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Nomination for PANSite of the Year Begins

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PANS Banner

Nomination for the 6th Edition of Pharmanews PANSite of the Year Award is open to all eligible Pharmacy students, who have contributed immensely to public healthcare and health innovation in their communities.

The online competition was introduced in 2019 to recognise and celebrate PANSites, who have distinguished themselves in active participation in community services through public health enlightenment programmes, healthcare innovation and social development.

Yusuf Hassan Wada, a 21-year- old Pharmacy student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, emerged the winner of the first edition; Izukanne Emembolu, from Faculty of Pharmacy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka was the winner for the 2020 contest; Martin Nwofia, a 500 level Pharmacy student of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State, clinched the trophy in 2021; Jennifer Ukamaka Ekuma, a 500 level Pharmacy student of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Akwa-Ibom State, won the 2022 competition; while Olasunkanmi Ajilaran, a 400 level Pharmacy student of UNILAG, emerged winner of the 2023 contest.

To qualify for this prestigious award, the prospective candidate must meet the following criteria:

• Must be a Pharmacy student in one of the Nigerian universities
• Must be actively involved in public health advocacy
• Must have demonstrated innovation in healthcare delivery
• Must have been engaged in drug research – especially towards combatting the raging diphtheria.
• Must have personally undertaken other community development activities
• Must not have won this award before.

We hereby call for nomination of Pharmacy students who meet the above requirements. Your nomination should be attached as a comment to the post.

Following the nomination exercise, the panel in charge of the exercise will select five nominees with highest nominations for an online poll, and the candidate with the highest votes becomes the winner.

Please note that nomination ends by 12 April,2024.

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Leveraging West African Pharma Market’s Potentials through Pharmaconex Exhibition

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Participants at Pharmaconex 2023 in Cairo, Egypt

The potential of West Africa's pharmaceutical market is becoming increasingly significant. The market is forecasted to reach a revenue of over $2.7 million in 2024, with a steady annual growth rate of 6.78% projected from 2024 to 2028. This growth is expected to culminate in a market volume of over $3.5 million by 2028.

Several key factors are fueling this upward trajectory in the African healthcare market, including an ever-increasing population and economic growth in the region. Population growth plays a crucial role, with the overall African population anticipated to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. This surge in population will translate to a significantly higher demand for healthcare services across the continent. Additionally, economic forecasts from the African Development Bank Group suggest a rebound in West Africa's growth rate, increasing from an estimated 3.2% in 2023 to 4% in 2024 and further to 4.4% in 2025.

Furthermore, in relation to the region’s healthcare infrastructure, this growth has also signified a shift towards more patient-centred approaches, with a noticeable rise in patient organisations and non-profit entities dedicated to fulfilling unmet healthcare needs. Another pivotal development is the West Africa Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation Project (WA-MRH), launched in 2017 by the West Africa Health Organisation. The project aims to enhance the availability of high-quality, effective, and safe medicines and vaccines across the region.

Together, these elements underscore the dynamic growth and evolving landscape of West Africa's pharmaceutical sector, showcasing its increasing importance on both a regional and global scale.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the promising growth, the West African pharmaceutical sector encounters specific obstacles. A significant challenge is the region's excessive dependence on imported medicines and raw materials. This, combined with complex and inefficient supply chains which frequently lack efficiency and transparency, results in shortages of essential medicines. Moreover, strict governmental regulations on drug importation can further compound these difficulties.

That said, a plethora of opportunities still exist for pharmaceutical companies aiming to establish themselves in this region. These include investing in the production of medicines tailored to local needs, building partnerships with governments or lobbying to enhance healthcare infrastructure, and employing innovative solutions and cutting-edge technologies to navigate logistical and regulatory hurdles.

Pharmaconex West Africa: A Gateway to the Market

The inaugural launch of the Pharmaconex West Africa Exhibition and Conference this year serves as both a response to and a pathway through the challenges and opportunities previously outlined. Building on a decade of successful operations in North Africa particularly in Egypt, Pharmaconex West Africa, in collaboration with CPHI and co-located with Medlab West Africa, is poised to facilitate a seamless integration, thanks to its extensive expertise and the insightful approach of its partners to the pharmaceutical landscape.

But why Nigeria? As one of the primary consumers in the West African pharmaceutical market, Nigeria is strategically positioned as a hub where ambitious, world-leading healthcare sector professionals are likely to meet. Additionally, the Nigerian government's support for increasing local manufacturing capacity offers businesses the opportunity to grow domestically.

The event scheduled from 22 -24 April, 2024, will serve as a manufacturing and trading hub, aiming to unite over 100 exhibitors and 2,000 attendees from around the globe. Their shared goal is to connect and improve the West African healthcare and pharmaceutical community.

Pharmaconex West Africa is keen to spotlight four key product sectors at the exhibition: Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients & Generic APIs, Packaging Materials, Machinery & Process Equipment, and Finished Dosage Forms. By showcasing state-of-the-art products and innovative processes, the exhibition aims to highlight the potential benefits these sectors can bring to the West African healthcare sector.

The event is designed to foster unparalleled networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities. Exhibitors will have the chance to broaden their reach within the African market, while attendees can gain valuable insights through technical seminars presented by industry experts.

Additionally, technical seminars will offer attendees the chance to enhance their knowledge and stay informed about the latest industry trends, best practices, and technologies, presented by thought leaders and experts in the field. These will be supported with comprehensive hands-on training programs designed to equip professionals with the skills and expertise necessary for success in the continually evolving pharmaceutical landscape.

Attendees will gain access to high-quality content created and curated by industry experts, including case studies, whitepapers, industry reports, and roundtable discussions on key topics such as intra-Africa trade and AFCFTA.

Pharmaconex West Africa serves as a crucial entry point for pharmaceutical companies seeking to enter the expanding West African market. By encouraging partnerships and creating a foundation for a sustainable future, the event aims to actively contribute to the region's growth.

When Hospital is Too Far…

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Jatropha tanjorensis Ellis & Saroja  (Fam – Euphorbiaceae) is a leafy vegetable native to Mexico that is now commonly grown in the southern part of Nigeria. It is extensively grown in West Africa, where it forms an integral part of their traditional medicine. In Nigeria, it is called efo Iyana Ipaja or ewe lapalapa in Yoruba and ugu oyibo in Igbo.

