Stakeholders charge community pharmacists to maximise opportunities

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…As Lagos ACPN holds continuing education programme

L-R, Pharm. Ike Ugwu, keynote speaker; Prof. Bola Sylva, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNILAG and Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, chairman, ACPN, Lagos Chapter, at the Continuing Education Conference organised by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, at NECA House, Alausa Ikeja, Lagos
L-R, Pharm. Ike Ugwu, keynote speaker; Prof. Bola Sylva, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNILAG and Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, chairman, ACPN, Lagos Chapter, at the Continuing Education Conference organised by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, at NECA House, Alausa Ikeja, Lagos

Stakeholders in the pharmaceutical profession, including Pharm Ike Ugwu, chief executive director, Pharmacare Support Group, have said that for the profession to attain enviable and fulfilling heights, pharmacists in the country must acquaint themselves with new opportunities and make the best use of them.

Pharm. Ugwu, who is a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN) and the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (FNAPharm) made his submission while delivering a keynote address on the topic, “Positioning Community Pharmacists for Evolving Opportunities”, at the Continuing Education Conference organised by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, at NECA House, Alausa Ikeja, Lagos, last December.

The revered pharmacist stated that many pharmacists are not quick to recognise opportunities and some who do don’t make judicious use of them.

Speaking further, Ugwu noted that over the past 40 to 50 years, the role of the pharmacist has evolved from provision of drugs and information to patient care, adding that pharmacy as a profession has come a long way and must continue to advance.

“I want to advise you to always strive to be the best pharmacist in your community so that when people are looking for the best they think about you first,” he said.

Ugwu also emphasised the need for thorough preparation   and personal development, as these not only help to maximize opportunities but also to cope with challenges and competition.

He said: “I was amazed when I learnt people were afraid of chain pharmacies coming to the country and I asked, are Medplus and Healthplus pharmacies not chain or is it because they are run by pharmacists? I have said it time without number that we should not be afraid of anything, provided we have our own home work and prepare well.”

Using his own example, he added that pharmacists must not become complacent after opening one or two pharmacies.

“I made a similar mistake when I started out in Festac area of Lagos State and I stopped expanding after opening my second pharmacy as I was contented that I had got it all; but today, close to 100 pharmacies have taken over Festac Town. So do not stop expanding and ensure you plan very well ahead of any of your steps,” he advised

Speaking in the same vein, Prof. Bola Sylva, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG), who was also chairman of the occasion, stated that the opportunities in Pharmacy are numerous, adding that all a practitioner needs to do is to be mentally ready for the opportunities and be ready to tap into them.

While speaking with journalists at the event, chairman of ACPN Lagos, Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh said the conference was designed to ensure members of the association were not left out in the scheme of things even as the world keeps developing every day.

“I want to believe there many of us who have not heard about some new opportunities in the practice and it is our responsibility to open their eyes to them. So, what we aim to do basically is to look at how to improve our practice, using technological means – for example, we now have electronic means of doing business and so many other technological improvements,” she said.

Speaking further, Pharm. Paul-Ozieh disclosed that the Continuous Education Conference programme in Lagos had been held consistently over the years because of the importance that the Lagos ACPN places on knowledge and effective service delivery.

“In recent times, we included motivational talks, such that pharmacists can have some personal developmental tips on how to improve themselves, how to improve their practice and how to improve their businesses. This is essentially a capacity-building programme for community pharmacists.”

Other dignitaries at the event included: Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, former national chairman of ACPN; Pharm. Albert Kelong Alkali, current national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, PSN, represented by Pharm. (Mrs) Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Hon Commissioner for Youth and Social Development who was also the guest of hounour; Pharm. N.A.E Mohammed, registrar, PCN, represented by Pharm. Augustine C. Ezeugwu; Pharm. Gbenga Olubowale, chairman, PSN, Lagos State; Pharm. Gbenga Falabi; Pharm. Folashade Lawal, among others.

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