- As 2023 Annual ACPN Conference begins in Delta.
Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State has said that to build a healthcare system that leaves no one behind, where quality healthcare services are available and affordable to every citizen, community pharmacists in the country need to forge a harmonious collaboration with other healthcare providers, adding that achieving the Universal Health Coverage is an attainable goal.
The governor, who was guest of honour at the 42nd Annual National Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), made the call while speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, held at the Dome Event Centre, Okpanam Road, Asaba, Delta State, recently.
Oborevwori, who was represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Policy, Hon (Chief) Solomon Funkekeme, said the harmonious relationship in the healthcare sector would help in addressing challenges and exploring new opportunities that will lead to healthier and more productive populations.
He said, to maintain its frontline position in the healthcare space, community pharmacists should continue to play a strategic role in the attainment of the UHC, as they serve as frontline healthcare providers, ensuring accessible and affordable healthcare for all, as well as serving as the bridge between the patients and the medical practitioners.
He continued, “Community pharmacists offer vital services in healthcare delivery, from dispensing medication to counseling patients on the proper usage of drugs, contributing significantly to disease prevention and health promotion”
Speaking further, the governor noted that his administration will continue to expand the capacity of Delta State Contributory Health Commission to maintain its leadership position in the country, adding that the state government would continue to partner with community pharmacists to improve healthcare delivery in the state.
He added: “Obviously, community pharmacists have an important role to play if the nation is to achieve its goal of universal health coverage, so as a government, we shall continue to leverage the knowledge, skill, and expertise of community pharmacists to deliver quality healthcare to our people because they are the bridge between patients and medical practitioners”.
Gov. Oborevwori further explained that the state government would continue to accord priority attention to the health of Deltans, noting that the state was the first to implement the mandatory health insurance scheme in the country
He said: “It is gratifying that this conference is focusing on universal health coverage. Accessible and affordable healthcare is non-negotiable for a healthy, vibrant, and productive population. Health is life; hence, the implementation of the mandatory health insurance scheme must be pursued with vigour. I am happy that Delta State is doing very well in this regard”.
“We are the first state to implement the mandatory health insurance scheme, with over 1.2 million enrollees. That makes us the only state that has achieved over 20 percent coverage of its citizens in the health scheme.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the National Chairman, ACPN, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, noted that the theme of the conference, “Building effective community pharmacy services for Universal Health Coverage”, was uniquely chosen in tandem with the current reality in the country, adding that the Asaba conference is being attended by over 800 delegates, several pharmaceutical companies, with no fewer than 107 pharmacists that have been trained in vaccine administration.
According to the ACPN boss, community pharmacists are at the forefront of patient care, serving as crucial healthcare professionals in the communities, even as they play a vital role in ensuring the health and well-being of individuals by providing essential pharmaceutical services and care coordination.
Also speaking, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, noted that the theme of the conference aligns perfectly with the vision of a healthier and more inclusive society. “As we continue to strive for healthcare equity and accessible services for all citizens, community pharmacists are at the forefront of making the vision a reality,” he said.
Highlights of the opening ceremony include the presentation of prizes to the winners of the National Anti-Drug Abuse Students Competition, which was won by Early Grip High School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with Junior Secondary School, Kurudu, Abuja, and Al-Maghili International Academy, Kano, coming second and third respectively, as well as official launching of ACPN Labeling Machine and Retail Box.