Common names of the plant include Catholic vegetable, reverend father vegetable, blood of Jesus, ogwu obara, chaya leaf, Jatropha, miracle leaf, tree spinach, God’s gift, and “hospital too far”.

 

Constituents

Proximate analysis show the presence of carbohydrate, fat, protein, fibre. Phytomemicals like alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, anthraquinones and saponins are present in the plant, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, C and E. Also present are minerals alike magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron zinc and selenium.

Other constituents are phytate, hydrogen cyanide, jathrophin, Friedelin, β-amyrin,  stigmasterol  and  R(+)4-hydroxypyrrolidinone

 

Preparations

Leaves may be chewed raw, boiled or used to prepare soup, stew or other meals. J.tanjorensis may be available as the stems, dry leaves or dry leaf powder. It may also be used as infusions.

 

Pharmacological actions and medicinal uses

Pharmacological studies revealed that the plant showed some wide range of biological activities, such as antihypertensive, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antimalarial, antiparasitic, antioxidant, hypoglycaemic,  hypolipidemic  and hematological  activities. Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells; vitamin C aids the absorption of iron; while dietary fibre aids in the reduction of plasma cholesterol levels.

It is believed that hospital too far improves blood flow by promoting dilatation and relaxation of arteries. It contains potassium, a mineral that also assists in regulation of a normal blood pressure. Similarly, hospital too far contains reasonable amounts of flavonoid, an antioxidant known for maintenance of arteries and veins to improve blood circulation.

It is said that hospital too far can effectively reduce colon and rectal cancer because of the dietary fibre it contains. Hospital too far leaf may help to eliminate factors causing muscular degeneration and symptoms attributed to eye defect because it contains essential amount of vitamins A, C and B complex, as well as bioactive compounds. The anti-inflammatory properties enable it to mitigate pains in the body.

Jatropha is said to be beneficial to dental health. The twigs may be effective against toothaches, while the bark paste can be used to treat gum swelling. Chewing the leaves can help alleviate pyorrhea. Chewing the leaves uncooked would accelerate digestion, making waste elimination simpler, thus its usefulness in constipation.

A study revealed that intake of J.tanjorensis was effective in boosting female reproductive health, pregnancy health and outcome in virgin female Wistar rats.

 

 

Ethnobotanical survey in Mubu, Adamawa State, showed that, J. tanjorensis was used as a remedy to diseases such as: measles, scabies, malaria, high blood pressure, stomach ache, diabetes mellitus, eczema and anaemia with majority of the respondents mentioning leaves as part mostly used.

 

Adverse effects

Consumption of J. tanjorensis may lead to disruption of protein metabolism function of the liver and also negative interference with the filtration capacity of the kidney, which might result in renal and hepatic dysfunction.

 

Economic uses and potentials

Many useful products come from the plant, especially the seed, from which oil can be extracted. This oil can be used as a feed stock and biodiesel. The extracted oil is useful in making soap, glue, dye, among others. The leaves of J.tanjorensis can be used as a growth promoter in poultry feeds. There are potentials in the cultivation, processing and distribution of J. tanjorensis in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

 

References

Falodun A., Udu-Cosi A.A., Erharuyi O. Imieje V. (2013). Jatropha tanjorensis – Review of Phytochemistry, Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Allied Sciences 10 (3) (2013) 1955 – 1964.

By Pharm. Ngozika Okoye MSc, MPH, FPCPharm

(Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency)

Email: ngozikaokoye@yahoo.com

Closing Health Equity Gaps in Nigeria

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The global community recently commemorated this year’s World Health Day on 7 April, 2024, with stakeholders calling for more concerted efforts towards bridging health equity gaps. This, they say, will help to ensure that everyone enjoys access to good health as a right. With the theme, “My Health, My Right,” the 2024 anniversary focused on the urgent need to protect the lives of millions who have been increasingly threatened by diseases and disasters which have led to deaths and disabilities.

Established in 1948, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a day to draw attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world, the apex health body emphasised that this year’s theme was chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to essential health services.

It is noteworthy that the WHO specifically seized the occasion of the 2024 commemoration to reveal the alarming discovery that, of the 140 countries that recognise health as a human right in their constitutions, only a few are implementing the law; with, at least, 4.5 billion people — more than half of the world’s population —not fully covered by essential health services in 2021. The implication here is that governments and other relevant stakeholders must do more to invest in healthcare delivery. This has become a particularly urgent imperative in a world that is increasingly grappling with conflicts, hunger, economic downturns, as well as climate crises occasioned by harmful practices.

The Nigerian experience is a critical replica of the global scenario, with many movements but limited progress in health equity. Disparities in access to healthcare and health outcomes continue to challenge the well-being of millions of the citizens. The stark differences in health outcomes based on socio-economic status, geographical location, and other determinants highlight the urgent need for concerted efforts to close these gaps and ensure equitable access to healthcare for all Nigerians.

That the Nigerian government itself is aware of these gaps is laudable. In his statement on the World Health Day, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, noted that “despite progress, persistent obstacles including inadequate infrastructure and healthcare workforce shortages persist, prompting a redoubling of efforts to prioritise primary healthcare services for all Nigerians”.

However, beyond ensuring that it fulfils its promise of prioritising primary healthcare services, the government must decisively combat other barriers to equitable access to healthcare. These include massive brain drain, medicine insecurity, limited infrastructure, heavy reliance on drug importation, shortage of raw materials for local pharma manufacturers, scarcity of essential medicines, and inadequate investment in local drug production, to mention a few.

While the Federal Government’s initiatives, such as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal and Investment Initiative, are commendable, it is imperative for the health sector leadership to expedite action on the proposed issuance of executive order to reduce escalating prices of drugs. This, we believe, will make quality medicines more accessible and affordable to every Nigerian.

Beyond this, the prevailing harsh economy has further revealed that local pharma companies cannot flourish without the availability of single digit loans, favourable policies and a generally conducive business environment. These are fundamental obligations of the government to local industries, which constitute the major drivers of economic growth and, in this case, citizens’ overall wellness.

