– Holds 23rd Annual National Scientific Conference in Nasarawa
To avert the unpleasant experiences of healthcare workers including pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed the deplorable conditions of most health institutions in the country, pharmacists under the umbrella of Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) National, have called on government at all levels to urgently resolve issues of inadequate healthcare equipment, poor funding, lack of staff training and non-prioritisation of research and development in healthcare institutions.
The association has also identified major interventions and initiatives to be explored by health system pharmacists in the post COVID-19 era to include creation of satellite pharmacies within hospitals in wards to promote improved patient care, decentralization of unitary pharmacy department structure into pharmaceutical services directorate with independent departments that handle distinct functions, introduction of drug dispensing and distribution systems automation with relevant ICT gadgets and customised pharmacy software, increase in strategic targeted uptake of leadership roles by hospital pharmacists, expansion of pharmaceutical care rounds and rotations for interns, residents, among others.
In a communique issued to Pharmanewsonline at the end of its 23rd Annual National Scientific Conference, held recently At the First Crown Luxury Hotel, Lafia, Nasarawa State, and jointly signed by the National Chairman, AHAPN and National Secretary, AHAPN, Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo and Pharm. Oladele Obikoya, the association pointed out why governments intervention is paramount in healthcare systems in repositioning the hitherto negatively affected national emergency preparedness and response to disease outbreaks.
The conference, themed: “COVID-19 Experience: Expanding the Role of the Health System Pharmacists” with keynote speaker, as Dr Obi Peter Adigwe, DG, Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD). also examined three subthemes which are “The Role of Pharmacy Regulatory Authority in Strengthening Pharmaceutical Service Delivery in Nigeria; Health System Pharmacists and Telepharmacy options in Accessing Medicines and The Role of Pharmacists in Assuring Quality of Medicines for Public Consumption.
Ogunjemiyo highlighted requirements to attain medicines security in any country to include research and development, interventions and initiatives, advocacy and foresight, noting that these will bring about access to affordable high quality medicines, ensuring good manufacturing practice and stimulating backward integration, promoting contextual research and developing local capacity.
He further identified telepharmacy as an integral part of the wider phenomenon of telemedicine implemented in the field of Pharmacy, which involves the delivery of pharmaceutical care via telecommunications to patients in locations where they may not have direct contact with a pharmacist.
He mentioned benefits of telepharmacy to patients and pharmacists to include lessening the burden of work for the pharmacist and freeing the time for him to be able to fill prescription more accurately to patients as well as providing best possible care and service to patients, reduction of readmission rates by improving patient adherence, improving financial performance and creating a better patient experience while expanding the pharmacist’s geographic footprint.
According to the AHAPN Chairman, “Conference acknowledged that opportunities abound for health system pharmacists in the post COVID 19 era in the areas of research and development amongst other areas which included pharmacokinetic dosing in critical care management, serum drug monitoring, total parenteral nutrition preparation, mini production of sanitizers and methylated spirit, quality assurance services for medicines and medical commodities in use in the hospital. Conference therefore solicited the cooperation of health authorities to institutionalise these models of practice.
“Conference advocated strong collaboration between AHAPN and the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) as a prerequisite for ensuring that capacities and competencies of health system Pharmacists are expanded in line with international best practices and harnessed in a manner that would ultimately promote access to better health and well-being of Nigerians.
“Conference reaffirmed the indispensability of the pharmacist as that health professional well trained with the knowledge and skills for guaranteeing access to quality medicines beginning from drug product manufacturing through the distribution chain to the final end users, the patients.
“Conference identified the principles and standards for continuous quality management to include customer focus, engagement of people, leadership, process approach, evidence-based, relationship management and improvement”.
While acknowledging the existence of avalanche instruments for strengthening pharmaceutical practice in Nigeria ranging from laws, regulations, policies, circulars, conventions and host of others, Ogunjemiyo said the conference called on governments to demonstrate political will in implementing and enforcing regulatory standards.
He added that the summit charged the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health with the responsibility of creating the enabling environment for strengthening pharmaceutical practice especially in the public health sector, which will enhance continual advocacy and promotion of unit dose dispensing, institutionalisation of clinical ward round/rotation by pharmacy departments and operation of satellite pharmacy services during hospital inspection exercises.
The number one hospital pharmacist in the country also stated that the association has resolved to open up the borders of restriction for her members to freely identify and belong to any other association or trade unions of their choice in furtherance of their rights to freely associate as granted by the 1999 constitution (as amended).
Some of the dignitaries that graced the opening ceremony of the conference were: Executive Governor of Nasarawa State represented by the Commissioner for Health, Hon. (Pharm) Ahmed Baba Yahaya; Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor on Primary Healthcare, Princess Margaret Elayo; Emir of Lafia, His Royal Highness, Justice Sidi Muhammed Bage III (JSC rtd), who was the Royal Father of the day. Other royal fathers present were HRH Alhaji Abdullahi Amegwa Agbo III, Osana of Keana and HRH Alhaji Saidu Muhammed, Sangarin Deddere.
Other dignitaries in attendance were: President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril O. Usifoh; Registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Ibrahim Babashehu; Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye ably represented by Pharm. (Dr) Monica Hemben Eimunjeze, director Drug Registration and Regulatory Affairs; Director of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Pharm. (Mrs.) Olubumi Stella Arebiana represented by Pharm. Ande Kifasi; National Chairman, Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPS), Pharm. Scholastica Lan, among others.