Appoint Pharmacist as Special Adviser on Health, Lolu Ojo Urges Nigeria’s President

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– As  Odukoya, Emaniru, others counsel young pharmacists on career path

Managing director/CEO of Merit Healthcare Limited, Dr Lolu Ojo, has called on the Nigerian president to appoint a pharmacist special adviser on health, whose job will be to focus on drug research, drug distribution, drug procurement, drug utilisation, as well as provision of pharmaceutical care to Nigerians.

Ojo made the call recently, while speaking with journalists during a symposium themed, “Insight for Greater Achievements”, organised by The Greater Pharmacy Initiative (GPI), and held at the Sickle Cell Centre, Idi Araba, Lagos.

L-R:(front) Pharm. Ola Ijimakin, general manager, sales/marketing, Fidson Healthcare Plc; Pharm. Chovwe Emaniru, convener of the Greater Pharmacy Initiative (GPI) symposium; Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, keynote speaker, Dr. Lolu Ojo, former national chairman, NAIP and other dignitaries during the event held at Sickle cell Centre, Idi-Araba, Lagos, recently.

The former national chairman of Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) noted that the appointment of a pharmacist special adviser on health by the president would help to improve the health of Nigerians.

Such appointment, he stated further, would also encourage proper use of drugs and help reduce the incidence of drug abuse.

Ojo, a presidential aspirant in the upcoming PSN national election, also remarked that the pharmacy profession is not at the level it should be because drugs, which are poisons,  are being treated like ordinary articles of trade and sold by anybody everywhere.

He stressed that it was this attitude to drugs that led to the serious drug abuse problem currently facing the nation.

He urged the Nigerian government to address the issue decidedly, noting that the drug abuse problem bedeviling the nation is now very deep and, thus, the fundamental issues fueling it must be addressed.

Ojo stated further that the Nigerian nation can do much better with drug control by ensuring Nigerians get the benefit of the knowledge of pharmacists.

He also pointed out that the Greater Pharmacy Initiative (GPI) symposium was prompted by the desire to make Pharmacy greater that it was, adding that the potential of Pharmacy in Nigeria is huge but had been largely sub-optimised because of the practice environment.

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Also speaking with Pharmanews at the event, Professor of Pharmacognosy from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Olukemi  Odukoya, who was the keynote speaker, explained that the event was organised to educate young pharmacists about their career prospects and challenges, to ensure that they chose areas where they could make the greatest impact and be fulfilled.

She noted that many young pharmacists’ decision on choice of areas of pharmacy practice immediately after graduation is usually dictated by their desire to make money and not because of where they really feel they have passion or competence.

This, she said, is the reason some young pharmacists move from one area of practice to the other for years, wasting precious time, adding that the GPI symposium would give them the needed information that would guide them in career choice and educate them on the importance of discipline and focus to succeed in their choice.

Speaking in the same vein, consultant public health pharmacist and convener of the symposium, Pharm. Chovwe Emaniru, explained that the event was organised to educate young pharmacists on different career options available to them, noting that by bringing in renowned practitioners from community, industrial, academic and hospital practice to share their experience, young pharmacists will be empowered with knowledge on different career paths in Pharmacy.

She praised Dr Ojo, the patron of the GPI, urging other pharmacists to support his quest to be the next PSN president.

Ojo, he said, will continue to support positive initiatives like the GPI which will help elevate pharmacy and pharmacists, if elected president.

Among the panelists at the event were Pharm. Abimbola Adebakin, CEO, Advantage Health Africa; Pharm. Abimbola Ajayi, a Fellow of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP); Pharm. Rosemary Achi-Kanu, a Fellow of WAPCP; Pharm. Ibrahim Oreagba, a consultant pharmacist and clinical pharmacologist; and Pharm. Ola Ijimakin, general manager, sales/marketing, Fidson Healthcare Plc.

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