Pharm. Isaac Dayo Olufunminiyi is the managing director of De Omega Health Care Pharmacy Limited, a chain pharmacy company, with four outlets in Lagos. He is also the newly elected zonal coordinator of the IDEA Zone of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Chapter. In this interview with Pharmanews, Olufunminiyi, who has served as assistant secretary, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State, as well as deputy zonal coordinator, ACPN, IDEA Zone, bares his mind on the peculiar challenges facing community pharmacy in his zone, as well the challenges facing the health sector generally in the state. Excerpts:
Tell us briefly about yourself
I am Isaac Dayo Olufunminiyi. My surname used to be Ogunfunminiyi, but that has now changed. I attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where I studied Veterinary Medicine. I also studied Computer Science at the Polytechnic Ibadan. But I wasn’t fulfilled. I later studied Pharmacy at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. I got inducted over 20 years ago as a pharmacist.
Tell us about your outfit, what is the philosophy behind this enterprise, and where do you hope to take it in the next 10 years?
I started my own pharmacy, De Omega Health Care Pharmacy Limited, popularly called De Omega Pharmacy in 2007. We started with a branch on rented apartments; but, today, to the glory of God, we now have four outlets on our permanent sites. We hope to have six more branches in a few years to come, with a wholesale outlet to serve internally and later for an external business.
It must be tough coordinating a zone like IDEA. What was your motivation for opting to be the zonal coordinator?
You are right; but having been the deputy zonal coordinator and secretary for the zone, I was used to service to the profession. Over time, I have derived joy serving my profession and colleagues. So, it won’t be difficult for me and with God on our side, we will excel.
Aside from pharmacy practice, what is your general view of the current state of the healthcare sector in Lagos State?
The healthcare sector is not well funded in Lagos, so the government needs to pump more money into the sector, as health is wealth. In addition, government alone cannot do it; so private individuals who are capable should endeavor to assist the government in this regard.
However, community pharmacists should be carried along, as community pharmacy practice remains a vital tool for primary healthcare provision. Community pharmacy should also be used as a tool for immunization in Nigeria.
What should pharmacists be doing to contribute more towards healthcare delivery, especially at this period of the COVID-19 pandemic?
As community pharmacists, we are the closest to the people; so we should keep on educating the public about the pandemic. Awareness creation is a key to reducing the prevalence of the disease.
What would you say are the peculiar challenges facing community pharmacy practice in IDEA Zone?
Harassment from Nigeria police and other security agencies has been our major challenge. The state executive has written to the commissioner of police on this, so we hope this will change soon.
How best do you think the issue of fake drugs and counterfeit medicines can be curbed?
Drugs are not commodities that everybody should be handling. The charlatans and quacks are the ones behind fake drugs in Nigeria. So until the government starts making scapegoats of these bad elements, the challenge will remain. Regulatory bodies know that drugs are not like market commodities.
Tell us about your relationship with the people of this community and the most common health conditions that bring them to your pharmacy.
Malaria is the most common ailment in this community and it’s usually the most common health condition that brings them to the pharmacy. Laboratory diagnostics have also helped to prove this for us.