On Thursday, May 11, 2017, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) in partnership with Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) is planning a joint symposium that seeks to further harmonise the collaborative spirit among health professionals.
It would be recalled that physicians under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) in collaboration with Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) and Nigerian Nurses Association in the Americas met at a joint conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States from June 23 to 26, 2016 to fashion out ways to improve interprofessional relationship.
Following the historic meeting, an interprofessional relations committee was inaugurated this year by the top hierarchy of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria to devise further means to improve relationship among healthcare professionals.
Addressing a news conference held today at Business School Netherlands, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, vice president, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), said the need to revive the ‘Spirit of Las Vegas’ became necessary after a team comprising ANPA and NAPPSA visited last month on a medical mission to some states of the federation and equally had audience with the minister of health.
“NAPharm has the same objective hence it is the basis for this joint symposium which has been warmly welcome by NMA and other professional health groups. Just in case you are also wondering how we came about the name – Spirit of Las Vegas – it was my coinage.
“The aim of Thursday symposium as earlier highlighted is to bring health care professionals with ultimate focus on patient wellbeing. Since the theme is – Health of the Nation – The Imperative of Interprofessional Collaboration – we have lined up experts from different professional groups to do justice to the theme,” he announced.
While Prof Eyitayo Lambo, former minister of health, is expected to deliver the keynote address, other speakers include Dr Ebun Sonaiya, a consultant physician; Mrs Jokotola Shode, an accomplished nurse; Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, medical laboratory scientist; Mr Chukwuma Muanya, a health journalist (expected to speak from public perspective) and Pharm Jimi Agbaje, a well-known pharmacist and astute politician.
In Atueyi’s view, the nation’s apparent poor healthcare services are partly the resultant effects of lack of collaboration among healthcare practitioners.
“When services are not properly harmonised, the patient suffers the most while healthcare professionals also experience the side-effects of such suffering,” he warned.
Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, PSN national secretary general seemed to be in agreement with the vice president when he recalled that Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president of the society, during his inauguration also reiterated that the only way to give proper attention to the patient is for all health workers to come together.
He added that the president even went a step further to invite the immediate past NMA president, Dr. Kayode Obembe to further show how serious he was about such collaboration.
Gbolagade also warned members of the public to desist from asking ‘Who is the leader?’ in the health sector, stating that for as long as they keep fanning such ember of disharmony, the crisis in the health sector will rage on.
The general secretary of NAPharm, Prof Fola Tayo, further buttressed this view when he cautioned that there is nothing like a particular arm of the health sector holding leadership position.
“Rather, what we have is a pool of resources where the patient is the ultimate beneficiary. There should be a radical approach to put an end to such disharmony.
“For instance, a surgery cannot be said to be successful without the collaboration or intervention of surgeon, nurses, pharmacists and other health care workers. This is part of what we will be discussing next Thursday,” he admonished.
On his part, Pharm. Remi Adeseun, a fellow of the academy, equally has this to say about the danger of arrogating a pole position to a single arm in health.
“Until now, surgeons were believed to be inferior to physicians in the health sector. It took quite a while before their importance came to the fore and parity was restored. As a community, we should push for competency-based leadership and not qualification-based as some people think,” he stressed.