Equally important in bridging health equity gaps in the country is equipping hospitals with quality infrastructure and personnel capable of professionally addressing the healthcare needs of the citizenry. The absurd doctor-to-patient ratio of 1: 10,000 (as against the recommended ratio of 1:600), needs to be urgently reversed for patients to have equitable access to health. Building and equipping more health facilities, especially in underserved rural areas, and ensuring they have adequate staffing and resources to provide quality care, will tremendously help to strengthen healthcare infrastructure across the country.

It is also important to emphasise that, from all indications, government alone cannot weather the storm of closing health equity gaps. Therefore, fostering and leveraging strategic partnerships with targeted stakeholders will bolster government’s limited resources in adequately catering for the healthcare needs of Nigerians. The Nigerian First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, on the occasion of the World Health Day, reiterated this perspective that all hands must be on deck for universal health coverage to be the reality of every Nigerian. She said, “I use this opportunity to call on all well-meaning Nigerians, organisations and bodies, to help remove all barriers to actualising health for all in Nigeria.”

Once more, government and all other stakeholders must realise that, at the heart of health equity lies the fundamental right of every Nigerian to good health. It is a right that should not be dictated by anyone’s income, ethnicity, or where they live. Therefore, the prevailing stark contrasts in health outcomes between the affluent and the indigent, between urban centres and rural communities, is not only morally unacceptable but also undermines the overall development and stability of our nation. The time to bridge this divide is now.

Routine Immunisation: Effective in Preventing Diseases Outbreaks- Epidemiologist

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Routine Immunisation: Effective in Preventing Diseases Outbreaks- Epidemiologist

 

An Epidemiologist and Resident Advisor, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, African Field Epidemiology Network, Dr Muhammad Balogun, has underscored the importance of routine immunisation and vaccine, stressing that they go a long way in checkmating and preventing diseases outbreaks.

He stated this at a session on ‘Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases and Contextual Reporting during the Africa Disease Reporting Fellowship (ADReF) for journalists reporting health in Africa’.

Balogun said, “That is why we have routine immunisation, we don’t wait for any measles outbreak to happen, we don’t wait for Diphtheria, it is routine once a child is born, there is a schedule of the different vaccines that they will get.

“However, in spite of the availability of vaccines, there is hesitancy, as some people will not present their children for vaccination and sometimes maybe the vaccines have not been well kept and so do not work.

“Once there is a disease outbreak, you do a campaign, vaccination. We do that for things like meningitis, measles, polio and others, and for meningitis, the good news is that we now have a new vaccine — Pentavalent.

“It can deal with the three main meningitis stereotypes but also to other bacterial pathogens which eventually we are going to routinise.

“So, we are starting the first phase this year and subsequently, it’s going to be part of the routine immunisation so that we can end meningitis completely.”

On the prevalence of Lassa fever in parts of the country, the epidemiologist said, “A vaccine had been developed, and very soon, a trial would be conducted to ascertain its efficacy.”

According to him, many researches were carried out about the disease over the years, but rodent control has been ineffective.

The expert said due to the level of poverty in areas where the disease is endemic, it had been difficult to institute control measures individually.

He averred that to bring the disease under control, there must be efforts to develop a magic bullet approach, which would solve the problem.

“Just the way smallpox and polio were eradicated through immunisation, there is a vaccine now for Lassa fever,” Balogun added.

(NAN)

 

 God Works for His Glory

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God’s laws and your health
Pharm.(Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi

I am always excited by the story of the man born blind from birth, as narrated in John 9. The disciples of Jesus Christ had assumed that his blindness must have been as a result of sin committed by his parents or himself. But in verse 3, Jesus replies, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”

We know that people suffer for violating spiritual and natural laws. But this case is different. Indeed, some people suffer so that God’s work may be more greatly manifested in them. And God must take the glory for His work. A typical case is this blind man. He was born blind for Jesus to open his eyes to demonstrate the work of God.

Recently, I watched the video of a girl born without the two hands. But the two legs were designed to function as hands also. With only two legs, this lady was doing everything by herself. It was fascinating to watch her cook her food, brush her mouth, wear her clothes, use her makeup and live a normal life without hands. No one watching the video would fail to appreciate the work of God in her life. Such cases are for the glory of God.

We cannot attribute the incredible abilities of this lady to whatever man can do. No level of surgical procedure can restore her feet and hands to normal. Interestingly, even those of us with our hands and feet cannot easily perform those activities.

God wants to take the glory for what He has done. In Isaiah 42:8 (NKJV), He says, “I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.” Whenever God does something for you, do not hesitate to give Him glory. Don’t give His glory to another person. Take time to reflect on His interventions in your affairs and never fail to give Him glory.

In 1978, God gave me the idea of starting Pharmanews and I have always given Him full credit for that. I do not share the glory which belongs to Him with anybody. But I fully appreciate the instruments He used to realise the great idea.

When it came to the most important factor in realising the idea, God made it in such a way as to confirm that it was His idea and He only could make it work out. I tried all possible ways to raise the money to produce the first edition (May 1979) but did not succeed. I reached out to the marketing managers of the pharmaceutical companies and some of them supported me with adverts for the maiden edition. Since I didn’t have the money for this edition, I appealed to the friendly ones to pay upfront but none was prepared to grant my request.

I was determined not to beg or borrow but did not know what else to do. It appeared God wanted me to reach the end of my abilities and contacts before stepping in. This is what actually happened. One afternoon, I remembered seeing the signboard of a pharmaceutical company, E. Merck, along Town Planning Way, Ilupeju. I had never entered the company and did not know anybody there. On arriving there, the receptionist allowed me to see the MD, without foreknowledge or a previous appointment. That notwithstanding, he warmly received me as if we had met before. I presented my service like a trained marketer. I was with him for less than one hour and he took up the page 2 bottom strip for his Cosome cough mixture advert. In addition, he introduced advert spaces for Cosome also on the wrapper for distributing the copies. I had never thought of that. He said he would pay immediately for his adverts from May to December 1979. Then from January 1980 he would pay upfront every year for his adverts until he decided to stop.

That was how God used E. Merck to provide the seed money that has kept us away from begging or borrowing until today. He did it in such a way as to receive the glory for the success of Pharmanews, using E. Merck and the Managing Director, Mr Ufflerbaumer, as His instruments.

