The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, on Monday demonstrated his commitment towards the fight against fake drugs by inspecting pharmaceutical products at the state-owned drug distribution centre.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, says the governor carried out the inspection in company of a crack team of pharmacists, medical doctors and other health professionals shortly after declaring open a two-day Drug Trade Fair in Yenagoa.
According to the statement, Mr Dickson also directed the Commissioner for Health and Acting Head of Service to ensure that all public health institutions in the state compulsorily procure their drugs and other pharmaceutical products from the Centre.
Speaking at the event, the governor said the target of his administration is to make Bayelsa a foremost medical tourist destination, where health care seekers could meet their needs at affordable cost.
He noted that, it was for the realisation of this purpose that the administration has been investing on world class health facilities and programmes including the state Health Insurance Scheme which has been adjudged to be one of the best in the country.
While expressing appreciation to the organisers of the trade fair, the governor noted with delight that over 40 pharmaceutical firms were participating at the exhibition, which is said to be the first ever held in the country.
According to the governor, the Drug Distribution Centre is primarily targeted at curbing the circulation of fake drugs in Bayelsa and neighbouring states.
The governor also called on Nigerians to emulate former President of the Country, Olusegun Obasanjo, to patronise medical facilities in the state for their health needs.
His words, “This state is ripe for medical business. If you are thinking of doing anything serious in the health sector, this is where you should come because apart from the several world class health facilities we have built, we also have a health insurance system that is so robust and will get better with time.”
“I call for more support by all and sundry for this drug distribution center. The whole purpose is to have a place where genuine drugs can be obtained in our state and beyond Bayelsa. It is also meant to serve other states around us.
“I’m pleased with the reports I have received and I want to direct that all public healthcare facilities in the state, to compulsorily procure their drugs and other medical products from this centre. It will be wrong for any public facility to procure drugs from any place other than this drug center because we want to be sure that they are genuine.
“And I hereby direct the Acting Head of Service and the Commissioner for Health to ensure that appropriate circulars are issued to all those in charge of public healthcare facilities in the state.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Ebitimitula Etebu, explained that the trade fair was being organised to promote interactions among stakeholders in the health sector to keep them abreast of the ever changing trends in the pharmaceutics of drugs.
Mr Etebu, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the newly established Bayelsa State University of Medical Sciences, commended Mr Dickson for supporting the health ministry to complete the Centre and ensure its commencement of operations.
In their separate remarks, the Managing Director of the Bayelsa State Drug Distribution Company Limited, Tamaraotare Owota-Johnson, and the state chairperson, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Bio Joseph, also lauded the governor for his efforts at moving the health sector forward.
According to them, the Drug Distribution Centre, which is the first ever in the country, would help to improve healthcare delivery by reducing the influx of fake pharmaceutical products into the state.
On his part, the State Coordinator of National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Joseph Edoh, said the establishment of the centre would not only enhance the operations of NAFDAC, but also address the chaotic drug distribution channel in the state.