ACPN Holds 33rd Annual General Meeting, Conference, Honours ASHIA Boss, Onyemaechi

 By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, on Wednesday, 12th June 2024 held its 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference in Awka Anambra State Capital.

  Speaking during the event the Chairman of the Association, Pharmacist  Henry Iloh said the occasion provided opportunity to critique ASHIA operations in the state and chart a way forward, especially how to get Pharmacists' input in  the overall well-being of patients, ASHIA enrollees , citizens and residents of the state. 

 Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Pharmacist Ike Odumodu stated that low budgetary allocation, limited knowledge at subnational level, high out-of-pocket expenditures are challenges to health insurance policy, and called for strategic collaboration to address them. 

In his Keynote presentation, the Managing Director of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, ASHIA, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi said the Agency and Community Pharmacists playing  integral role was the way to go in ensuring improved health condition of the people through insurance scheme that helped in achieving universal health coverage, a fundamental human right.

  Dr Onyemaechi described universal health coverage as a dream, journey destination that required involvement of major stakeholders in the health sector.

  He added that the health coverage, which, he said, ASHIA was helping to achieve in Anambra was such that when everybody everywhere would have access to healthcare services that were sufficient quality to be effective without suffering financial hardship .

 On the role of Community Pharmacists in the administration of ASHIA, Dr Onyemaechi noted that there were members engaged to provide ASHIA facilities with quality assured medicines for enrollees, adding that to ensure that out-of-stock syndrome does not hamper ASHIA operations. The Agency, according to him, had linkages with some community Pharmacists across the state where ASHIA enrollees can visit and get medications if the drugs were not in any of its facilities. 

He said community Pharmacists can collaborate with ASHIA for more impact through community outreach health programmes; as well as using their reach and services to get more people enrolled in the scheme by referring those having challenges in purchasing prescribed medications. 

  He said Governor Chukwuma Soludo instead of upward review of money for enrollment has instead increased subsidy for the scheme to ensure that the programme continued. 

 Some of the participants at the event, including a one-time Chairman of the Association in the state, Pharmacist Uche Akpakama former member representing Anambra East State Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Pharmacist (Hon) Obinna Emeneka and a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) , Pharm. Ifeanyi Okeke said integrating community Pharmacists in providing services to ASHIA enrollees would boost operations of the Agency.

  The national Chairman of the Association, Pharmacist Adewale Oladigbolu was represented at the event by the national financial secretary of ACPN, Pharm. Obiageli Ukwu. The Conference had as its theme "Innovation Strategies for Expanding Community Pharmacy Services In Anambra; A Path to Universal Health Coverage.

Presentation of Keynote Speaker Award to the MD/CEO of ASHIA, Dr  Simeon Onyemaechi , speeches formed the highpoints of the function.



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