Shuttling between Campuses, Major Challenge at NDU – President, PANS

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Happiness Ogweh

In this exclusive interview with Adebayo Oladejo, President of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS), Niger Delta University (NDU), Bayelsa State, Happiness Ogweh, bares his mind on the challenges associated with studying in a multi-campus higher institution. The 14th PANS-NDU president and Delta state born scholar also speaks on his foray into Pharmacy and PANS politics, as well as his achievements and challenges in  office. Excerpts:

I strongly believe in the tenets and principles guiding leadership through the mechanism of mediation, replication and multiplication. This has worked extremely well for me over the past years; it has made me to gain much recognition within and outside the faculty.

With leadership experience, I am highly motivated to contribute with my interpersonal, investigative problem-solving, organisational, and teamwork skills, as well as being open to learning new skills.

I have maintained a first class CGPA, and showing excellent abilities across the board. I have a few awards of outstanding leadership and academic excellence. I am an awardee of the Federal Government Scholarship Board.

In a nutshell, I believe that leadership is about being adaptable, flexible, trustworthy, reliable, and willing to learn. I am willing to connect and pitch ideas with like-minded minds.

Many students studying Pharmacy actually chose Medicine as their first choice. Are you one of them?

I am not one of them. I opted for Pharmacy, and I figured that it was the best for me at the age of 12, after attending my elder brother’s induction ceremony as a pharmacist.

I feel many students chose Medicine because the awareness of the beauty of Pharmacy wasn’t there at the early stage of our educational history. This is the more reason we need to do a lot of pharmacy profession awareness campaigns across the country, focusing on the younger ones.

Also, I think the percentage is gradually reducing, and more students are beginning to opt for Pharmacy now.

Why did you join politics in school?

We have very few or no pharmacist in the political space, so it’s very difficult to initiate and implement certain favourable policies for the massive growth of the pharmacy profession.

I have better plans and vision for the pharmacy profession in Nigeria, especially in the regulatory and administrative facets. At the state level, we have constantly been engaging the Bayelsa State Government regarding the growth of the pharmacy profession.

It is wise we start engaging more future pharmacists in the political space if we want a rapid advancement in the pharma industry.

It can be tough combining your studies with active involvement in other activities. How have you been coping as the president?

First and foremost, you need God. Leadership took a big part of me, I must sincerely confess. However, it has shaped me to the point where I am confident that with my political advocacy and involvement in politics after school. We can make a change in the pharmacy profession.

Well, as a young chap, who wanted to come out with good grades, I focused more on garnering knowledge and values in my early years of pharmacy school, before delving into politics in my penultimate year.

So I would say that, because my foundation was very strong, I didn’t need to struggle too much in my academics, and I already know what works for me to get my distinctions. I also have a group of friends that have been a major motivation for me in pharmacy school.

Time management is also a key factor, coupled with setting your priorities right. Know yourself, and work at your own pace. My dean, lecturers and the entire staff of the faculty have been a major support to my academic journey as well.

What achievements have you recorded and what challenges have you encountered so far?

For the first time in five years, we are currently running a proper PANS government in NDU – the executive council, as well as the legislative arm, with the establishment of a good number of standing and ad-hoc committees. So we run an all-inclusive government.

I have been able to revive PANS in NDU after it was banned for five years, and I have been able to lay a concrete foundation, a blueprint. There was a huge gap between PANS-NDU and affiliate professional bodies and the major pharmacy stakeholder in the state, but we have been able to establish a solid relationship, by closing that gap. We paid courtesy visits, for the first time in five years, to all the relevant offices in the state.

We successfully organised a befitting orientation programme for our 100 Level students, the first time in five years. I am currently running a project, Mortar and Pestle, in front of our faculty. We initiated the renovation of our toilet facilities, and we bought some reservoirs for seamless use. We bought podiums in some of the classrooms, and I opened an official bank account for the association. Pharmacy is the only faculty in NDU that has been able to achieve that.

We have aroused and spurred the interest of pharmacy students to engage in politics. PANS-NDU produced a PRO at the university SUG, and we are currently reviewing our PANS-NDU Constitution, which will be a major achievement for my government. Also, we won a business pitch award at the Faculty of Nursing Sciences.

However, talking about our challenges, we have plenty of ideas but lack financial buoyancy. Funding is a major factor to achieve certain desires. Foundation is a very hard thing to lay. I suffered in laying the foundation, but the next set of leaders will enjoy what we have done.

Are there peculiar challenges associated with studying Pharmacy at NDU?

The transportation system is a major issue we are faced with in the Faculty of Pharmacy, NDU. Shuttling between two campuses is no joke at all. We need more full-time staff in the faculty, as well as a permanent, all-inclusive faculty, with all classes and laboratories situated in one place.

Moreover, we need to redesign the academic calendar to enable us to go for our Industrial Training for, at least, three months. Irregular power supply, due to hikes in prices of fuel, coupled with network issues, have been a challenge for our researchers and students at the new campus site.

Many schools of pharmacy in the country are upgrading to PharmD. How would you react to this development?

Well, I must applaud the PCN for ensuring that we transition and upgrade to the PharmD programme in Nigeria, because that’s actually what is being awarded in other developed countries. So it’s impressive that the profession is growing, and we have moved away from the lick, stick and pour, to become more clinically-oriented professionals.

However, there should be room for massive, flexible conversion programmes for those interested. I believe it will contribute significantly to the healthcare sector, specifically the clinical pharmacists.

Where do you see PANS- NDU in the next five years?

The zenith – massive growth and advancement, to the point where the state government will be very much interested in investing more in our graduates.

Pharmanews April PDF Edition Free Download

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Published every month since its inception in 1979, Pharmanews is the largest circulating health periodical, covering all the 36 states of Nigeria and beyond. Pharmanews continues to break new grounds in health reportage and has established an enviable reputation in the healthcare sector and in the pharmaceutical industry, in particular.

Our website (www.pharmanewsonline.com) has become West Africa’s biggest online health news portal, attracting thousands of global visitors, especially healthcare professionals, on daily basis.

To appreciate readers and subscribers for their continuous patronage all these years, Pharmanews limited is offering free copies of Pharmanews (PDF format).

Attached to this post are copies of Pharmanews Journal PDF Edition from January 2020 to date.

Click the links below to download

 

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2024

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2023

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2022

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2021

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAFDAC Recalls Benylin Paediatric syrup Over Toxicity Findings

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has recalled Benylin Paediatrics Syrup manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, following recent toxicity findings in the laboratory on the product.

