The Director General/Chief Executive, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Farouk Salim, has said the agency is prepared to partner stakeholders in the healthcare delivery sector to enhance the quality of equipment, machinery and services being offered in the country.
He said health practitioners should take due advantage of the offshore conformity assessment programme for SON-regulated imports (SONCAP) to improve the quality of products being offered to Nigerians.
Speaking at the 45th National Convention of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS), held recently in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Salim said the assessment provides a window of import permit for raw materials equipment and machinery.
Represented at the occasion by SON chief executive, Mr. Ugochukwu Nwachukwu, he pointed out that local manufacturing of medical equipment and machinery stood to gain a lot in accuracy of measurements from the calibration services being offered by SON-promoted National Metrology Institute (NMI) located in Enugu with outreaches across the country.
Salim, therefore, invited all public and private sector organisations in Nigeria to take advantage of its internationally accredited Management Systems Certification services to guarantee improvements in their processes and systems in line with international best practices.
According to him, the internationally accredited laboratory services being offered by the standards agency provides seamless international acceptance for all commodities and products tested at very competitive prices, especially for members of the organised private sector to promote National self-sufficiency, increased export and foreign exchange earnings.
He said the theme of the Convention, “Indigenous Drug Production: Bottlenecks/Challenges,” was apt, particularly in view of the economic diversification agenda of the federal government aimed at ensuring steady and sustainable growth of the nation’s wealth.
The SON boss, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Bola Fashina, further expressed hope that the insights to be gained from the knowledge and wealth of experience in indigenous drug manufacturing among others, would propel many of the pharmaceutical students into local manufacturing and entrepreneurship to create more job opportunities and greater wealth for Nigeria, in spite of the daunting challenges.
He said: “I wish to challenge you all as students of pharmacy to begin to focus your minds beyond the production and administration of drugs to the business models required to sustain pharmaceutical studies, practices and research to underscore your key role in the health care delivery sector.”
He also enjoined members of PANS to fully internalise adherence to standards and quality, embodied in the ethics of the pharmacy profession, as according to him, they will have the responsibility of continuously meeting international best practices in the global village.
He said: “We at the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) are available to provide you support in the area of standards development and placing at your disposal our network of relationships locally and internationally to enhance your knowledge in the course of your study.”
He disclosed that SON was working with the Nigeria Universities Commission and some Universities on adding standardisation to the curriculum, adding that Standards clubs were already being established in primary and secondary schools across the nation to deepen the knowledge of Nigerians on standards and quality assurance.
The Chairman, Governing Council of Pharmacist in Nigeria, Prof. Ahmed Tijanni Mora stated that the appointment of Mallam Salim as the second Pharmacist to head SON, points to the vast scope of Pharmaceutical practice.