By Victor Ogunje
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has assented to the Drugs and Health Commodities Management Agency bill in his bid to ensure that residents in the state would enjoy universal health coverage in terms of administration and availability of drugs in all government facilities.
Fayemi said the law was introduced to provide a legal basis for the establishment of The Ekiti State Drugs and Health Commodities Management Agency (ESDHCMA).
He expressed these views yesterday in Ado Ekiti when he signed the bill into law as part of activities marking his third year in office, adding that the sum of N80 million has been approved as the seed funding for the agency.
The governor submitted that the bill would lay a solid legal background for the manufacturing, procurement, distribution, sales and management of drugs and medical commodities in Ekiti State.
Drugs and medical supplies are essential parts of our health system. Ensuring that health facilities in the state have essential drugs and medical supplies that can be readily available when needed is key to delivering the universal health coverage for the people of Ekiti State.
“A successful drug and medical supply system can only be possible when there is a strong regulatory system backed by law that enables the ability for quality manufacturing and the management of an efficient supply chain.
“The Drugs and Health Commodities Management Agency Act will address the menace of low-quality drugs in circulation and drug stockouts in the State, ensuring that high-quality drugs are constantly available in the State at very affordable prices,” he said.
The governor stated that the law would be critical transforming Ekiti into a regional hub for quality healthcare delivery by enabling Ekiti to have the legitimacy to engage big pharmaceuticals on contract to get the best quality of drugs at the best prices.
He said: “This will also strengthen our public-private partnerships by allowing us to attract a diverse set of private sector partners who can catalyse the consumer market in our State, further improving the health-seeking behaviour of our people.
“Drug and health commodities revolving fund while facilitating our manufacturing capacity for local production of drugs and other health commodities. As I assent to this Bill, it is expected that all relevant stakeholders will move swiftly to action to ensure that the Drugs and Health Commodities Management Agency is established in the closest possible time and operations begin in earnest.”
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, noted that the establishment the state central medical store had been lacking adequate funding and systems to ensure efficient drug supply chains and zero stock-out before the passage of the law.
Filani said: “Before now, there was no service level agreement with manufacturers and drug suppliers. There was limited enforcement of the available drug management policy. There was no streamlined framework for the purchase of drugs within the State, by health facilities and other service providers.
“The quality, safety, efficacy and equitable accessibility to drugs and health commodities are hinged on strong regulatory systems, quality manufacturing and efficient supply chains.”