To ensure pharmacy profession in Nigeria remains relevant in the near future, professionals in the field must constantly seek to grow in number and depth of knowledge, Pharm. Lere Baale, regional director, Howes Consulting Group, has said.
Baale, who is also a director of Business School Netherlands, made the submission while delivering a keynote address on the topic, “Transforming Pharmacy Practice for Better Outcomes” during the opening ceremony of the 87th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), held at Ibom Hall, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on 3- 8 November, 2014.
According to the Howes director, pharmacy practice faces a huge shortage of well qualified faculty to train future pharmacists, adding that while the challenge appeared to be global, the case of Nigeria was particularly worrisome with one pharmacist to about 10,000 people, compared to one to 1,250 in the UK and one to 1,084 in the US.
He stated further that with the increasing roles of pharmacists in healthcare delivery, the pharmacist workforce required a huge boost in competence.
Pharm. Baale also noted that growth in the health sector had generated demand for pharmacists in hospitals, clinics, industry, retail, government and academic sectors, adding that the growth of pharmacy workforce had not kept pace with the demand for services.
This, according to him, was partly due to migration of pharmacists in Nigeria to the USA, Europe and Canada. Over 6,000 Nigerian pharmacists, he said, were estimated to be practicsing in countries offering more lucrative working conditions.
Pharm. Baale equally urged pharmacists to embrace responsibility for drug therapy management and commit themselves to obtaining and maintaining the knowledge, skills and abilities required for patient care.
The keynote speaker also disclosed that with the gloomy forecast of increased shortage of pharmacists in coming years, stakeholders must strive towards reversing the current trend. Failure to do this, he said, would result in unmet pharmacy services being provided by others.
Baale also opined that pharmacists do not need to compete with doctors and other healthcare practitioners because they have more than enough work to do. He urged pharmacists not to be overwhelmed by the challenges currently facing the profession but rather remain focused on improving patient care, raising practice standards, reducing wastage and eliminating unproductive items and services.
At the PSN conference opening ceremony, chaired by Mr Udom Inoyo, the executive director, human resources, Exxon Mobil, Nigeria, were dignitaries among whom were Lady Valerie Ebe, deputy governor, Akwa Ibom State; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, president, PSN; Pharm. (Senator) Eme Ufot Ekaette, past president, PSN; Pharm. Ade Popoola, chairman, PSN BOF; and Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa.