The 33rd annual national conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) was held in Ilorin, Kwara State, from 2 to 6 June, 2014. Our reporter, Oladejo Adebayo who was at the event, sought the opinions of some participants regarding the event. Their views are presented below:
One of the best so far
This is one of the best conferences I have attended in my life because it was quite educative and several professionals in the field of Pharmacy, including the likes of Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, Prof. Femi Oyewo, Pharm. Bukky George and the rest, were present. There were also many pharmaceutical companies around to showcase their products; and to cap it all, the presence of security personnel was quite commendable.
I am not disputing the fact that the conference can still be improved upon for subsequent editions, but I am happy with what I saw on ground this year because every aspect of the conference was well taken care of – security was tight, there were lots of spaces for pharmaceutical companies, the environment was tidy and the road network to the conference venue was superb; what else should one expect?
The only minor issue I have is that I would have preferred the conference to hold at a venue that is well covered. I believe this will better ensure that drugs on display are not exposed to direct sunlight. Though the spaces allocated to some of the companies were covered, there were still some who could not stay inside the covered areas for some reasons. It would have been better if the whole conference venue was covered. Aside from that, I will say kudos to ACPN!
Kudos to ACPN, but…
This is the first time I will be attending an ACPN conference and, if you ask me to assess the event based on what I think one of this magnitude should look like, I will give it a 100 per cent vote. Apart from the fact that the conference was well-planned, it also gave me the opportunity to meet and learn from some of my senior colleagues, whom I had been longing to see, especially the likes of Pharm. Bukky George, Prof. Femi Oyewo and the rest. The conference has increased the confidence I have in community pharmacy and, by virtue of that, I am proud to be a community pharmacist.
I like the way the conference was organised and I am impressed with the keynote address and some of the goodwill messages delivered by my senior colleagues. I have learnt that community pharmacy is beyond buying and selling of drugs.
However, I think the organisers should work more on the issue of time-management. A situation where a programme is scheduled for 10am but doesn’t start until 11am or thereabout is not good enough because it will definitely affect other programmes for that day. Also, the rate at which people move in and out of the hall should be reduced, so as to reduce distractions.
Apart from those two challenges, I give kudos to ACPN for putting up the well-packaged programme.
ACPN should emulate PSN
I was at the conference last yearin Calabar, so I can confidently say this year’s conference was superb, in terms of organisation and logistics.Things could have been betterthough, compared with what happens at PSN conferences. I thinkACPN should learn from the parent body on how best to handle registration of delegates because this is one of the important areas that determine the success or otherwise of every conference. There were lots of lapses in the way the registration was done and the registration area was also a bit crowded.
However, despite the registration issues, there were noticeable improvements in the way the exhibition stands were allocated and demarcated, which was an improvement on what we had last year. There was a recommendation at the last conference that drugs should not be left in the open, under direct sunlight, and we noticed that there was improvement this year; however, the change came with its own challenge because the noise coming from the exhibitors’ cornerwas a major disturbance and distraction for people in the conference hall. So, the organisersmust find a way to completely separate the exhibition area from the conference hall in subsequent conferences. Overall, it was a good conference.
Good, but conference venue is no marketplace
I had a wonderful experience. I never thought ACPN conference could be so interesting and educative. Now I can boastfully say that I have a broader view of what is expected of me and what other opportunities I can explore,as a community pharmacist, courtesy of this year’s conference. The speech of Pharm. Bukky George, whom I have always seen as a mentor, was really an eye-opener for me.The speech of Pharm. Shina Opanubi was also a very good one, while the keynote address was well researched and highly educative.
However, I think the ACPN should ensure that subsequent conferences are organised in such a way that people are discouraged from coming with the sole aim of buying drugs but, rather, to learn how to improve in their profession. Buying and selling activities should be more restricted, so that more people will participate in conference discussions, rather than busy looking for what to buy.
I have noticed that more people attend the conference with the primary aim of increasing their stocks and this is not good enough. In all, it was a well-planned conference.