My column for this month is dedicated to the giant strides of Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai’s administration, especially in taking the pharmacy profession in Nigeria to a place of honour and respect. Below is the foreword of the book titled “The Power of Advocacy”, which documents the strategies and successes of Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai, tenure as PSN President.
Men of Honour, in November 2015, you gave me the mandate to serve you and our profession as the President of our noble society. We came with a vision and the ambitious goal of strengthening the PSN with collaborative, participatory, responsive and transparent leadership.
Immediately we came into office, we started working assiduously on our 23-point agenda. We set out a road map to achieve our vision and mission statement. Our manifesto was crafted, focusing mainly on adding value to PSN and its members: enhanced resources and resourcefulness of PSN, updating and improving the image of PSN, running an accountable and transparent organisation, creating an efficient and responsive forum and consolidating on the past achievements of the Society.
This report, termed, “The Power of Advocacy” gives systematic highlights of this journey. The journey itself has been challenging and gratifying. It is challenging because it has taken a toll on my health, family, businesses and lifestyle. However, it is also gratifying because together we have achieved many milestones in accomplishing our set objectives. Today, we have a better PSN than we met three years ago.
The ‘Lere Baale, FPSN-led strategy committee undertook a critical review on all the aspects of pharmacy practice in Nigeria and came up with a document – the PSN VISION 2050 STRATEGY – to move our profession to the next level of impact and progress, in order for us to be at par with other successful pharmaceutical practices across the globe. The committee comprises some of the brightest minds we have in the profession who have deep and extensive knowledge, experience and expertise in various aspects of the profession. They also worked hand in hand with all the technical groups of PSN and sought inputs from many pharmacists in and out of the country, as well as the general public on the strategy document.
The Lekan Asuni, FPSN-led IT Platform Committee has worked round the clock to come up with a template to revamp our drug distribution network, based on the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) in the country. Ultralogistics Company of PSN (ULCO) is growing in bounds. The BASF West Africa Young Female Pharmacist of the Year Award, The Biogenerics Hospital Pharmacists of the year Integrity Award, Miral Malaria Essay writing for Pharmacy Students, PSNpay and PSN Foundation are new initiatives we came up with to strengthen the Society, enhance professionalism in our practice, recognise and celebrate our deserving colleagues, and also serve humanity as a selfless professional body.
The Medicines Information Centre is up and running helping, both health professionals and the general public to have accurate, timely and useful information about their medicines.
We have reached out and engaged various branches of PSN in the states and FCT and regional and global pharmacy professional networks on initiatives to improve qualitative access of medicines, medicine security and patients’ quality of life in general, as we continue to collaborate with various organisations to provide policy advocacy. These include United States Pharmacopeia (USP), Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA), African Pharmaceutical Federation (APF), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA), American Public Health Association (APhA) – with the goal of deepening our institutional architecture as a Society.
In terms of health financing, we worked with USAID, PharmAcess, ULCO, NHIS and banks to open opportunities of financing for our colleagues.
Our public interest activities have put smiles on the faces of ordinary Nigerian citizens; this has strengthened our relationship with the public as a caring professional body. PSN donated over N50 million worth of medicines and fast moving consumer goods to IDPs in the North-East zone of the country. The Remi Adeseun FPSN/Ayuba Tanko, FPSN-led PSN-PACFah is now under PSN Foundation and it has been strengthened to serve the public better. It received support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Our advocacy visits have resulted in the actualisation of Pharm D programme in Nigeria; better remuneration for pharmacists in the police force acquisition of our property in Victoria Island; increased government commitment to fight drug abuse and eradication of substandard and falsified medicines in the country; championing national efforts aimed at promoting interprofessional collaboration to resolve disharmony in healthcare delivery services – using it and other numerous benefits for the profession, the Society and members of PSN.
I sincerely believe that the incoming administration will build on the progress made so far – building on our various initiatives, programmes and projects; consolidating our national and international partnerships; effectively harnessing the power of advocacy, which can help in policy change in healthcare; creating harmony among healthcare practitioners; expressing our views and concerns, and – by so doing- strengthen the practice and profession of Pharmacy in Nigeria.
Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai, FPSN, FNIM, FNAPharm, FPCPharm
President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)