Specialisation within the practice of pharmacy has become indispensable, as it helps pharmacists to pay more time and attention to specific patients and their disease state, Pharm. Emmanuel Chidi Chukwumaeze Ezirim, a community pharmacist and owner/GM, Central Point Pharmacy in Columbus, Ohio, United States of America (USA), has said.
Ezirim, a pharmacy graduate of The Ohio State University (OSU) and one of the Nigerian pharmacists in diaspora making great strides in pharmacy practice, explained in a recent interview with Pharmanews that there is no longer a “one-size-fits-all” as far as pharmacy practice is concerned, noting that specialisation will not just lead to better outcomes in disease management/treatment but also lead to more job creation, especially with the increasing population and the number of new pharmacists and of patients.
Ezirim, who has lived in Columbus, Ohio, since September 1980, however, says that while his experience in community pharmacy in USA has been truly rewarding, he believes that his growing up in Nigeria as an “Aba boy” tremendously helped him in building his pharmacy.
“You can take a boy away from Aba, but you can never take Aba away from the boy,” he quipped.
When asked what specific areas of pharmacy practice he would like to see improved in developing countries like Nigeria in the next couple of years, Pharm. Ezirim, an indigene of Imo State, was unequivocal that it is in the area of health data collection and use.
His words: “Collection of data and accessing of data in time of need is so crucial to healthcare. Computer generated labels for prescription has got to be at least the minimum standards. Being able to review patient medication history at the tip of your fingers is so important. For those of us who have that capability, we can’t stop wondering how Pharmacy got along without it in the past, and when we travel home we get firsthand look of how inefficient it is. I know change can be slow but it really shouldn’t take us another 10 years to accomplish this task.”
Ezirim is also determined to make contributions that will help solve some of the problems facing pharmacy and healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
“I’m already part of that solution process,” Ezirim said. “The first thing one must do is to make a ‘quality decision’ to be part of the solution and I did that a long time ago. The second part is to commit to participation even when it doesn’t go your way. I’m in that process now as a co-founder and board member of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA). I am responsible for creating joint scholarship awards for NAPPSA student members with some major US based wholesalers. I am also responsible for the NAPPSA business-2-business concept, which saves NAPPSA from financial ruins earlier on. I will be more than happy to work with our Nigerian colleagues in introducing some of these concepts.”
He also revealed his intention to return to Nigeria, which he said is for the purpose of “helping to establish a true long-term care facility for the mentally ill in Nigeria. They are the voiceless and the forgotten ones. The challenges are time, space and access.”
Pharm. Ezirim also counselled Nigerians coming to study Pharmacy in the US to do so with a worthy motive. “It cannot just be another plaque to decorate your walls. I know my people love awards/titles to the extent that they frequently purchase different ones for themselves. Be part of the solution and join NAPPSA while in America,” he said.