Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Stakeholders’ eyes policy direction on essential drugs

Stakeholders in the health sector have called on the Lagos state government to create policy direction for essential drugs to boost the fight against childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The drugs include amoxicillin dispersible tablet, amoxicillin dt, and zinc/ low osmolarity oral rehydration salt, zinc/lo-ors.

Declaring open, a one-day policy dialogue, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, told journalists that though there is no state policy on diarrhoea and pneumonia management in the state but efforts were on in line with World Health Organisation, WHO, and United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, guidelines.

Idris, who was represented by the director, Pharmaceutical Services in the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo, said that the state is currently integrating the existing central health commodity supply chains to increase availability of medicines and diagnostics across the state so as to effectively tackle childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.

According to him, "childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea are leading killers of under-5 children. In 2013 alone, about 1.5 million children died globally and about 400, 000, (diarrhoea -201, 368; pneumonia -177, 212) died in Nigeria.

“In Lagos state, pneumonia and diarrhoea accounts for approximately 9 percent and 10 percent of deaths of under-5 children, respectively."
In his speech, president of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakassai, said local healthcare providers and private sector actors which includes, manufacturers, distributors, and community pharmacies are encouraged to increase production, distribution and appropriate promotion of the use of these commodities.

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