The Nigerian Government on Friday called on state governments to domesticate Essential Medicine List (EML) to guide the procurement of medicine in health facilities and enhance quality healthcare services in the country.
Mrs Beauty Okologo, Deputy Director/Head Pharmaceutical Services, Federal Ministry of Health, made the call at a stakeholders meeting on the revised National Standard Treatment Guidelines (NSTG) and Essential Medicine List (EML) dissemination and utilisation action plan development in Abuja.
Okologo noted that only FCT and Kaduna State Government have domesticated EML since it was inaugurated in 2016.
The meeting was organised by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria-Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @Scale Project (PSN-PACFaH).
Okologo noted that EML was meant to be used for procurement of medicine, describing the selection of medicine from the list as a step in the right direction of the rational use of medicine and ensuring the quality of healthcare delivery.
Okologo said: “The principle of EML is that a limited number of availability of medicine will promote a better supply chain and rational prescribing to the rural and remote health centres. This concept will also ensure better procurement policy at lower costs, more in amount, with easier storage, safeguard and improve distribution and dispensing of medicine.”
She listed federal government efforts toward full implementation of these documents by states to include dissemination and awareness creation.
According to her, government has also sensitised local manufacturers to produce some medicines in the list, including Amoxicillin Dispersible Tablet and Zinc-Low Osmolarity instead of importation.
This, she noted, would ensure accessibility and availability of these products in the country.
“EML is a national document that should as well be translated to states and states that are yet to domesticate their own should do so without hesitation. Dissemination of EML and STG is continuous. We are developing strategies to increase information so that people will know about these documents and use them effectively. We have come up with an addendum or additional list which consists of antibacterial like Ampicillin which was not captured in the EML to take care of bacteria infection in children from age zero to 59 days. We have also removed Chloroquine and replace it Antemital and Lumefacin (ACT) which will now be used in treating malaria in the country.”
The meeting was aimed at brainstorming over the dissemination of NSTG and EML for effective implementation.
Dr Edwin Akpotor, Senior Programme Officer, PSN-PACFaH @ Scale Project, said development of an action plan would ensure full dissemination and implementation of these strategic policies.
Akpotor noted that the action plan would reflect essential drugs such as Amoxicillin Dispersible Tablet and co-pack Zinc-Low Osmolarity Oral Rehydration Salt (Zn-Lo-ORS) recommended as first line drugs for Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhoea, respectively.
According to him, these drugs recommended by the United Nations Committee on Life-Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC), among others, shall be procured and utilised across the federation.