Benylin Paediatric syrup is indicated for the relief of cough and its congestive symptoms and for the treatment of hay fever and other allergic conditions in children aged 2 to 12 years.

The agency in a statement on Wednesday, disclosed that Laboratory analysis conducted on the product showed that it contains an unacceptable high level of diethylene glycol and was found to cause acute oral toxicity in laboratory animals.

It further stated that diethylene glycol is toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal. “Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death”.

The product, with the following information: batch no “329304”, manufacturing date: 2021, and imported by Johnson and Johnson company West Africa, is also be expiring in April 2024.

NAFDAC management said it has directed Johnson and Johnson company West Africa to initiate the recall of the batch, while the notice will be uploaded to the WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System (GSMS).

The regulatory agency therefore urged all importers, distributors, retailers and consumers to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the substandard (contaminated) regulated products.

It further warned that all medical products must be obtained from authorized/licensed suppliers. The products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked.

“Anyone in possession of the above-mentioned product is advised to immediately discontinue sale or use and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office. If you witness any adverse reaction/event after the use of this product in any children, you are advised to direct such patients for immediate medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional.

“Similarly, healthcare professionals and patients are also encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of the medicinal product to the nearest NAFDAC office, or through the use of the E-reporting platforms available on the NAFDAC”, the agency emphasised.

Ekiti State University Confers Honorary Doctor of Laws on Adelusi-Adeluyi

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Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi, being decorated at the Convocation ceremony, in Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti.

The Ekiti State University (EKSU) has conferred an Honorary
Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, president, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), in recognition of his immense support to the less privileged in the society, and to the development of Ekiti State University.

The conferment of the honorary degree, which took place during the recent Convocation ceremony of the university, had in attendance prominent NAPharm Fellows like Prof. Fola Tayo; Prof Kemi Odukoya; Pharm Babashehu Ahmed; Pharm. (Dr) Lolu Ojo; Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba; and Prof.(Mrs) Mbang Femi-Oyewo.

In his response to the kind gesture of the university, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi expressed his profound gratitude to the institution for the honour done on him.

He also made a public request for the establishment of a Faculty of Pharmacy at Ekiti State University, before the expiration of the tenure of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Edward Olanipekun, in August 2024.

Responding to the request of the awardee, the EKSU VC, asked Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi, to be the major facilitator of the project.

In a similar development, the NAPharm President and his team used the occasion of the EKSU Convocation to decorate the Founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, with an Honorary Fellow of NAPharm.

The colourful investiture ceremony, held in ABUAD, left
Aare Afe Babalola with a lasting impression of the Pharmacy profession, as he promised to collaborate with the academy in the areas of research and manufacturing.

Extreme Heatwave Claims Over 100 lives in Mali

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Devastating heatwave has claimed over 100 lives in Mali, reports has said.

Foreign sources disclosed that the deadly heatwave, has blanketed Mali for more than a month.

Majority of the patients affected by heat-related ailments, reports said were the elderly aged over 60, who had been suffering from chronic illnesses.

Malian meteorologists reported that last Thursday, the southwestern city of Kayes registered a temperature of 48.5°C, marking the hottest April day ever recorded in African history.

Authorities have advised residents to seek shelter in well-ventilated areas, and have shortened school hours.
“Global warming is something we should be doing something about now”, said Jean-Jacques Cornish.

Encomiums as PSN Honours Victor Akhimien

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Encomiums as PSN Honours Victor Akhimien
L-R: Mr John Obeya, mixed martial artist; Professor Cyril Usifoh, PSN president; Shihan (Pharm.) Victor Akhimien, technical director, MMAFN; Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher of pharmanews and Pharm.(Sir) Ike Onyechi, MD, Alpha Pharmacy & Stores, at the event.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on Monday honoured Shihan (Pharm.) Victor Akhimien, the technical director of the Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Nigeria (MMAFN) for his exploits as a multi-talented pharmacist and martial arts coach. The event, which took place at the PSN National Secretariat in Anthony Village, Lagos, had in attendance, distinguished pharmacists and associates of Shihan Akhimien. The mixed martial arts coach just returned from the recently concluded All Africa Games in Ghana with his team, which won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

President of the PSN, Professor Cyril Usifoh, expressed the society’s elation with the achievements of Pharm. Akhimien, who has remained very consistent in using his multiple talents to advance the cause of engendering positive social change, especially among Nigerian youths.

Usifoh added that it is a plus to the Pharmacy profession that one of its own is excelling in other fields and bringing glory to the society. He also noted that the medal-winning feat of Shihan (Pharm.) Akhimien and his team at the just concluded All Africa Games is something worth celebrating because it happened during his tenure as President of the PSN.

Publisher of Pharmanews, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, lent his voice to the galore of eulogies as he described Shihan (Pharm.) Akhimien as a rare breed, who has channeled his talents towards making the society a better place. He recalled how Akhimien worked for him as a cartoonist for his book project twenty years ago. “People know him as a cartoonist, musician, salesman and martial artist,” he added. Atueyi commended Akhimien for remembering those who aided his development and urged him to remain focused in his illustrious pursuits of honing talents and impacting humanity positively.

Pharm. (Sir) Ike Onyechi, managing director, Alpha Pharmacy & Stores, while encouraging Akhimien to continue using his talent to the glory of God said that people usually accomplish more than their peers because of their dedication and passion in deploying their talents for the collective good of society.

Speaking also, Professor Lere Baale, remembered how Shihan (Pharm.) Akhimien distinguished himself as an effective salesman during their days at Globacom. Baale also expressed his delight with the way the Pharmacy profession has been producing outstanding men and women who are etching their names on the sands of time through great exploits in different fields of human endeavor.

He said, “Victor Akhimien is a true quintessential polymath, a true renaissance man whose multifaceted talents, boundless passion, and unwavering commitment to excellence serve as an enduring inspiration to us all.”

Mr John Obeya, one of the many students of Shihan (Pharm.) Akhimien in the mixed martial arts who also fought at the just concluded All Africa Games in Ghana, said his master has been a great source of motivation for him in his fighting career. “He spends most of his time into the late hours of the night training me to be a better fighter. In fact, I have become a better fighter since I met him,” he declared.

