A lecturer in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Benin (UNIBEN), Pharm (Prof.) Ray I.Ozolua has called for holistic change in the curriculum of pharmacy schools across the country, stressing that this would positively affect the entire pharmaceutical profession.
Prof. Ozolua, who was one of the speakers at the 87th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, explored the topic, “Academic pharmacy practice: Time for change.”
Ozolua opined that the focus of pharmacy schools should always be on the relevance of a topic or subject to contemporary practice and research, rather than emphasising old and irrelevant issues.
“The world must not leave us behind, as many health professions have stepped up their game. Pharmaceutical medicine and herbal medicine are being introduced into the curricular of some schools of medicine. Therefore our type of Pharm.D should be a good blend of industrial, clinical practice and research,” he said.
He further asserted that a robust curriculum for pharmacy schools would be beneficial to national development as it would result in self-sufficiency and export of pharmaceutical products, including herbal products to other countries, while providing sound clinical basis for interpreting drug actions.
Prof. Ozolua also emphasised the need for improved teaching methodology, noting that lack of inspiration from some lecturers, low mental capacity, poor dress sense and lack of self-confidence were part of the challenges that must be surmounted for progress to be made.
“Absence of quality lecturing which ranges from dictating lecture notes without explanation, poor background preparation, failure to deploy ICTs and poor mentoringshould also change,” he urged, adding that “the change we are talking about cannot be achieved in academics if teaching methodology is not improved. Time for dictating lectures is over; time for telling students to ‘read up every topic’ is over; time for bullying students over minor acts of misdemeanour is over.”
The don, who defined pharmacists as professionals and group of persons with common background in training and who possess requisite skills that no other group possesses, however, lamented that pharmacists do not often defend their professionand colleagues.
“Pharmacists are expected to act as a vector, in one accord, in one direction, with a common focus and unrelenting force until the common goal is achieved. This is the main threat to our claim of professionalism,” he observed.
Recalling how Pharmacy started in Nigeria when diploma pharmacists were trained at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, up to 1962 when it started as a degree programme at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ife, Prof. Ozolua stated that the main thrust of pharmaceutical care is that pharmacists accept responsibilities for assisting patients get the best out of their medication, adding that, sadly, the current nature of pharmaceutical education in Nigeria is neither clinical nor industrial.