-As NAIP holds 24th national conference
It was an atmosphere of verve and versatility at the prestigious Marriot Hotel, Ikeja, as industrial pharmacists across the country converged in Lagos to deliberate on leveraging technology in advancing Pharmacy practice as well as achieving national medicine security.
The opening ceremony of the 24th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), held on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, was graciously attended by the crème de la crème in the pharmaceutical industry.
They include: Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm.(Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa; Dr (Mrs) Dere Awosika, chairman, Access Bank Group; Chairman, Board of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria (BOF-PSN) Prof. (Mrs) Mbang Femi-Oyewo; Pharm. Sola Solarin, president of the Industrial Pharmacy Section, FIP, keynote speaker; PSN Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, among others.
Speaking at the conference, Adelusi-Adeluyi, stated categorically that the future of the Pharmacy profession lies in the innovation of the technical groups which he said have been doing wonderful things in conjunction with the PSN. “If you are analogue, you will be left behind by the train of development”. He also advised the leadership of NAIP to surround itself with young people who are technologically savvy.
In his keynote address, Solarin enumerated copious examples of the impact technological revolutions have had on the history of mankind. He made reference to the outbreak of the influenza virus which brought the world to its knees at a time when technology was at its nadir.
Fast-forwarding to 2019 when the novel coronavirus hit the world like a bolt out of the blues, he said that within three weeks, scientists were able to demystify the virus and within a year, several vaccines have been produced to manage the pandemic. In all these, he identified how technology has played a pivotal role and remains the gateway to the brightness of the future of Pharmacy profession.
For technological innovation to be sustained in the industry, Solarin added that there must be a constant conversation between the industry and the academia. He also talked about the use of 3D printing in the manufacturing of drugs as a new vista opened up by the application of technological innovation to pharmaceutical practice.
According to him, technological innovation has led to the commencement of drone delivery of medicine in Nigeria. He also stated that biotechnology and information technology will shape the industrial Pharmacy sector in the foreseeable future. Commending the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) for creating a robust curriculum for continuing education in the Pharmacy profession, he called for a more biotechnology-based undergraduate curriculum and urged the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry to up its ante in contributing to the national GDP.
According to him, the contribution of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry to the nation’s GDP is abysmally low at less than 0.25%. He called for the revolution of the mind while urging pharmacists to key into the activities of the FIP which can link them up with over 2 million pharmacists from different parts of the world.
The PSN president commended the leadership of NAIP for its conception of the industrial park initiative, noting that it will soon come alive, owing to the strategic efforts NAIP has been putting into its affairs. “For this and other achievements, Pharmacy is on the rise and pharmacists have created a wonderful ambience for their practice across all cadres”, he said.
In her own contribution, Dr Awosika, spoke on the indispensable role technology plays in the development of every profession. She particularly reiterated the fact that the practice of Pharmacy cannot be completed without technology. According to her, technology is happening rapidly and is becoming an integral part of the entire healthcare system.
She also encouraged the application of artificial intelligence in the innovative process for the pharmacy profession. She highlighted key areas where technology can be brought to bear in the Pharmacy profession. She specifically amplified the digitization of medicines through healthcare mobile Apps, amongst others.
On her part, Prof. Femi-Oyewo, said that digital technology is an unstoppable revolution and that the entire pharmaceutical landscape in Nigeria and beyond must continue to adapt to and move with the times in order not to be left stranded at the crossroads to the future. She added that the strategies that would be deliberated upon during the conference would be largely focused on driving technological innovation towards ensuring medicine security in Nigeria.
Earlier in the programme, Pharm. Gbolagade welcomed visiting pharmacists from different parts of the country. He reminded them of the significance of this year’s NAIP conference, bearing in mind the fact that Lagos remains the hub for industrial pharmacy practice in Nigeria. He congratulated Anukwu for his leadership and recalled that the NAIP helmsman is a merit award recipient from the Lagos PSN. Speaking about the forthcoming NAIP elections, Gbolagade said that he is optimistic that the incoming leadership of NAIP would foster greater development of the association.
In his remarks, National Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu stated that the association is poised for greater achievements, adding that this year’s massive attendance is a sign of growth. He also said, the 2021 conference tagged “Technological Revolution – Adaptation in Industrial Pharmacy Practice” is a logical thought-process aimed at positioning the industry for the best. According to him, the leadership of NAIP has continued to raise the brand equity of the association since its inception.