Eminent Nigerians, including Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong and President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, have tasked community pharmacists in the country to make more contributions to nation building, noting that all players in the health sector must be committed and dedicated to their professions for the nation to be productive and healthy.
The charge was given at the opening ceremony of the recent 36th Annual National Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), tagged “Jos City 2017” and held at Eliel Centre Limited, Gold and Base, Jos, Plateau State.
Governor Lalong, who was the guest of honour at the event, said he was delighted that community pharmacists across the country chose the state as the venue of the conference, noting that the gesture was an acknowledgement of the efforts of his government towards safeguarding lives and properties, as well as boosting infrastructural development in the state.
Assuring the ACPN of his support towards improving the healthcare delivery system in the state, Lalong, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, stated that community pharmacists have so much to do to ensure that the pharmaceutical needs of the nation’s teeming populace are met.
Noting that the conference came at a time that the country was in dire need of development in all ramifications, the governor said he believed the event was an opportunity for members of the association to discuss issues bordering on the improvement of healthcare sector and pharmacy practice in the country.
He equally thanked the leadership of the ACPN for bestowing upon him the ‘Good Governance’ award, saying that the recognition was not only for him, but for the entire people of the state.
Speaking in the same vein, chairman of the occasion, Dr (Mrs) Dame Pauline Tallen, a former deputy governor in the state, noted that the theme of the ACPN conference was strategic as it came at a time the nation needed serious improvement in the healthcare sector, adding that the choice of Plateau State for the conference was also a very good decision as the state is arguably the most peaceful and beautiful state in the country.
In her words: “Health, they say, is wealth, so I am happy with what community pharmacists are doing today, especially for choosing a theme that will make us reflect on where we are coming from, where we are presently, and what the future holds in store for the profession and for the nation in general.
“I am delighted to be part of this epoch-making event, taking place in an historic city of Jos, and I am hopeful that at the end of our stay here in the state, we would have realised that there is need for us to do more than we are doing presently, in order to make this country great.”
PSN president, Pharm. (Alh) Ahmed Yakasai, who also commended the choice of the theme for the conference, noted that the conference was unique as it was the first time in a decade a conference of that magnitude was being hosted in the city of Jos.
Assuring community pharmacists of maximum support from the PSN and other relevant stakeholders, Yakasai said: “To meet the ever-changing needs of the public, the PSN is ready to continue to partner with ACPN and regulatory authorities like the PCN, NAFDAC and others to strengthen pharmacy practice, especially in the community.
“I want to state unequivocally that PSN is ever determined and committed to the entrenchment of ideals that will advance the practice of pharmacy, and we are ready to achieve this by constructively engaging various stakeholders and regulators like, PCN, NAFDAC, FMOHs, and others through robust advocacy.”
Speaking earlier, National Chairman of ACPN, Dr Albert Kelong Alkali said that he was delighted that the conference was able to hold in the state, not only because it is his home state, but because it was an opportunity to introduce the new Plateau State to the world.
He noted that the conference offered good opportunity for community pharmacists who had been working since the beginning of the year to unwind and learn, adding that the theme for this year was carefully crafted to reflect the present reality of the country and give a pointer to the future.
Community pharmacists he said, are members of the health care team that are closest and most accessible to the public, adding that ACPN members shall continue to collaborate with other members of the healthcare team to achieve better health for all Nigerians.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of award of excellence to the executive governor of Plateau State. This was done by the president of PSN, Alh Ahmed Yakasai and the keynote speaker, Pharm. (Sir) Iyke Onyechi, founder and managing director, Alpha Pharmacy and Stores Limited.
The conference had in attendance several other personages from the health care sector and other walks of life, including the Gbong Gwom Jos, HRH, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, who was represented by HRH, Rev. Dr Isaac Wakili, Agom Izere; Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Rev. Dr Ignatius Kaigama, who was represented by Rev. Fr. Daniel Pwajok; Commissioner for Health, Plateau State, Dr. Kamshak Kuden; Pharm. Anthony Aikhmien, former president, PSN; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, immediate past president, PSN; Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, former national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. (Dr) Ejiro Foyibo, former national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. (Alh) Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, immediate past national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. (Mrs) Emily Olalere, who represented the PCN Registrar, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed; Group Captain S.A Adelakun, Commandant, Airforce Millitary School, Jos; Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, national secretary, PSN; Pharm. Samuel Adekola, national vice-chairman, ACPN among others.