Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, has advised pharmacy students in the country to choose only institutions and centres accredited by the Council for their industrial attachment programme.
Addressing a gathering of 92 Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) graduands of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Akoka, during their recent induction and oathtaking ceremony which held at the institution’s main auditorium, Mohammed explained that the Council has made perennial search for prospective internship centres easier for students.
“Those of you who are in the habit of waiting for special call-ups from states and federal government parastatals are only wasting your time. You are not coming to sell motor spare parts or endanger the lives of Nigerians,” he cautioned. “Drugs are meant to saves lives. Therefore, as young professionals, ensure you do things right. When one doctor makes a mistake in diagnosis, only one patient dies. But when a pharmacist makes a mistake in compounding or mixing of drugs, a generation of people can pay dearly for it.”
The registrar further charged the graduands to always consider saving human lives ahead of monetary gain.
“If you are caught compromising your professional integrity in a desperate attempt to use your licence in unethical practice like ‘Register and Go,’ the PCN will not spare you. You will not only lose your licence, all your years of toil and hard work would have amounted to naught. Therefore, let he that has ears listen,” he warned.
The PCN boss congratulated parents of the graduands for encouraging them to complete the first phase of pharmacy training, saying that the second phase entails undergoing a mandatory one-year internship training programme under the supervision of a registered pharmacist in an accredited internship training facility.
Mohammed urged the graduands to get acquainted with the profession’s codes of ethics, adding that today’s Pharmacy has now been divided into two phases – products and practice components.
He explained that until now, Nigerians were used to only the product component which he described as a case of “bring-the-drug-and-collect-your-money”, noting that that Pharmacy had however been broadened to include counselling and patient care.
Urging the graduands to distinguish themselves from patent medicine dealers who are only out to make money, the PCN boss assured them that financial rewards would certainly come in the course of their commitment to professionalism.
The high point of the event saw one of the graduands, Pharm. Ayoola Babalola Smith, scooping up three awards – the PCN Prize to Best Graduating Student, the Faculty of Pharmacy Dean’s Prize to Best Graduating Student and the Pill Box Pharmacy Gift to Best Graduating Student; while Titilope Maryanne Ajayi picked up the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award (exclusively for lady pharmacists).
The colourful ceremony equally witnessed a massive turnout of participants, including the professors, faculty members, pharmacists in academia, students, parents as well as top PCN and PSN officials.
Prominent in attendance were Pharm. Ogheneochuko Omaruaye, chairman of the occasion; Prof. Duro Oni, UNILAG deputy vice chancellor (management sciences); Prof. Udoma Mendie, professor of microbiology; Pharm (Chief) Yetunde Morohundiya, former national chairman of Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPS); Prof. Boladale Silva, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy; Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, former dean; and Pharm. Tosin Adeyemi, chairman, National Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA).
Others were Pharm Ernest Okafor, managing director of Nemitt Pharma; Pharm. Bamisaye Oyawaluja, NAPA vice chairman; Pharm. (Mrs) Fatima Ikolaba, NAPA treasurer; Pharm (Mrs) Ogochukwu Amaeze, NAPA financial secretary; Pharm. Aminat Oyawaluja, lecturer, department of Pharmacognosy and Dr Rebecca Soremekun, a senior lecturer in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy.
Congratulating the graduating students, Prof Boladale Silva, faculty dean explained that aside from the induction marking the end of a five to six-year sojourn, it also marks the beginning of a career in pharmacy profession for the new inductees.
“As you go into another phase of life, you will undoubtedly be faced with so many obstacles but with these challenges come opportunities for leadership and innovation. It took Noah Webster 36 years to compile his Webster’s Dictionary. Where would we be today if he had not put in those countless hours of hard work behind his grand contribution to English Language?” he said.
The dean also charged the students to remain focused and remember that there are no shortcuts to success.
According to him, just like carbon, people also undergo a transformation under pressure and heat.
“The pressure of a challenge releases energy. When all is well, we don’t set tough goals. When we set high challenging goals, we see opportunities that were not visible before,” he remarked.
Silva expressed his appreciation to the PCN, PSN, UNILAG management, as well as academic and non-teaching staff of the faculty for their commitment and unflinching support over the years.
Ten first class graduands of the session (2014/2015) were presented at the event. They include: Ayoola Smith, Azeezat Ajenifuja, Oluwakemi Esan, Adenike Oyegbesan, Tope Elijah, Adeola Aminu, Titilope Adelekan, Innocent Akinnawo, Chukwudi Okwelogu and Uchechi Okpara.