(By Temitope Obayendo)
National chairperson of the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), Pharm (Mrs) Zainab Shariff, has called on the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), as well as pharmacists across the country, to come out of their professional shells and get involved in policy formulation and other issues of national interest.
The ALPs head, who spoke to Pharmanews in an exclusive interview, said the time has come for pharmacists’ voices to be heard in the nation, having endured years of professional discrimination and repression. The best way to do this, she noted, is through participation in governance at the national level.
According to her: “Pharmacists should aspire to be more proactive in social events and project the profession in the process, participate in activities involving policy making, and most importantly, improve and build on capacity, not just in the pharmacy profession but other spheres that concern national interest. It is time for our voices to be heard.”
Shariff, who is also the incumbent deputy director of the Federal Ministry of Health, urged pharmacists to look away from the challenges currently facing the profession and focus on the brighter side of professional practice, while devising solutions to the challenges.
Concerning her role as chairperson of ALPs, Shariff stated that her primary goal is to strengthen the relationship among members of the association, as well as empower community women with the knowledge of small scale production of medicinal plants peculiar to each geopolitical zone of the federation.
“There is a unifying project in our Project 91, which seeks to cultivate medicinal plants best suited to each geo-political zone, for nutritional, economic and health benefits of our people, particularly women and children. This will stimulate small scale production, women cultivators and job creation,” she said.
She also hinted on the activities ALPs so far, stressing that the association has been engaged in programmes such as visiting schools for talks on drug abuse and misuse; organising career talks for female students in Unity Schools, particularly with the aim of encouraging them to consider pharmacy as a career choice and challenging them to stay healthy and prevent themselves from being victims of child prostitution and rape; and participating in the activities of the National Council for Women Societies, as an affiliate.
“It’s obvious ALPs is living up to expectations. A lot still needs to be done though, but we will get there,” she avowed.