Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government will collaborate with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in tackling illicit drugs, linking the rising crime rate across the state to drug use.
Obaseki said this when he received the PSN President and other members of the body, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
The governor said the government meets monthly with security heads to review the security situation in the state and has discovered that there is a correlation between drugs and crime.
According to him, “Every month, we sit down to review the security situation in the state. We have a security information database where we record security incidents in the state.
“From it, we discovered that there is a correlation between drug use and the incidence of insecurity. The local government where we have the highest incidence of drug use also has the highest incidence of criminality and insecurity.”
He added, “We must tackle illicit drugs by firming up regulations and strengthening structures and institutions within government and the profession to have more control over the use of drugs in the country. We must begin to work together to achieve this great task over the use of drugs.”
Reassuring the government’s commitment to ensuring quality and efficient healthcare delivery to Edo people, the governor said, “We can no longer centralize healthcare services in the state as our strategy and plan is now to decentralize the healthcare system.
“We cannot have a central hospital anymore. We must have primary healthcare hospitals across the state to enable our citizens to easily reach healthcare services. Secondary care would be ensured by collaborating and investing in specialist care through specialist hospitals that will be referral centres for our primary healthcare network.”
Calling for the collaboration of pharmacists to provide quality primary healthcare to Edo people, the governor noted that pharmacists are the first port of call for citizens, adding, “If we have a well-established network of care, we would be able to deal with the issue of adulterated medicine as it will help checkmate illicit drugs. Edo wants to become the nation’s healthcare hub.”
Earlier, the President of PSN, Pharm. Cyril Usifoh commended the governor for prioritizing the health sector, noting, “I thank you for taking healthcare issues seriously by establishing the Edo Health Insurance Scheme to take care of the health of the people of the state. We urge you to reactivate the task force for counterfeit drugs and medicines to check illicit drugs and save the people from abusing drugs.”
On his part, Managing Director of Edo Health Insurance, Mr. Rock Amegor said the state is working on how to improve drugs supply chain system in Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and integrate it into the state’s health insurance system.