With fierce opposition mounted against the implementation of the consultant cadre for hospital pharmacists, coupled with stiff resistance to their participation in ward rounds, the newly elected National Chairman of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo, has vowed to fight for the needed changes. In this exclusive interview with Temitope Obayendo, Ogunjemiyo reveals steps that he and his executives will take to resolve the challenges confronting their members, as well as the plans that will be implemented to improve their welfare. Excerpts:
Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo, AHAPN national chairman, receiving his certificate of return from the electoral officer, during his swearing-in ceremony, recently.
Congratulations, once again, on your success at the polls. Now that you have emerged national chairman of AHAPN, what are your goals for the association?
Let me start by saying that our goals are skewed towards the welfare of our members, as promised during our electioneering campaign. We intend to see to the full implementation of the new consultant cadre through strong advocacy and working with the relevant stakeholders.
We also wish to have an insurance scheme for our members. This has become a necessity as members are lost on regular basis without benefits. We have to put a compensation plan in place to cushion the effects of the devastation arising from sudden loss of lives and those of our beloved ones.
We intend to make strategic advocacy to stakeholders across the three tiers of government, community/opinion leaders and other critical stakeholders our priority. This will enable us reach our people at all levels and bring them into the association proper. We also intend to see to the registration of AHAPN as a trade union to empower us to negotiate for better welfare of our members.
We intend to have exchange programmes for our members to enhance their practice. We have also planned to have a mentorship programme for the PSN-YPG, towards the sustained growth and development of the future of our profession.
How do you intend to consolidate on the achievements of your predecessors?
I wish to congratulate my predecessor, Pharm. (Dr) Kingsley Amibor, for the successes recorded during his tenure. Let me quickly add that I was a part of that administration where I served as the national treasurer. I played active roles in the processes leading to those achievements.
The process of running the administration for success is not new to me. I know where we were and I’m aware of where we stopped. I will work in unison with my ever determined executives who are hungry for success.
The immediate past chairman is also part of our executive committee; so his wealth of experience will also play out. He has laid a good pedestal for the new executives to flourish. We will ride on that, even as we work through committees for the achievement of our goals. Success is actually our watchword.
It appears it’s not the best of times for hospital pharmacists as medical doctors are not ready to recognise them as part of the ward round team or in pharmaceutical care matters. How would you resolve this bottleneck?
It is very unfortunate the type of healthcare system we find ourselves with in this country. Healthcare is teamwork. Every health professional has his defined roles to play in the health team. Even the cleaners are important; otherwise our workplaces will be messed up. What then is a team? A team is defined as a group of people who perform interdependent tasks to work toward accomplishing a common mission or specific objective.
The focal point or the most important person in the hospital is the patient. Without patients, we are out of jobs. No single professional can lay claim to be the owner of the patients. We all work together in the hospital setting for the betterment of the patient.
The issue of ward round or pharmaceutical care isn’t a new concept. In institutions where joint ward rounds are done, there are better results to show for it. It even breeds a better relationship among the team. It is laughable that doctors do not want pharmacists to be part of the ward rounds, even when they know the immense benefits. They go to other climes and they see what happens but their ego wouldn’t allow such to be implemented here.
We will continue to speak to their conscience to allow global best practice to have its way in the country. Anyone that claims to be the leader of the team shouldn’t work in isolation; otherwise that leader will only lead himself without followers, and eventually land in self-destruction.
What aspect of pharmacy practice in Nigeria do you consider as requiring the most immediate attention?
As far as we in AHAPN are concerned, the area that needs the most immediate attention is that of the consultant cadre approved for pharmacists.
It is unfortunate that despite various extant circulars for the implementation of the consultant cadre for pharmacists, the CMDs/MDs, in connivance with the Minister of Health and the NMA, have vowed not to implement the directive.
The only federal health institutions where letters have been issued to that effect, nothing is happening. Other institutions where their boards of management have approved the cadre for their pharmacists, letters haven’t been issued to them. The same story we hear from the various hospitals is that the Minister of Health has instructed that the implementation should be put on hold.
Recently, we heard that they want to take the issue back to the National Council on Establishment (NCE) holding in November, 2021. The question is, what are they taking the already approved consultant cadre back to the NCE to do? Are they saying that NCE didn’t know what they were doing before giving approvals?
Let me conclude by saying that AHAPN has written a protest letter for non-implementation of the consultant cadre in the public sector by the MDs/CMDs to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Labour and Employment. I wish to thank the relevant bodies who have been part of this success story. Aluta continua.