Border closure: Ohuabunwa, Adekola, Others Charge Pharmacists on Business Survival

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– Say closure has negative implications on country’s economy

Following the continued closure of the country’s land borders since August 2019, community pharmacists in the country have been advised to take financial discipline, capacity building and the survival of their business very seriously, in order to weather the various economic storms they currently have to contend with.

This advice was given in the various recommendations made by experts and stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, including Mazi. Sam Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Pharm. Samuel Adekola, national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Dr Ramon Moronkola, consultant cardiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Pharm. Chris Ehimen, chairman, Nett Pharmacy, at this year’s ACPN-Lagos Pharmacists Education Conference, held recently at NECA House, Ikeja, Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Mazi Ohuabunwa said that the continuing education programme for community pharmacists was timely, as knowledge gained would help them to keep their businesses afloat amid the current economic imbroglio and beyond.

Border closure: Ohuabunwa, Adekola, others charge pharmacists on business survival
Mazi. Sam Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)

 

He added that while many of the prevailing business policies in the country may not favour business-owners pharmacists must raise their games and improve themselves with enhanced knowledge and capacity-building.

“The more educated you are, the more knowledgeable and improved you will be; so all pharmacists should embrace continuous and never ending knowledge. And they should utilise every opportunity to learn new things,” Ohuabunwa advised.

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The number one pharmacist in the country also disclosed that the current land borders closure was restricting trade and compounding an uncertain outlook for the country’s economy.

He added that such a drastic move, which is ostensibly aimed at stemming the flow of illicit goods, has not only severed trade with neighbouring countries, but also cast doubt over the continent’s wider push towards free trade and cooperation.

Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Adekola, commended the Lagos State ACPN for choosing the theme, “Business Survival In a Rapidly Changing Environment”, for the event, noting that if pharmacists want to be effective and efficient, they must have their knowledge base updated always through several seminars, workshops and continuing education programmes.

Speaking further, Adekola disclosed that the Continuous Education Conference programme in Lagos had been consistent over the years because of the importance ACPN places on knowledge and effective service delivery.

He added that in the healthcare sector, development is needed on daily basis, and for it to be achieved, there is need for periodical update of knowledge, through acquisition of fresh knowledge and refreshing of old ideas.

Earlier in his address, Chairman of ACPN-Lagos, Pharm. Olabanji Benedict Obideyi, lamented that the economic situation in Nigeria was shrinking pharmaceutical businesses across the country, adding that, if there is any appropriate time for the practitioners to up their games, that time is now.

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He further disclosed that many businesses are currently grappling with high production and operating cost which has made sustainability difficult for them.

“It is an obvious fact that many things are now happening in the business space and one has to be prepared. Most of the community pharmacies in Lagos are working assiduously to improve and move with the trend. So the programme is to sensitise us on how to thrive in the midst of these challenges. And that was what informed the theme for this year,” Obideyi said.

The keynote speaker, Dr Moronkola, was of the opinion that it was high time pharmacists got involved in the management of serious health conditions like hypertension, diabetes and others, adding that to achieve success in the management of such ailments, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals need collaboration and must work as a team.

“The world is changing, so also is healthcare practice; hence the need to consistently update our knowledge in order to meet up with what is going on around the world. It has been discovered that more than 68 percent of patients get to the community pharmacist first before any other healthcare provider; so it is high time you enriched your knowledge, so that you don’t become stale,” he advised

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According to the chairman of the occasion, Pharm. Ehimen, the Finance Bill which seeks to amend seven acts of the National Assembly relating to taxes payable in the country, as well as the ongoing closure of the country’s land borders and other policies, are making the business environment very tense, adding that the upward review of the VAT at this time will hurt businesses, the economy and citizens.

Speaking further, the experienced entrepreneur advised community pharmacists to be business savvy at this period, saying “a desperate situation requires a desperate measure”.

“We can turn the situation around for our benefit, so it is not time to sit down and lament, but rather a time to get to work and do it smarter,” he stressed.

Other dignitaries at the event included: Pharm. NAE Mohammed, registrar, PCN, who was represented by Dr Ukamaka Okafor, a director, PCN; Pharm. Moyosore Adejumo, director, Pharmaceutical Service, Lagos State Ministry of Health, who was represented by Pharm. Moses Awolola; Pharm. DejiOsinoiki, chairman, Board of Trustees, ACPN; Pharm. BolanleAdeniran, chairman, PSN, Lagos State; Dr Afoke Isiavwe, consultant Endocrinologist, Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre, Lagos; Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh, immediate past chairman, ACPN, Lagos State among many others.

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