Yussuf Sultan is president of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS), University of Lagos (UNILAG) Chapter. In this exclusive interview, the 500-level pharmacy student, who recently paid a courtesy visit to the corporate head office of Pharmanews shares his views on the state of pharmacy education in Nigeria, his reasons for the visit, as well as his assessment of the nation’s healthcare system. Excerpts:
Tell us about your experience as a pharmacy student in the last four years
Pharmacy has been interesting, as well as being very stressful, reminding me of the times I have to stay up overnight filling laboratory manuals and others.
What prompted your decision to study Pharmacy?
I’ve always wanted to be in the health sector. My mum works in a hospital and I admire health professionals and what they do. More interestingly, when I was the health prefect of my secondary school, I had to research on topics about health for the school’s notice boards, which further drew me to Pharmacy. Also, I loved Chemistry; so Pharmacy was my best choice.
Why did you contest for PANS-UNILAG presidency and what challenges did you face at the initial stage?
I have been interested in PANS since 200 level, when I was a member of some committees and I was very interested in PANS activities. I was a senator in 400 level and I decided to play my part in making PANS better. That’s why I decided to run in 500 level. The challenge I faced initially was how to balance academics with presidency but, thank God, it’s been going well so far.
It should be tough being the president of PANS in an institution like UNILAG. Tell us about your challenges and successes.
One of the challenges of every administration is sponsorship, which is still a challenge today; but we are hoping to get support from people we’ve met and written to. About successes, I can say that this administration has been able to achieve a lot from the programmes we’ve had and more that we are hoping to do.
Aside from pharmacy education, what is your view about the general standard of education in UNILAG?
University of Lagos is the university of first choice and the nation’s pride. And, as we speak, it’s still the same. The academic standard is top-notch, with relatable and reliable staff.
What do you think is wrong with the way pharmacy education is being done in Nigeria?
Pharmacy education is stressful as I said earlier but it’s understandable because of the workload. There is little or no time for socials. We have to squeeze time and beg our colleagues to take part in PANS activities sometimes; and it’s quite worrisome.
If you have the honour of changing some things about pharmacy education in UNILAG, what would they be?
For now, more time for students to have extra-curricular activities and maybe reduce the number of courses every semester
Amidst a tight academic session, you recently paid a scheduled visit to the publisher of Pharmanews, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi. What was the purpose and outcome of the visit?
Yes, we visited our dear Pharm. Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, who is our patron, to keep him abreast of the activities we had had so far and the ones we’ll be having this semester to improve our relationship with him and also seek his support. We were very well welcomed and really appreciated it. He gave us words of encouragement and promised us his support
Where do you see PANS, UNILAG, by the time you will be leaving office?
I see PANS as an association which focuses on welfares of its members and encourages members to take part in extra-curricular activities and leadership; and most importantly leaving it better than I met it.