(By Adebayo Oladejo)
In its quest to sharpen the ethical and entrepreneurial acumen of its members, the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Ipaja, Dopemu, Egbeda, Akowonjo (IDEA) Zone, recently marked its 6th Annual Pharmaceutical Business Growth Seminar.
The seminar, which was tagged “Maximising Opportunities for Achieving Excellent Community Pharmacy Practice”, had in attendance eminent personalities and stakeholders in the profession, including Pharm. Deji Oshinoiki, who was the father of the day; Pharm. Anthony Bola Oyawole, chairman of the occasion; pharm. Bukky George, managing director/chief executive officer, HealthPlus Pharmacy and Casabella Ltd; Pharm. Azubike Okwor, immediate past president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), who was represented by Pharm. N.A.E Mohammed; Pharm. Lekan Asuni, managing director, GSK Pharma Nigeria Limited, who was represented by Pharm. Ijeoma Eruchalu; and Pharm. (Mrs) Chukwuma B.O, vice-chairman, PSN, Lagos State who represented the chairman.
In his lecture which had the same title as the theme of the event, Pharm. Azubike Okwor, who described pharmacists as educated and trained healthcare professionals charged with management of the distribution of medicines to consumers and engaging in appropriate efforts to ensure their safe and efficacious use, noted that good pharmacy practice requires that the utmost concern of every pharmacist should be the welfare of the patient.
“Good pharmacy practice requires that the core of the pharmacy activity is to help patient make the best use of medicines, while it also requires that the objective of each element of the pharmacy service should be relevant to the patient,” he said.
The PSN former boss also stressed that establishing standard pharmacy practice requires the cooperation and interaction between the pharmacist, the patient and the other stakeholders in healthcare, working in the overall interest of the patient.
In his remarks, Pharm. Deji Oshinoiki urged all community pharmacists in the zone to collectively tackle the challenges facing good healthcare delivery in the country and ensure they gain back the trust which the public once reposed in them.
“Where pharmacy practice Is today is a reflection of where we are as a country because I remember in those days when I started practising newly, patients would have queued up in front of your pharmacy as early as 6 and 7am and by the time you arrived, you already had enough people to attend to that day; but things are no longer the same nowadays,” he lamented.
In his own address at the seminar, Pharm. Madehin Gafar Olanrewaju, zonal coordinator, ACPN, IDEA Zone explained that the theme for the seminarwas timely, considering the disturbing paradox in the practice of Pharmacy in Nigeria.
“Presently we have around 17,000 registered pharmacists in the country and they are meant to provide pharmaceutical care to over 150 million Nigerians; yet majority of those pharmacists are in the lower rung of the ladder of economic prosperity. The reason for this is either that we do not see the opportunity around us or that we are overwhelmed by the challenges around us or that we are not well positioned to utilise the opportunities for economic growth”, he noted.
Also speaking at the event, Pharm. Bukky George who presented the address, “Sourcing and Managing Finance and Human Resource in Achieving Excellent Community Pharmacy Practice” disclosed that to overcome factors that hinder excellent community pharmacy practice, all stages of pharmacy training must be revamped in order to align with current global standards. She added that there is a need for increase in the number of schools of health technology for the training of pharmacy technicians and assistants, who will provide the critical support required in community pharmacies.
Speaking further, the HealthPlus boss stated that to achieve good pharmacy practice, pharmacy premises should have a suitable place for discussing confidential information with customers and patients; maintain and improve professional performance; manage patients’ medication therapy; and comply with national professional obligations, guidelines and legislation, among others.