– As ACPN holds 39th Annual National Conference in Abuja
Eminent Nigerians, including the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr John Kayode Fayemi; the newly re-elected Governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu; the Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa; and Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. NAE Mohammed, have advised the Federal Government to explore the untapped potentials of community pharmacists in the country, stressing that they are part of the national assets that can be deployed to meet the healthcare needs of the citizens.
The charge was given at the opening ceremony of the 39th Annual National Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), tagged “Unity 2020” and held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, FCT.
Fayemi, who was the chairman of the occasion, said he was delighted to be in the midst of the community pharmacists from across the country, adding that he was ready to work with the ACPN in improving healthcare delivery in Ekiti state.
Acknowledging the vital role of community pharmacists, especially being the closest healthcare professionals to the people, the governor, who was represented by his special adviser on federal matters, Hon Makinde Araoye, said the theme of the conference, “Optimising Primary Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria: Community Pharmacists’ Untapped Potentials,” was apt as it would further spur the community practitioners to play more roles in primary healthcare delivery.
While speaking at the occasion, the guest of honour who was also an award recipient, Governor Akeredolu, said he was pleased that community pharmacists across the country found him worthy to be their guest of honour at the event, noting that since he became governor, he had been making efforts to ensure that sanity was restored to the healthcare sector in Ondo State, while also supporting pharmacy activities.
Akeredolu, who noted that community pharmacists had so much to do to ensure that the pharmaceutical needs of the nation’s teeming populace were met, added that repositioning the healthcare sector, as well as collaborating with other healthcare providers, was the way to ending the challenges of primary healthcare provision in the country.
Acknowledging the vital roles of community pharmacists, the governor said this should motivate them to be more dedicated and passionate about their chosen profession, adding that the practitioners should ensure adequate use of their potentials, saying there are many untapped potentials of the community pharmacists that the government should not lose sight of.
While appreciating the ACPN for the award given to him, the governor pledged his readiness to continually promote and prioritise the well-being of the people of Ondo State.
Also during his remarks at the event, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stressed the need for all health professionals to work towards addressing the health challenges of the citizenry, while reiterating the readiness of the Federal Government to involve community pharmacists in its drive towards universal health coverage.
While acknowledging the pivotal roles of the ACPN in primary healthcare delivery in the country, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health minister spoke on President Buhari’s effort at scaling up primary health centres to one per political ward in the country, while urging community pharmacists to renew their commitment towards ensuring quality services in primary healthcare provision.
In his speech at the conference, PSN President, Pharm. Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, who noted that he was impressed with the level of organisation of the conference by the ACPN despite the impact of COVID-19 and its resultant effects, which he said have been devastating globally, noted that the leadership of the association had exceeded expectations.
Extolling the crucial roles that community pharmacists play in every society, Ohuabunwa enjoined them to avail themselves of capacity development programmes in order to enhance their relevance as primary healthcare providers.
Speaking further, Ohuabunwa advised that healthcare managers in the country should adopt a new paradigm that sees every healthcare professional as a national asset that can be effectively deployed to meet the healthcare needs of the citizens, adding that the current rigidity and limited vision must be jettisoned.
Assuring ACPN of maximum support from the PSN and other relevant stakeholders, Ohuabunwa said: “We assure all community pharmacists that we shall continue to work hand in glove with the ACPN to ensure a more professional and profitable practice environment. Our consultant pharmacists will begin to occupy their hard won places in the healthcare system.”
In his own contribution, Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. NAE Mohammed, who equally commended the theme of the conference, assured that the PCN was working round the clock to ensure that the various challenges confronting the ACPN would soon come to an end.
He further stressed the need for community pharmacists to be involved in public health intervention programmes.
Earlier in his address, the National Chairman, ACPN, Dr Samuel Adekola described 2020 as a very challenging year for the association as well as the nation, as the health sector was stretched to its limit amidst the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that many who escaped the onslaught of the virus were not spared some of its other aftermaths like job losses, salary cuts, business collapse and others.
“As a people, our great association lost many members in the passing year than I could remember in the past, some of which were due directly to COVID-19, as well as the gruesome murder of our national publicity secretary, Pharm. Sunday Ike, at his point of duty in Abuja. This was a disheartening reflection of the high level of insecurity that bedevils our dear nation,” he lamented.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards of excellence and other categories of awards to five personalities, in appreciation of their commitment and support to pharmacists, pharmacy profession and pharmaceutical activities in the country.
The recipients included Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State; Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano State; Sen. Matthew Uroghide, chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts; Senator Sadiq Umar, a philanthropist and public affair analyst, and Chief Rufus Foluso Giwa, the late Ondo State business mogul and philanthropist.
While appreciating the ACPN, the duo of Akeredolu, and Sen. Rabi’u Kwankwaso, who was represented by Sen. Rufai Sani Hanga, noted that the awards would propel them to do better for humanity, adding that good work deserves commendation, while pledging to continually promote and prioritise the well-being of the people.
The conference had in attendance several other personages from the healthcare sector and other walks of life, including Pharm. Bonifaye Ikoh, director of pharmaceutical services, FCT, Abuja; Prof. Mbang Femi-Oyewo, chairman, PSN, BOF, represented by Sir Iyke John Ugwu; Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa, deputy gov elect, Ondo State; Mr Dare Aragbaiye, commissioner for finance, Ondo State; Hon. Donald Ojogo, commissioner for information and orientation; Engr Ade Adetimehin, chairman, APC, Ondo State; Hon Temitayo Oluwatuyi, secretary to the state government, Ondo State; Dr Albert Kelong Alkali, immediate past national chairman, ACPN; Dr. Ejiro Foyibo, deputy president, South, PSN; Mr Muhammad K. Ahmad, chairman of the occasion.
Others were Pharm. Azubike Okwor, former president, PSN; Pharm. UNO Uwaga, former president, PSN; Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, former national chairman, ACPN; Prof. Lere Baale, president, Business School Netherland; Prof. Wilson Erhun, professor of clinical pharmacy, OAU, Ile-Ife; Pharm. Folashade Lawal, managing director, Victory Drugs, Lagos; Pharm. Emeka Okafor, Society for Family Health; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, former president, PSN; Pharm. Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, former national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. (Mrs) Taiwo Olubukola Aliu, chairman, CPC, and Pharm. Jelili Kilani, chairman, PSN, FCT, among others.