Thanking the PSN and all those who took out time from their busy schedules to grace the occasion, Akhimien promised to continue developing young talents, especially now that young people are keying into the mixed martial arts which provides an opportunity for international stardom. He called on the pharmaceutical stakeholders in Nigeria to leverage on sports for the development of young talents. He also called on pharmacists with exceptional talents to come out and showcase them.

Tinubu Approves Establishment of National Health Fellows Programme

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approved the establishment of the National Health Fellows Programme, with young Nigerian fellows to be engaged across all the 774 local government areas in the country.

This is inline with the President’s goal to upgrade existing primary healthcare centres and construct over 8,800 new primary healthcare centres across all local government areas in the country for accessible and qualitative healthcare delivery with the provision of new social accountability mechanisms.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, it was explained that the well-trained fellows will serve as fiduciary agents to monitor and track primary healthcare centres development and performance, which is to be assiduously measured against all financial inflows to the centres nationwide.

He said the Fellowship programme will be domiciled in the Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) coordination office under the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

“The fellows will be recruited, renumerated, and equipped with appropriate tools to track the performance of Basic Health Care Provision Fund-supported health facilities across the nation”, he stated.

He noted that President Tinubu, who is the African Union Champion for Human Resources in Healthcare, places faith in young Nigerians, and expects that their engagement in this critical nation-building task, which also includes a daily monitoring and tracking of health reforms in their locations, will usher in a new era of world-class service provision to all Nigerians in every part of the country.

 

 

 

Shalina Lauds Major Distributors, Optimistic of Better Deals

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L-R: Mr Arun Raj, chief commercial officer, Shalina Healthcare West Africa; Alhaja Morufat Musa, MD, Ajipharm Biz-Link Limited; and Mrs Opeyemi Akinyele, MD, Shalina Healthcare Nigeria, at the Shalina Business Conference, held at Festival Hotel, Festac, Lagos.

In a bid to consolidate on existing mutual relationship as well as improve on the success stories of the organisation in the last financial year, a leading multinational company, Shalina Healthcare has celebrated its key distributors for their continued loyalty over the years.

Speaking in Lagos on Thursday at the meeting with the company’s business partners across the country to mark the end of the financial year with the theme: “Driving growth through strong business partnerships”, Arun Raj, the chief commercial officer, Shalina Healthcare West Africa, noted that the major distributors are the main force behind its business growth.

He further noted that through the efforts of the business partners, the company had become one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in Africa, adding that though the last business year had shown to be one of the most difficult for business in recent times, saying the company was able to weather the storm through the support and resilience of our major distributors.

“The last business year has shown to be a tough time, especially for the industry, with a leading brand of about sixty years in Nigeria leaving the country, but we are assuring everyone that, despite all economic issues, Shalina continues to believe Nigeria”, he said.

He continued, “We are committed to providing available and affordable quality health products. It will interest many people that the company had a 19 per cent volume growth in the last financial year. Though it may be below our expectations, considering the economic realities of the last year, it is a good development”.

Speaking in the same vein, Mrs Opeyemi Akinyele, managing director of Shalina Healthcare, Nigeria, said “The purpose of the event is to refresh, appraise and evaluate the last financial year for the company to forge ahead and make more impacts. “The last business year has been the survival of the fittest in the business world, but here we are today with successful stories”.

In his remarks, Folorunso Alaran, corporate marketing head of the company, appreciated the business partners who are the major distributors across the country, saying the success stories of the company can't be completed without them.

Meanwhile, in their various responses and feedback, some of the business partners commended the company for the job well done in the outgone financial year and also made recommendations and suggestions for the company to grow bigger and higher in the upcoming new financial year.

Alh. Rasheed Adetoro of The Will of God Multipurpose Ventures, Shaki, Oyo State and Tochukwu Agu of Atidam Pharmaceutical Limited, Lagos among other partners were unanimous in congratulating the company for a successful financial year saying “the reward for a good job is more good jobs”.

One of the high points of the event was the presentation of the “Distributor Excellence Awards” to its outstanding business partners.

WAPCP Holds 36th AGM & Scientific Symposium in The Gambia

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The Annual General Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists is billed to hold at the Kairaba Hotel Banjul, The Gambia from 15 to 17 April, 2024.

The theme of the conference, ‘Medicine Safety’ is to be delivered by two keynote speakers: Professor Pierre Gomez, The Gambian minister of higher education, and Dr Edit A. Annan from WHO Afro Office, Congo Brazaville.

Announcing the events marking this year’s meeting at a press conference, the Secretary General, WAPCP, Professor Ibrahim Adekunle Oreagba, disclosed that a total of Eighty one (81) students will be inducted as Fellows in various specialties offered by the College, having successfully passed the final examinations of the four-year Fellowship programme.

Other highlights of the opening ceremony include the investiture of two (2) Honorary Fellows, five (5) Foundation Fellows from three (3) Francophone countries (Benin, Senegal and Togo) and one (1) Lusophone country (Guinea Bissau); Nine (9) Elected Fellows from the West African region.

Among those elected as Fellows are the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Moji Adeyeye: Director General, Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Dr Obi Adigwe; Former Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Pharm. Farouk Salim; Immediate Past President of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas, Dr Teresa Pounds amongst others.

The current Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ms. Kachollom Shangti Daju, mni, and Dr Prosper Hiag (from Cameroun), current Vice-President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) are the recipients of the Honorary Fellow of the College.

An important event of the 4-day conference will be the academic presentation of conference abstracts by participants from the 5-member College: The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra-Leone.

The Annual General Meeting of the WAPCP is hosted by member-countries every year. The last time the meeting held in Banjul was in April 2018.

Medlab & Pharmaconex Unveil the Future of West African Healthcare

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Medlab West Africa, the region's leading medical laboratory event, returns to Lagos, Nigeria for a standalone event this April.  This year, it joins forces with the inaugural Pharmaconex West Africa, creating a powerful duo set to reshape the healthcare landscape and accelerate innovation across the region.

The event, scheduled for 22-24 April, 2024, at the Landmark Centre, offers a unique opportunity for industry professionals, thought leaders, and businesses to collaborate and drive positive change. This comes at a critical time, as recent reports highlight a concerning exodus of medical laboratory scientists from the region. Medlab West Africa aims to address this need by providing a dedicated platform focused on the evolving needs of the medical laboratory sector.

