I want to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the number of calls I have been getting since posting the article about what prof. Chidi Odinkalu said about tolerating impunity in a system and pharmacist problems in Nigeria.
Suddenly, pharmacists have been calling me with wonderful ideas on solving pharmacist problems in Nigeria. But the most outstanding is the one from an Indian Mr. Deepak (I hope I got your name right) who has lived for so long in Nigeria.
He too has been astonished at the attitude of the Pharmacist premises inspectors and the challenges in registering a premises in Nigeria. He is also astonished that you can go to an establishment like Pharmacist council of Nigeria Office to find out the status of a document you submitted months ago and no one could give you a concrete answer not to talk of an official response to an official enquiry.
His suggestion I think makes a whole lot of sense that I cannot claim credit for them. and they are as follows
1. PHARMACIST COUNCIL OF NIGERIA SHOULD MOVE SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS ON-LINE – This means opening a website that is also a portal. For instance If I submit my application online, nobody can claim that I did not submit it on time. On-line submission of application forms will eliminate the incidence of pharmacists claiming they are been victimised since the process will be done automatically.
Come to think of it, JAMB results now come out in hours rather than the usual months since jamb started on-line registration and computer based examination. I don’t think Nigerian pharmacists are up to the numbers of people sitting for jamb in a year.
2. HAVE A SPACE ON THE PCN PORTAL FOR PENDING UN-INSPECTED SITES – If there is a place I can go and verify those who applied for location approval close to a site I want to pay for, I can easily save myself the worry of paying the rent for a space and going into praying and fasting because I cannot say if after the inspectors come which in Lagos usually takes 4 months, the location will be approved.
This pending inspection part will reduce the worry and anxiety that pharmacists are unduly subjected to as they wait for the inspection of their site
3. REGISTRAR ALERT BUTTON – If the portal has a button that after an application has stayed for more than 2 weeks, the applicant can click on it and send an alert to the registrar about the delay in their application processing.
In essence, what Mr Deepak is suggesting is that the operations of Pharmacist council of Nigeria will be a lot more transparent, reliable and predictable if most of the activities associated with all registrations is moved online.
Unfortunately, it will take away job from people like me because pharmacists will no longer need to pay us consultancy fee to advise them on how to go about their premises registration (its an expensive price that I am willing to pay)
4. DEPLOY GOOGLE MAP – This is the part that I have been crying for for months. It will cost PCN practically nothing to install GOOGLE MAPPING software. With this software, a pharmacist who applies for a location can immediately see the approved and pending approval locations around his intended location. He can easily go and check if those sites are up to the approved distance from each other. The unbelievable part is that this technology from Google is FREE.
I can get the email address of the Head of Google in Nigeria for PCN to discuss with on how Google Nigeria can deploy this technology for them that can reduce the stress that pharmacist encounter with premises registration by more than 95%
My point is that a lot of the jobs been done in the process of approving a Location for a pharmacist that currently takes at least 10 moths from submission of application to receiving of License can be done is less than 2 weeks if these simple step of taking the application processes online and deploying GOOGLE MAP.
NAFDAC recently took the submissions of forms online and this has reduced the stress of NAFDAC clients. PCN too can learn from NAFDAC so as to bring about the change we are clamouring for.
I want to thank all those who have been making great suggestions but for now, all my focus is on reducing the time it takes to get a premises approved in Nigeria and I am not saying that all the concerns you guys are raising and their numerous solutions are not relevant.
Thank You and God help Nigerian Pharmacists
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