Embrace Technology to Accelerate Universal Health Coverage Attainment, Pharmacists Charged

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…As NAIP holds National Conference

L-R: PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh; ACPN National Chairman, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu; Former PSN President, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo and NAIP National Chairman, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu at the NAIP National Conference in Ibadan recently.

Pharmacists in Nigeria have been charged to embrace technology so as to move the pharma industry forward and as well achieve universal health coverage for all Nigerians.

The call was made at the 27th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP).  The theme of the conference, held in Ibadan, from   4 to 8 June, 2024, is “Role of digital technologies and innovations in achieving universal health coverage: The Nigeria Industrial pharmacy perspective”.

Speaking at the event, the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, stated that thorough understanding of the vision and mission of the industrial pharmacists in Nigeria  underscores the importance of digital technology, pointing that pharma manufacturers in Nigeria will easily attain their desired height through the application of digital technology.

The Chairman of the occasion, Pharm. Asiwaju Theophilus Adebowale Omotosho who is the chairman, Bond Chemical Industries Ltd. noted that digital transformation happens every day in pharma practices, noting that technology has moved away from the analogue process of producing drugs, which was the norms decades ago, stating that machines now produce drugs.

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He charged all pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners in Nigeria to embrace digital technology so as to move healthcare to the next level that will enhance the attainment of universal health coverage.

He also called on the Nigeria government to act fast by creating the enabling environment that will enhance integration of technology into every aspect of the nation’s healthcare delivery for optimum patients’ outcomes.

The Chief Executive Officer of Business School Netherlands International, Nigeria, Prof. Lere Baale noted that the value chain in the pharma industry cannot survive without the application of digital technology.

Prof. Baale said “at every stage of all the value chain in the pharma industry, we need to apply technology. Pharmacists need to have a good understanding of what has happened in the past and what is happening now, so that they will be able to predict what will happen in future”.

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R-L: PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, Chairman, Bond Chemical Industry, Pharm. Asiwaju Theophilus A. Omotosho; NAIP National Chairman, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu and other stakeholders at NAIP conference in Ibadan

The National Chairman, NAIP, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu, called for a paradigm shift, saying the country can’t be talking about medicine security when 70-80 percent of the nation’s drug consumption is imported.

He said, “it is high time we step up our game towards digital technology. This is the time to step up our game to achieve Universal Health Coverage through technology. We can’t be talking about Universal Health Coverage when we are still applying the 1960 standard. In our factories, we need to start setting up Good Manufacturing Practices that are of current standard”.

In his keynote address, the Keynote Speaker, Prof. O. A Itiola of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, pointed out that various technologies can be adopted in the pharmaceutical industry to promote quality healthcare delivery.

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He affirmed that application of digital technology in pharma practice will enhance better decision making, improves efficiency and productivity, encourages innovation and collaboration, makes communications and teamwork easier and as well improves working conditions.

He said “As a company, if you don’t embrace technology now, competitors will overtake you. So it is better that pharmacists and other healthcare providers embrace technology now, especially digital technology. In fact, you can innovate in your lab. You can also collaborate with others”.

Earlier in his opening remark, the Chairman, conference planning committee, Pharm. Valentine Okelu said  the theme of the conference, is very critical in today’s socio-economic reality.

He said “with the tempo of technological development today,  there is a need to innovate and channel attention towards leveraging newer advances in key areas like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence among others, in delivering reasonable access to healthcare in a more universal and cost-effective manner”.

 

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