Former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and current President of the African Pharmaceutical Forum (APF), Pharm. (Sir) Anthony Akhimien, has called on community pharmacists to do more with their skills and training as professionals, urging them to delegate the daily routines of prescription filling and counting of tablets to their support staff.
Akhimien, a Fellow of the PSN, gave the charge while delivering his keynotes address at the 34thAnnual National Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), recently held in Akure, Ondo State.
He noted that, globally, task-shifting is the order of the day in the health care industry, adding that pharmacy technicians can be supervised to handle most of the pharmacist’s routine, so that the pharmacist can concentrate on pharmaceutical care, using his deep knowledge and skills in clinical pharmacy.
The APF president further disclosed that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which kicked off about 10 years ago became moribund, largely due to poor implementation. He therefore urged the ACPN to reflect, return to the drawing board and engage relevant authorities in other to bring back community pharmacists into the scheme.
“We have a primary duty to protect the enrollee by guaranteeing the quality of drugs produced and dispensed to Nigerians who are in the scheme,” hestated.
Akhimien also observed that community pharmacists could be valuable assets in the management of chronic diseases in the neighbourhood, as the treatment of such diseases often requires long term use of medicine.
“Also, community pharmacists should advocate for inclusion in the provision of health screening for chronic diseases as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and others; counsel patients on appropriate use of medicines; advocate for lifestyles changes that prevent a chronic disease; and improve outcomes of drug therapy”, Akhimien said.
The former PSN president also bemoaned the attitude of community pharmacists in the country towards veterinary medicine, noting that this leads to loss of potential income.
In his words, “In this part of the world, community pharmacist shy away from stocking and dispensing of veterinary products; yet there is a growing need for veterinary products.A section of the pharmacy can be allocated to veterinary pharmaceutical products, such as mineral supplements, antiseptic, milking ointments, hoof softeners, flea and tick repellants, etc. This can improve the economic fortunes of community pharmacy practitioners,especially those in urban dwellings.”
The veteran pharmacist also encouraged community pharmacists to participate in government health programmes, adding that such could be achieved by working closely with other health care providers.
“Pharmacists should sharpen their skills and knowledge by attending short time certificate courses as approved by International bodies like USAID, PEFAR, WAPCP, WHO etc,” he said.
Explore new frontiers, Akhimien urges community pharmacists
By Adebayo Oladejo
Akhimien equally tasked community pharmacists to explore herbal medicine, adding that this would boost the image of the profession and the economic value of the individual.
“I am one of the proponents that herbal medicines are the future of pharmacy practice as evidences abound that where orthodox drugs fail, herbal remedies have taken over and done very well. These products are not cheap but our clients search and go for them. It is also economically viable to engage in them. ACPN can also invite a Director of NAFDAC and the Herbal Medicine Department of the Federal Ministry of Health to offer training to members that are interested,” he counseled.