Health Minister Approves AMX DT and Zinc-Lo-ORS as FLT for Childhood Pneumonia, Diarrhoea
By Tunde Oguntola
Amoxicillin Dispersible Tablets and co-pack Zinc and Low Osmolarity Oral Rehydration Salt Solution –ORS has been included in the Nigeria Standard Treatment Guideline (NSTG) and Essential Medicine List (EML) as First Line Treatment (FLT) for Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhoea respectively. The Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole who launched the 2nd edition of the NSTG and the 6th edition of the EML approved the inclusion of the two drugs in the two documents in June 2016.
The Minister who was represented by the Director Food and Drugs, Federal Ministry of Health, Pharm. Gloria Chukwuma described the documents as core documents in the health sector of every country and explained that the goal of the documents “is in line with National Drug Policy”.
The Minister added that the documents will be used for: “Procurement of medicines and their use in the public sector, Prescribing medicines in the public health sector, Medicines information to healthcare providers, Re-imbursement of medicines in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Reference standard for health professionals.”
The minister further urged health care providers to ensure the new guidelines for the treatment of childhood pneumonia and Diarrhoea (two diseases that account for over 400,000 under-5 years children death annually in Nigeria) should be made available at all time.
Also speaking at the event, a member of the NSTG/EML Review Committee and the immediate past Project Director (Strategy) of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria- Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PSN-PACFaH) Pharm. Remi Adeseun, the launching of the document was a long way coming considering the fact that the last edition of EML was in 2010 while that of NSTG was in 2008.
Adeseun further stated that these documents ought to be revised every two years because the change in healthcare practice standard as well as re-introduction of medicines is so dynamic that waiting for almost seven years is too long. He observed that even though Nigerian Doctors and Pharmacists may be using guidelines and medicine formulary, they are not using the EML which is supposed to be statutory and mandatory, asking why Nigerians are still using the British National Formulary without being questioned.
He however said that the next step is proper dissemination to see how the documents would get into the hands of users. “We encourage other people to go into advocacy because it works.
The documents being launched today is a reflection of the fact that consistent evidence-based advocacy works”, Adeseun said.
The revised NSTG and EML document came to fruition after series of engagement with the Federal Ministry of Health by PSN-PACFaH and other development partners whose mandate was to advocate to government for the adoption of the two drugs.
It would be recalled that since 2015, PSN-PACFaH and Civil Society Coalition Partners have been advocating to the government (Federal and State) and other relevant stakeholders to achieve the above goal.
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