A hub for knowledge sharing and innovation

Medlab West Africa will boast a comprehensive programme featuring over 3,500 visitors, 150+ exhibitors from more than 30 countries, and six high-level CPD-accredited conferences.

Attendees can expect to: Deepen their knowledge through targeted sessions led by renowned experts; Explore the latest advancements in laboratory technology, diagnostics, and research; Network with a diverse range of stakeholders, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange; Address critical topics like laboratory management, haematology & blood transfusion, clinical microbiology & parasitology, and more.

According to Tom Coleman, senior exhibition director of Medlab Series, “The return of Medlab West Africa marks a significant step forward in our mission to empower the West African medical laboratory sector. By fostering collaboration, career development, and knowledge exchange, we are contributing to strengthening the region's healthcare infrastructure, improving patient outcomes, and creating a vibrant ecosystem where knowledge and expertise congregate.”

Pharma meets diagnostics: A powerful combination

The co-location with Pharmaconex West Africa adds another exciting dimension. This event, making its West African debut, brings a decade of global experience to the table. Pharmaconex West Africa connects over 2,000 pharmaceutical professionals with key decision-makers across the entire pharmaceutical value chain. This fosters collaboration and explores innovations in drug discovery, development, manufacturing, and supply chain management.

Mostapha Khalil, group exhibition director of Pharmaconex, also commented, “We are thrilled to bring Pharmaconex West Africa to Nigeria, offering a platform for collaboration and innovation within the region's rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry. By connecting key stakeholders across the value chain, we aim to accelerate medicine discovery, development, and manufacturing, ultimately improving access to life-saving medication for all.”

“By co-locating with Medlab West Africa, we are creating a unique opportunity for stakeholders across the entire healthcare ecosystem to come together. This will foster knowledge exchange and collaboration, and ultimately accelerate innovation that can benefit patients across West Africa.” He continued.

A unique synergy for improved healthcare

The combined force of Medlab West Africa and Pharmaconex West Africa creates a unique synergy. This collaboration promises to: Break down silos between different healthcare sectors; Facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation across the entire healthcare ecosystem; Address the challenges and opportunities facing West African healthcare; and ultimately, improve access to life-saving medication and better patient outcomes for all.

The organisers in a statement sent to pharmanewsonline said, “the event is a significant step towards a more vibrant and innovative healthcare landscape in West Africa.”

For registration kindly follow the link – Medlab West Africa: medlab-westafrica.com/ and Pharmaconex West Africa: pharmaconex-exhibition.com

World Health Day: Physician Seeks Effective Monitoring Of Health Projects

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General Physician, Dr Tunji Akintade, has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure concerted efforts are in place for proper monitoring of released funds for health projects.

Former Chairman, Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners (ANPMP), Akintade said this in an interview in Lagos ahead of World Health Day celebration on Sunday.

World Health Day, is celebrated annually on 7 April, marks the anniversary of the constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and its quest to improve populations’ access to essential health services.

This year’s theme: “My health, my right” reaffirms WHO’s stance that health is a right for all people, not a privilege.

The theme seeks to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water.

Akintade said that the government should ensure 75 per cent of released funds was spent on improving access to quality healthcare services rather than infrastructure.

“That’s the reason why the health sector is not growing rapidly and the impact of quality healthcare services is not felt by the majority of citizens,” he said.

Akintade advocated that health sector projects should be private-sector driven to achieve better outcomes and ensure that healthcare resources are effectively utilised.

“For instance, the federal government has approved N25 billion for facility financing and workforce incentives for states, asides that other funds had also been released under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“The question is, what was done with all these funds previously released for PHCs development.“If we don’t have effective monitoring in our system, we will keep repeating payments for a particular project.

“It is concerning that the huge amount of funds released by the federal government has not translated to access to quality healthcare services for citizens and tangible health development across states,” he added.

According to him, health insurance should be strengthened to reduce financial hardship faced by citizens due to out-of-pocket health spending.

Akintade urged the three levels of government to ensure that health budgetary allocation and release align with the 15 per cent Abuja Declaration.

He appealed to state governments to expedite actions to improve access to clean and safe water to mitigate the health risk associated with consumption of unsafe water, especially as rain and flooding are bringing waterborne diseases to communities.

He stressed that the government should deploy a holistic approach to ensure it fulfills its commitment to scale-up efforts to build and strengthen quality, people-centred, sustainable, and resilient health systems.

 

Maintaining a Healthy Pancreas to avoid Diabetes and Digestive Issues

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The pancreas plays a crucial role in the body’s digestive and endocrine systems.

1 Digestive function: It produces digestive enzymes (such as amylase, lipase, and proteases) that help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the small intestine to aid in digestion.

2.Endocrine function: It secretes hormones such as insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin helps lower blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells, while glucagon helps raise blood sugar levels by stimulating the liver to release stored glucose into the bloodstream.

3. Hormonal regulation: In addition to insulin and glucagon, the pancreas secretes other hormones such as somatostatin, which helps regulate digestion and nutrient absorption in the small intestine, and pancreatic polypeptide, which helps regulate pancreatic secretions and gastrointestinal function

4.Bicarbonate production: The pancreas secretes bicarbonate ions to neutralise the acidic chyme (partially digested food) that enters the small intestine from the stomach. This helps create an optimal pH environment for the action of digestive enzymes.

5. Regulation of digestive enzyme activation: The pancreas produces inactive forms of digestive enzymes, which are activated once they reach the small intestine. This prevents premature activation of enzymes within the pancreas itself, which could lead to damage to pancreatic tissue.

Overall, the pancreas is essential for maintaining proper digestion and regulating blood sugar levels in the body. It has multifaceted importance in maintaining overall health and well-being.

The pancreas can be damaged by various factors, leading to different conditions, such as:

  1. Pancreatitis: This is inflammation of the pancreas, which can be acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis is often caused by gallstones or excessive alcohol consumption, while chronic pancreatitis can result from long-term alcohol abuse, certain medications, or other underlying conditions. Pancreatitis can lead to severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and potentially life-threatening complications.
  2. Pancreatic cancer: Pancreatic cancer is a serious and often aggressive form of cancer that originates in the cells of the pancreas. It can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), and digestive issues. Early detection and treatment are crucial for improving outcomes in pancreatic cancer.
  3. Diabetes: Damage to the pancreatic cells that produce insulin can lead to diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes results from autoimmune destruction of these cells, while type 2 diabetes often involves a combination of insulin resistance and inadequate insulin production. Both types of diabetes can have serious health consequences if not properly managed.
  4. Pancreatic cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the pancreas. While many pancreatic cysts are benign and asymptomatic, some may become cancerous or cause complications such as infection or obstruction of the pancreatic ducts.

