In a renewed bid to foster harmony and progress in the health care sector, experts have reiterated the need for cooperation and mutual understanding among the key players.
Speaking at the 1st Annual Scientific Symposium of the National Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA) held at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba on 18 August, Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, explained that beyond serving as practice sites, health care systems and organisations are a conduit for expanding access to additional patient populations.
She stressed that to ensure effective collaboration among the various practitioners in the health industry, “the culture on both sides of partnerships must embrace individuals who dedicate their time to the pursuit of innovation.”
Focusing specifically on the relationship between pharmacists in academia and those in other sectors, Odukoya opined that since pharmacists are the most accessible health care personnel in Nigeria today, both parties should recognise where their motivations and visions lie and ensure they support each other in pursuit of the purpose of the partnership.
“Pharmacy has a rich history of advancing practice through innovation,” she said.”These innovations helped to mould Pharmacy into a patient-centred discipline recognised for its contributions to improving medication therapy outcomes. However innovations in Pharmacy have now waned. It is only the growth of academic-practice partnership that could reverse this trend and stimulate innovation among the next generation of pioneering clinical pharmacists.”
While congratulating NAPA on its 30th Pharmaceutical Education Anniversary at the University of Lagos, the dean stated that the number 30 symbolises an age when a person reaches physical and mental maturity and could therefore handle major responsibilities.
In another presentation, themed, “Collaborating with Doctors and Other Health Care Providers to Create Value,” Dr Jane Ajuluchukwu, a professor of medicine also in LUTH, hinted that studies have shown that collaboration between physicians and pharmacists can improve patients’ outcome.
While demonstrating the end result, Ajuluchukwu explained that the word “collaboration” signifies joint communication and decision-making process with a goal of satisfying the patients’ wellness and illness needs, while respecting the qualifications and abilities of each individual.
She further emphasised that this partnership should naturally bring up issues like alerting physicians to possible adverse drug reactions and discussing drug problems detected during dispensing.
The professor also noted that much as the pharmacist often turns out to be the instigator, the same cannot be said of the physician who may not see the relationship as beneficial.She was however quick to interject that younger physicians have more understanding of pharmacists’ expanding roles.
Buttressing the views of the two earlier speakers, Prof. FolaTayo, a retired professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of Lagos and pro-chancellor of Caleb University, statedthat creating value is a very appropriate topic for discussion at this critical stage in the history of our country’s health system.
“Let me congratulate the organisers of this programme for the vision. This is because, presently, our health system does not enjoy the fruits of collaboration,” he observed.
According to him, regardless of the fact that there are many constraints, ranging from inadequate funding by government to lack of passion and a display of arrogance by some practitioners, the greatest disservice healthcare providers can do to their clients is to render unacceptable service,
“What we as healthcare professionals often fail to appreciate is the fact that unto whom much is given, much is expected. Let us appreciate that it is time for change,” he emphasised.