PMG-MAN advocates healthcare coverage for Nigerians


Okey Akpa, chairman PMG-MAN

Okey Akpa, chairman PMG-MAN
Okey Akpa, chairman PMG-MAN

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) has called for national healthcare coverage for Nigerians across the country.

The body reckons that historically, providing adequate access to high quality healthcare for Nigerians has been one of the most intractable challenges for the Nigerian government and other important stakeholders involved in national healthcare provision.

Although some progress has been made recently, there are still significant barriers to the provision of optimum healthcare for the average Nigerian.

This is evidenced by the relevant health indices such as life expectancy at birth, maternal mortality ratio, and infant mortality rate which are still relatively poor.

As a major stakeholder in ensuring that Nigerians have expeditious access to high quality healthcare, the PMG-MAN has this year decided to adopt a broad based, robust and comprehensive approach for its Biennial Forum.

PMG-MAN is the umbrella body of over one hundred pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nigeria and since drug therapy forms the majority of healthcare interventions, it goes without saying that the role that PMG-MAN plays in how Nigerians access healthcare, cannot be over-emphasised.

For more than thirty years, PMG-MAN has promoted Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) by undertaking comprehensive and rigorous self–regulation, which complements statutory regulators’ oversight of the industry.

The group has also contributed to government policy formulation and implementation, supported public sector activities, and engaged in CSR activities that have significantly improved other socio-economic aspects of life in Nigeria.

The PMG-MAN forum this year marks the commencement of its new engagement strategy, which will enable the development of an innovative approach to rigorously and comprehensively engage with the challenges in the pharmaceutical sector, as well as the industrial policy space in Nigeria.

The forum this year themed “Medicines’ Security and National Self-Sufficiency: Maximising Medicines’ Manufacturing Capacity in Nigeria” has also been carefully developed to align with Government’s apt policy thrust which emphasizes the contextual development of Nigerian solutions for Nigerian problems.

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National Self-Sufficiency, which is at the heart of the Nigerian Government’s as well as PMG-MAN’s engagement ethos, is in line with the current international thinking regarding how Nations should formulate strategies to enable them build societies that are safe and secure from illnesses and diseases.

Evidence of this was seen last year, when after a quarter of a decade, the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) which formed a framework for developing solutions to the world’s problems, morphed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with ‘sustainability’ identified as the game changing factor.

The main ‘take-away’ from the MDG experience therefore, is that the ultimate responsibility to developing sustainable solutions to our problems is ours. This is a strong indication of how important this forum is, for the development of contextual solutions in this area of Nigerian healthcare
The Keynote Address this year will be delivered by Mr. Okey Akpa, the PMG-MAN Chairman, while Dr Mark Abani, who is the Non-Executive Director of Crown Agents and Lead Consultant of MSCA Projects, will follow on as Guest Speaker.

Participation mirrors the multi-stakeholder approach being adopted by the group.

Leadership of the National Assembly, including the Chairmen of the Senate committee on Industry (Senator Dr Sam Egwu), Senate committee on Health (Senator Dr LanreTejuoso), and Senate committee on Primary Health (Senator Mao Ohuabunwa) are all billed to attend. The Senate President, Senator Dr Abubakar Olubukola Saraki is expected to attend as the Special Guest of Honour.

Also invited are the Honourable Ministers of Health, Finance and Industry.

There are strong indications that Directors General of key Agencies such as NAFDAC, NACA, PCN, NHIS and NPHCDA will all contribute to the debate at the forum.

Presidents of professional groups such as the PSN have indicated their participation in the forum. Other key stakeholders expected to attend include the Country Director of Crown Agents and Representatives of the WHO, UNIDO, ECOWAS, DFID, USAID and UNICEF

With the plans being put in place, this year’s forum holding on the 2nd of June at the Abuja Transcorp Hilton, promises to be an epoch making colloquium. Policy Experts and Health Strategists have suggested that this innovative multi-stakeholder forum as well as the development of the networks, structures and processes that follow it, will mark a fresh and innovative model in how medicines are provided for Nigerians.