The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria has urged the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to consider a public-private partnership in its COVID-19 vaccination plan for the country.
Recall that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had last week stated that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency is the only official body responsible for carrying out COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
The PTF at its media briefing had said that there was no special arrangement put in place for private sector participation in the inoculation plan, noting that that the NPHCDA will work closely with each state government to make the exercise a smooth operation.
The ACPN, however, said the NPHCDA should collaboration with private sector particularly with community pharmacies.
Nigeria, it said, should consider the success recorded so far by the United States and other European countries that have taken advantage of the reach and knowledge of community pharmacists in their vaccination campaign before taking a decision.
According to the ACPN, a synergy between the public and private health facilities as well as community pharmacies will deliver an integrated COVID-19 vaccination that could help expand vaccine access to more Nigerians.
The ACPN made the call in a paper it presented to the NPHCDA titled: ‘Strategic Partnership to boost COVID-19 vaccination Success in Nigeria using community pharmacies’.
In the paper obtained by PUNCH HealthWise, the ACPN said it wants a strategic partnership with the NPHCDA, noting that such a collaboration would help to ramp-up COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
“We are proposing a strategic partnership between the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria to allow community pharmacies in Nigeria support and complement the efforts of public health facilities in ensuring COVID-19 vaccines access to all Nigerians.
“It is true that the second wave of COVID-19 has impacted heavily on the public health facilities overwhelming their capacities.
“It is more urgent than ever that strategic and innovative or perhaps a novel approach be adopted as soon as possible to help curb the spread of this deadly virus.
“We can explore the capacities of other healthcare providers at the community level which in this case are the community pharmacy to expand access to the life-saving vaccine.
“A unique synergy between the public and private health facilities as well as community pharmacies will deliver an integrated approach to ramping-up COVID-19 immunisation and thus hasten our attainment of herd immunity against the ravaging SARS-CoV-2,” ACPN said.
The ACPN noted that community pharmacies have continued to play a vital role in the delivery of pharmaceutical care services in the community to meet the needs of people not only in Nigeria but across the world.
“Learning from the achievement of community pharmacies in other parts of the world and understanding the role they play in meeting the healthcare needs of people, the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria enacted the Task-shifting Task-sharing policy to allow community pharmacies to help provide some primary care services which include family planning services as it is currently being implemented in the IntegratE project in Nigeria.
“The successes recorded in the project has provided a basis for arguing that community pharmacies can undertake even more primary care services if given the opportunity,” it said.
ACPN explained that community pharmacies can be involved in the entire vaccination campaign process, from demand generation, patient education, distribution, storage to the point of reporting adverse reaction using a special system known as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
“These strategies will not only complement the efforts of the NPHCDA in providing COVID-19 to all Nigerians but equally open a new frontier in promoting the community pharmacy as an integral primary care provider,” ACPN said.
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