…As hundreds of pharmacists storm Gombe for 96th annual conference
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, and other eminent Nigerians have commended the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), a professional body for practising pharmacists in the country, for her commitment, doggedness and meaningful contribution towards protecting and promoting the integrity of the pharmacy profession and her impact in the health sector at large.
Governor Yahaya gave the commendation at the opening ceremony of the ongoing 96th Annual National Conference of the PSN, tagged ‘Jewel City 2023, with the theme: “Pharmacy practice: A pivot to Universal Health Coverage”, held at Gombe International Conference Centre, Bauch Road, Gombe State.
According to Yahaya, who was the chief host and guest of honour at the event, the theme for the conference was both apt and timely, adding that it is coming at a time when President Bola Tinubu is making concerted efforts towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria through his renewed hope agenda.
Speaking further, the host governor who also doubles as the chairman of Northern Governors Forum, noted that pharmacists are at the forefront of healthcare delivery as they work to ensure the production, safety and effective use of medications, adding that their role extends beyond the pharmacy counter; as they are valuable members of the healthcare teams in the hospitals, offering expertise in medication management, drug administration, patient counselling, and health promotion.
He however noted that Nigerians continue to suffer from shortage of pharmacists and other medical professionals, saying the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 1 pharmacist per 2,000 people; whereas Nigeria today has only 1 pharmacist per 12,000 people, thus highlighting the enormous gap in our healthcare sector.
“This is exacerbated by the brain-drain syndrome where qualified pharmacists and other medical professionals are fleeing the country on a daily basis in search of greener pastures abroad. Sadly, this gap is being filled by quacks and pseudo-professionals whose activities endanger the health and wellbeing of our people”.
Speaking on the effort of his government, Gov Yahaya said that in its quest to address the shortage, Gombe State University is the largest producer of pharmacists to the state health institutions, adding that his administration shall continue to support the university in training qualified and highly skilled professionals for our health sector and beyond.
“Recently, our administration established the Drugs and Medical Supplies Management Agency in order to standardize drug administration and ensure safe and effective use of drugs. This, together with the Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (Go-Health) and other medical institutions are providing the enabling environment for pharmacy professionals to contribute to realising universal health coverage in Gombe State”, he said.
“All these underscored our administration’s recognition of the significance of pharmacy and other medical professionals in healthcare delivery. We are committed to fostering an environment where pharmacists and other medical professionals can thrive and make meaningful impacts. We shall continue to improve pharmaceutical services, enhance accessibility to quality healthcare, and invest in the professional development of pharmacists in Gombe state”, he stressed.
The governor while commending the PSN for its dedication to the advancement of pharmaceutical practice and healthcare in the country, further lauded the leadership of the body for the decision to bring the annual event to the state.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of the Opening ceremony, His Royal Highness, Igwe (Dr) Oranu Chris Chidume, Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube of Amor in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, appreciated the PSN for the great job the body is doing in the country, adding that the dedication of its past leaders as well as the present one has helped to bring the profession to the pride of place it presently occupies in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Igwe Chidume, who is the founder and chairman of Krisoral Group of Companies, however, lamented and expressed worries that as vast as Nigeria is as a nation, it has no reason to import drugs from foreign countries.
The royal father appealed for synergy among the pharmaceutical companies in the country, adding that the local manufacturers need to be encouraged and patronized so that the industry can grow.
Earlier in his welcome speech, Prof Cyril Usifoh, president of PSN, noted that the relevance of pharmacy and pharmacists to the health team across the world cannot be over-emphasized, adding that despite the challenges, risks, and stress the average Nigerian pharmacist goes through daily, nothing short of excellence has always been dispensed.
Usifoh further noted that his administration has worked tirelessly to ensure that the pharmacy profession moves along with the current trend as in other climes of the world, adding that the effort towards consultancy cadre is yielding more results.
He however expressed worries that pharmacy like every other professional is not exempted from the ‘Japa’ syndrome with no fewer than 5, 500 pharmacists that have left the country between 2018, and 2023, as the ratio of pharmacists to patients presently stands at one pharmacist to about 14 000 patients, adding that it is high time government address and arrest the situation.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of the College of Past PSN Presidents, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, who was represented by Pharm. Yaro Budah, said the body would continue to support the effort made by the leadership of PSN to consolidate the relevance, respectability, and dignity of the profession within the healthcare team.
Earlier, the keynote speech with the title, “Pharmacy practice: A pivot to Universal Health Coverage”,was delivered by the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Manassah Daniel Jatau
Gov Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya, Gombe State Governor, delivering his speech
Gov Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya, Gombe State Governor, receiving an Award Plaque from Prof Cyril Usifoh, PSN president, at the Opening Ceremony of 96th PSN Annual National Conference, at the Gombe International Conference Centre
A cross-section of delegates and dignitaries at the 96th PSN Annual National Conference, at the Gombe International Conference Centre, Gombe State recently.
L-R, Prof Cyril Usifoh, president, PSN; His Excellency Mohammadu Inuwa Yahaya, Governor of Gombe State; His Royal Highness, Igwe (Dr) Oranu Chris Chidume, Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube of Amor; Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, Kachalla of Kano, and His Excellency, Dr Manassah Daniel Jatau, deputy governor, Gombe State, and keynote speaker, at the 96th PSN Annual National Conference, at the Gombe International Conference Centre