Thunderous ovation reverberated throughout the main auditorium of the University of Benin on 7 July, 2015 as the institution’s deputy vice chancellor (academics), Prof. Abiodun Falodun, announced that the vice chancellor had authorised the erection of another building for the faculty of pharmacy.
Addressing the audience, comprising mainly pharmacy students, during the opening ceremony of the 36th annual pharmacy health week organised by the UNIBEN chapter of Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS), Falodun explained that it didn’t take much convincing for the school vice chancellor to approve a new structure, complete with laboratory and lecture theatre for the faculty.
“It is said that a giant Iroko (tree) begins with a small seed. It is that belief that spurred him to trust that the faculty of pharmacy can also take us (UNIBEN) to a giant height. It is that same belief that made him to appoint me also as deputy vice chancellor,” he said.
The DVC further added, to the delight of the students, that the faculty would soon begin to produce methylated spirit, cotton wool and hydrogen peroxide.
“In fact, as I am talking to you, a committee to oversee the project is in place and headed by Dr Patrick Igbinaduwa, head of pharmaceutical chemistry department,” he announced.
As the students expressed their excitement with deafening applause, the professor quickly added that there were also plans in place to ensure the production of hormonal drugs in the institution.
On the challenges often faced by pharmacy students going for internship, the professor said, “We have also observed that many pharmacy students go through a lot of stress in search for a place to do their internship. We are working on something that should take care of that very soon.”
Earlier in his address on “Self Care In Hypertension and Diabetes – The Role of the Pharmacist”, Prof. Azuka Oparah, a clinical pharmacy professor in UNIBEN had described self-care as the act of taking responsibility for one’s health without professional intervention, but with professional support.
The clinical professor explained that chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes required life-long self care, in addition to professional care in order to achieve the desired clinical, humanistic, and economic outcomes.
“If we live long enough, we stand the risk of chronic diseases,” Oparah noted, adding that “chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are the major causes of death and disability worldwide. Many studies have demonstrated that a large proportion of patients are not aware of their high blood pressure.”
According to the don, the 1994 WHO resolution recognises the key role of pharmacists and further emphasises their responsibility to provide informed and objective advice on medicines and their use, to promote the concept of pharmaceutical care, and to actively participate in illness prevention and health promotion.
“After all, the mission of the profession of pharmacy is to improve or maintain public health through ensuring safe, effective, and appropriate use of medications,” he stressed.
The opening ceremony of the event was graced by a large number of eminent personalities, including Pharm (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; who delivered the keynote address, Pharm (Mrs) Caroline Olumese, deputy director/head of department, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH); and Pharm Chris Iyare, chairman, Edo State branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).
Others were Pharm. Chukwuemeka Obi, chief operating officer of PharmacyPlus Nigeria Limited; Pharm. (Dr) Mrs Tawa Idubor, PSN national financial secretary; Pharm. Tunde Akanmu, managing director, Monic-Tee Pharm; Pharm. Aloysius Anieke, pharmacist-in-charge of Philip Andy Je Pharmacy; Dr Collins Aireminen, department of pharmaceutics & pharmaceutical technonolgy (UNIBEN); and Prof. Ehijie Enato, lecturer, UNIBEN’s faculty of pharmacy.
Towards the end of the programme, seven distinguished pharmacists were honoured by the PANS executives with two categories of awards – the Pharmacy Legend Award, and the Pa E. A. Osadolor Merit Award – in recognition of their innovative contributions to pharmaceutical excellence.
Recipients of the awards were: Pharm (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi and Pharm. Aloysius Anieke (Pharmacy Legend Award); Pharm. Chukwuemeka Obi, Pharm Chris Iyare, Dr Collins Aireminen, Prof. Ehijie Enato and Dr Patrick Igbinaduwa (Pa E. A. Osadolor Merit Award).