The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Howard University, USA, have agreed to collaborate to move pharmacy practice in Nigeria to greater heights and improve health care delivery in the country.
The PSN and Howard University Pharmaceutical Care and Continuing Education (HU-PACE) representatives made this disclosure during the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the two organisations in Lagos, recently.
The Howard University pharmacy component initiative for HIV/AIDS control is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project led by Family International Health (FIH) 360.
Speaking at the event, held at the Pharmacy House, Anthony Village, Lagos, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai said pharmacists in Nigeria were committed to helping to improve patients care in the country, adding that the agreement with HU-PACE would enhance provision of care, especially in HIV/AIDS control programmes.
Pharm. Yakasai who disclosed that he had enjoyed long years of good relationship with Howard University noted that four technical groups in pharmacy practice would be actively involved in the collaboration with the HU-PACE programme to make it a success. These technical groups include community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, pharmacists in academia and Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs).
The PSN president assured representatives of Howard University of the support of all pharmacists to make the initiative a success, pledging that the agreement signed with HU-PACE would be fully implemented.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Dorothy Oqua, country director, HU-PACE, said its mission in Nigeria was to expand and strengthen the roles of pharmacists and Pharmacy in the public and private sectors in health care delivery, noting that HU-PACE currently had 53 pharmacists in its employment.
Dr Oqua explained that the project HU-PACE was working on, tagged, “Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS)” was to sustain cross-sectional integration of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) services by building Nigerian capacity to deliver sustainable, high quality, comprehensive, prevention, treatment, care and related services.
The Howard University-PACE mandate in SIDHAS, Dr Oqua explained, was to strengthen pharmacists’ capacity and pharmacy systems to provide sustainable and qualitative pharmaceutical care for HIV-infected clients and their families at primary, secondary and tertiary facilities and in communities in Nigeria.
This, she stated, would also entail collecting evidence on health-related outcomes to support policy change, as well as building ownership in public and private sector pharmacy systems at local state and national levels.
On the benefits of the PSN and HU-PACE collaborations in hospitals, Dr Oqua noted that the partnership would help to institutionalise the provision of pharmaceutical care for HIV clients through infrastructural upgrades in hospital pharmacies, abolition of window dispensing in pharmacies, as well as ensuring pharmacists take responsibility in the health care team as vanguards for quality care and improving patients’ health outcomes.
The HU-PACE/PSN collaboration, Dr Oqua stated further, would also help expand the involvement of community pharmacists in public health programmes in Nigeria; enhance access to pharmacy-based HIV & TB prevention, care and support services in community pharmacies; encourage private clinics to engage pharmacists and improve pharmacy services through pharmacy best practice trainings; as well as support the installation of PSN-recommended dispensing software to selected community pharmacies to promote high quality pharmacy services and documentation.
The highlight of the occasion was the formal signing of the MoU.