Olutayo Arikawe – Community Pharmacist with a Difference

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Community pharmacists play a fundamental role in improving public health. They are the most accessible and approachable healthcare experts. In many cases, they are the first port of call in a health crisis, making them indispensable lifesavers.

With the recent revolutionary shift of pharmacy practice to patient-centred care, some pharmacists have distinguished themselves in community practice by taking their roles beyond dispensing drugs. One of such is Dr Olutayo Arikawe. She is a multi-award-winning pharmacist who has been repeatedly recognised for her passion for Pharmacy, as well as dedication to improving the quality of lives of her patients and entire community.

Arikawe, who runs a community pharmacy in Dudley, United Kingdom, is a highly motivated woman with real passion for management and the ability to develop and grow businesses. She possesses a good team spirit and excellent leadership qualities. Her qualities and achievements in her community has led to both local and international recognitions for her efforts.

Background and education

Arikawe was born in July 1976. She grew up in Ogun state south-west Nigeria and had her secondary education at Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, Ogun State. She proceeded for her tertiary education at the University of Ibadan in 1993 and obtained her Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree (B.Pharm) in 2000. She received the University of Ibadan College of Medicine Provost’s Award at graduation.

Arikawe had her internship at Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, from 2000-2001, before proceeding to Jigawa State for the mandatory National Youth Service in 2001, serving at General hospital Babura. She received the Jigawa State honour award at the end of her service.

Arikawe started her professional career as a community pharmacist at Precious pharmacy in Ogun state in 2002. After her brief stint in community pharmacy, she worked as a hospital pharmacist at the General Hospital Ota, in Ogun State, Nigeria from 2002 to 2003. From there, she moved to Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, where she worked as hospital pharmacist from 2003 to 2006.

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Later in the same 2006, she relocated to the United Kingdom and had her OSPAP (Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme) conversion course at the Aston University in Birmingham to enable her practise as a pharmacist in the UK. She soon obtained her postgraduate diploma in Pharmacy at the Aston University, Birmingham, UK and thereafter a postgraduate diploma in Public Health at the University of London from 2007 to 2008. She went on to obtain a master’s degree in Public Health at the University of London in 2009.

Arikawe had her internship working as a pre-registered pharmacist at Lloyds’ Pharmacy, UK, from 2006 to 2007 and became a cluster lead/pharmacist manager. This saw her managing a chain of 13 pharmacies from 2007 to 2010. From there she moved to Murrays Healthcare where she worked from 2010 to 2012.

Uncommon passion

Arikawe is passionate about people and her community. She is the managing director at LT Coaching and Consulting Ltd, an independent consulting firm, where she coaches women to optimise their potentials and achieve their dreams. She has helped many women to start their own businesses and achieve success in their chosen careers. She has particularly been an inspiration to women of colour to break barriers in their chosen fields.

Arikawe has also worked as pharmacist manager at Priory Community Pharmacy (from 2012 to present) and was appointed as the director/superintendent pharmacist of YPG Project Limited, a hospital and healthcare company affiliated to the Priory Community Pharmacy, where she manages, coaches and trains staff to attain optimum performance. She also works as a visiting lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, UK where she gives career advice and offers work placements for students.

Arikawe and her team at the YPG Project go the extra mile to promote better health and reduce health inequality in their community. They carry out health promotions on topics like cardiovascular risks (diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.), reduction of teenage pregnancy, smoking cessation and alcohol awareness (creating awareness on how much people are drinking and how they can conform to the national recommended unit).

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In the quest to better equip herself to offer better health services to her community, Arikawe has undertaken several professional certificate programmes on leadership, business management and counselling. These include: Practice Certificate in Pharmacy Management, Medway School of Pharmacy, Kent (2008); Practice Certificate in Independent/Supplementary Prescribing (Sexual Health), Keele University, Keele, UK (2010); CPD+ Substance Misuse/ Postgraduate Cert in Prescribing Studies, Keele University (2011);   Diploma in Professional Development (Leadership & Management) Coventry University, (2012) and Diploma in Coaching, NLP and DISC, The Coaching Academy UK (2013 & 2014).

Awards and recognitions

In 2014, Arikawe won the Pharmacy Business Award. Two years later in 2016, she won the award for the Best Community Pharmacist and Pharmacy Manager in the United Kingdom (Chemist and Druggist Awards). In the same 2016, was the recipient of the Public Health Pharmacist of the Year award. She also won the “I Love My Pharmacist” national award by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).

The “I Love My Pharmacist’ Award” was created by RPS, the professional body for pharmacists in Great Britain, to showcase and celebrate the great work that pharmacists do for their patients across the country. It actually celebrates Britain’s best pharmacists.

In 2017, Arikawe was crowned the “Best of the Best pharmacist” (Chemist and Drugist Awards) and in 2018, she won the Pharmacist of the Year award at the Zenith Global Award. She has won many other awards both local and international in the course of her career.

Arikawe is happily married with children.

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