By Ilyasa Baa
Pharmacists in the country have expressed dissatisfaction over what they referred to as massive illegal entry points, which give way for substandard drugs to enter the country unabated.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Pharmaceutical Society, Alusine Musa, these illegal entry points have been affecting their operation in so many ways, noting that the smuggling of drugs into the country leads to the influx of substandard drugs which affect people’s health in the country. He said they are aware that there are four legal entry points in the whole country, adding that the rest are not manned at all. He said the society has been sensitizing its members to discourage the sale of substandard drugs in their pharmacies.
Alusine Musa made this disclosure following World Pharmacist Day, which is observed on September 25th annually. He said the role of pharmacists is poorly recognized, noting that they are contributing immensely towards the health sector of the country but not recognized for the important role they play.
The National Revenue Authority (NRA) has not been able to man or control these illegal crossing points in spite of its intervention.
Observers in Freetown informed this medium that the streets of Freetown are flooded with substandard drugs and no action is being taken by authorities as control mechanism, to save the lives of people as these peddlers, are not visible.
The World Pharmacists Day is an opportunity to communicate how pharmacists are transforming health through a variety of health services in their communities, including advising on healthy living, vaccinating to prevent disease, and ensuring that medicines are taken correctly. This year marks the tenth World Pharmacists Day with the theme Transforming Global Health.
In Sierra Leone, most people depend on pharmacies for treatment instead of going to government hospitals or health centres across the country because of complacency and unavailability of drugs in most hospitals in the country.
Civil Society Organizations, including Health Alert, have called on the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to repeal the Nurses and Midwifery Act of 1956, which they consider as the engine for transformation of the country’s deplorable health sector.