facilitate access for people in low income communities, that is where predominantly a lot of Nigerians, 60 percent are below that poverty level we need find a way to bring them in as they are below the pyramid, but not forgetting the top of the pyramid because we need them to subsidize what we are doing, so for those that can pay let the do, but we need to bring the low income communities in," Njideka added.
Emphasizing on the effect posed on the sector due to lack of funding, which has made way for the production of cheap and fake drugs, the Director, Medical Credit Fund, Nigeria, Olufusayo okusanya, said the fund would help catalyze the health market, guarantee genuine source of drugs and aid local manufacturing to ensure the average Nigerians at the grassroot get quality drugs at affordable price as they as the most affected.