Applause, As 17 Pharmacies Bag COPA Awards

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-As NEPWHAN Eulogises HUGIN, ACPN

No fewer than seventeen pharmacies across the country have bagged the Community Pharmacist Action Centre (COPA) Awards, an initiative instituted to promote professional excellence and quality operations among members and to celebrate some pharmacies, which have attained some level of accreditation of COPA.

The award ceremony held at De Rembrandt Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, saw seventeen pharmacies spread across four states of the federation, including Lagos, with seven awardees; Rivers State, with four pharmacies; Cross River State and Akwa-Ibom State with three pharmacies respectively.

Cross section awardees at the programme

The awardees  decorated  under the category of COPA 1,included Epilson Pharmacy, Lagos; Drug Consult Pharmacy, Lagos; Mebik Pharmacy, Lagos; Silverline Pharmacy, Lagos; Rozec Pharmacy, Lagos; Barata Pharmacy, Rivers; GottGabe Pharmacy, Rivers; Healthspa Pharmacy, Rivers; Wilson Pharmacy, Rivers; Eagle Eye Pharmacy, Cross River; Joe Manuel Pharmacy, Cross River; Remcare Pharmacy, Cross River; Prolimsa Pharmacy, Akwa-Ibom; One Stop Pharmacy, Akwa-Ibom; Golden Drugs Pharmacy, Akwa-Ibom State; while, Alpha Pharmacy and Victory Drugs Limited, both from Lagos state were awarded under the COPA 3 category.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Dr Dorothy Oqua, country director, Howard University Global Initiative Nigeria (HUGIN), explained that the mandate of HUGIN 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.

Dr Dorothy Oqua, country director, HUGIN (Right), presenting an award plaque to Pharm. Ike Onyechi, managing director, Alpha Pharmacy Nigeria Limited, at the event

This she stated involves a collaboration with private-for-profit community pharmacists under the platform of the ACPN in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supported states of Lagos, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking further, she noted that the collaboration is based on a model of differentiated care called Community Pharmacy ARV Refill Programme (CPARP), where stable, willing and able clients are devolved to community pharmacies to receive their Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) refill in a community pharmacy with semi-annual return to the hospital for clinical and laboratory assessment.

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According to her, the patients who are stable and willing can now go to the community pharmacies to collect their drugs, which in turn reduce the number of people in the hospital without reducing the quality of care. “The client pays a token to the community pharmacist for the service rendered, but the drugs are free, funded by the US government, and at the end of the day, the client is happy and the community pharmacist is happy, while the hospital is freer. It’s like a win, win situation for all”.

Also speaking, the National Chairman, ACPN, Dr Albert Alkali noted that with the intervention programme of  HUGIN, in cooperation  with ACPN and PCN, Nigeria is definitely on the path of winning the war against HIV/AIDS. “Over the years, the prevalence of the disease has been going down drastically and by 2030 we hope that we will not be having new cases of HIV infection in the country,” he said.

Speaking further, Alkali explained that COPA initiative was designed to reposition community pharmacy as a model to influence surrounding pharmacies to brace up to modern and pharmacy best practices, saying it’s a means of improving patient outcome by ensuring the rational use of medicine in Nigeria.

He noted that HUGIN, in partnership with ACPN and PCN rolled out the COPA initiative as the quality assurance and quality improvement model under the platform of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funded, Sustainable Financing Initiative (SFI) of the Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project.

Speaking earlier, the National Coordinator, Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS In Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Mr Victor Omosehin, lauded the organiser of the initiative, HUGIN, in partnership with the community pharmacists for lifting some burden off the patients by offering the service patients would have struggled to get for a token fee of one thousand naira, saying the service is the best compared to what his members incur while patronizing hospitals for drug.

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