These are just a few examples of conditions that can damage the pancreas. Maintaining a healthy pancreas involves adopting lifestyle habits that support overall health and well-being. Here are some tips:

1.Healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, and high-fat foods, which can contribute to obesity and increase the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

2.Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for pancreatitis and can also contribute to pancreatic cancer. Limit alcohol intake to moderate levels or avoid it altogether.

3.Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing pancreatitis, diabetes, and pancreatic cancer. Aim to maintain a healthy weight through a combination of healthy eating and regular physical activity.

4.Exercise regularly: Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling, for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Exercise helps control weight, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

5.Quit smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for pancreatic cancer and can also worsen pancreatitis. If you smoke, seek support to quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

6.Manage stress: Chronic stress can negatively impact overall health, including pancreatic function. Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies you enjoy.

7.Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Adequate hydration supports digestion and overall health.

8.Regular health check-ups: Schedule regular health check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your overall health, including blood sugar levels and pancreatic function. Early detection and management of any potential issues can help maintain a healthy pancreas.

9.The use of high quality nutritional supplements (Continues next edition).

Mrs Chima Ejimofor is the lead partner of Infinite Health Consult, and is available for the purchase of FLP high quality nutritional supplements, health talks and wellness seminars. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria. Telephone/WhatsApp: 07033179632, email: infinitehealthconsult@gmail.com

Keep Hope Alive

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Brian Tracy- endorsed speaker and training consultant
George O. Emetuche

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Hellen Keller

My father once told me a folktale about a man who was banished to the evil forest because he had a protruded stomach. In their land, having a protruded stomach was a taboo. So, his people left him in the evil forest, to die. Consequently, the man sat on the ground in the forest; waiting on hope. He was in that mood when a poor man, who felt his world was coming to an end because of his financial condition, walked in. The man was finding it difficult to meet up with paying his bills, so he decided to end his life by hanging, and the best place to do that was the evil forest.

Unknown to the angry poor fellow, the man who had a protruded stomach was sitting beneath the tree he wanted to hang himself on. So, when he went up to commit suicide as planned, he heard a voice saying, ‘’Please mind my stomach, I don’t want to get hurt!’’

On hearing the voice, the poor man changed his mind and decided to go home. He concluded that if the man his community had abandoned in the evil forest to die could still be hopeful, there was no need for him to commit suicide. The best thing was to go home and continue to do his best and hope that, someday, everything would be alright.

In all, be hopeful

The business outlook is tough. Inflation rate in January 2024 was 29.9 per cent. At the time of this writing, 1 USD exchanges for N1700. This is a record low performance of the naira. The purchasing power of Nigerians is growing weaker and businesses are struggling to survive. Where do we go from here? Who will bell the cat? My simple answer is: in all, be hopeful.

Hope brings sunshine. Hope keeps you moving. Hope is a motivator. Of course, I agree with James Cameron who said, “Hope is not a strategy. Luck is not a factor. Fear is not an option.” Yes, this thought is true but I also believe that hope is the way to go because it is a great motivation for the entrepreneur, the sales professional and, indeed, for everyone. Hope is needed in the journey of life. Without hope, we lose hope! Where there is no hope, there is no tomorrow; there is no future.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

You must keep hoping and keep doing your best. There’s a slang in Nigeria that keeps folks going and that slang is, “e go better”; that is, “it will get better.” E go better keeps life going. It helps the individual to continue to push forward.

The mindset of e go better kills fear and energises the individual to keep fighting his battles. No matter the economic outlook, be happy and hopeful. My Igbo people say “oga adi mma” – it shall be well.

Life is a gift. Life is paramount. Once you have life in you, you are a success. Be hopeful. I know it’s tough out there. I know it’s not rosy. A lot is happening at the same time! Insecurity is unfortunately becoming the new normal. Vices of all sorts are on the increase. I think the devil himself will be shocked at the level of wanton killing in the land. The devil won’t be needing a ‘‘personal assistant’’ in Nigeria because some demented folks are doing his job perfectly!

When you hear all this bad news, what do you do? This question may seem easy but a lot of people may find it difficult to answer. Like I said, be happy and hopeful. It is in a great storm that you realise a good captain.

I have come to the conclusion that giving up to life challenges isn’t an option. When folks give up, they give in.

Keep keeping on

It is no longer news that adversity will come. This is why we are humans. The main topic of discussion is how you handled the adversity. Did you surrender to your challenges, or did you feed the hopeful you from within – to continue to move towards the brighter side?

Keep hope alive. As a sales professional, believe you can meet and exceed your target. Go to the field with the right mindset and keep doing your best. As a businessperson or professional, you may not get results the way you planned sometimes. Outcome of things may decide to be in the opposite side, but that’s still not the end of the world. I have seen difficult situations turn around for good because the person involved didn’t lose hope.

Hope is an amplifier. It makes the big picture even bigger! Vision, mission, goals, objectives and strategy may not work on their own if there’s no element of hope and action. You need to “invest hope” in the things you want to see. You need to take the right actions to achieve your goals. Hope is a necessity on the ladder of success.

Keep hope alive always!

Update: Register to be part of our 2024 Sales Certification Program. Basic is April to June. Advanced is July to August. The Selling Champion Consulting Limited is a Nigerian Council For Management Development Accredited Training and Consulting Firm. Enquires: 07060559429, 08186083133.

4.5b People not Covered by Essential Health Services- WHO Reveals

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WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that at least 4.5 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, are not fully covered by essential health services. Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director General, said this on Wednesday during an online media conference on global health issues.

Ghebreyesus said that two billion people face financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health spending.

“Outbreaks, disasters, conflict and climate change are all causing death and disability, hunger and psychological distress. Realising the right to health means passing and implementing laws to ensure that people can access the health services they need, where and when they need them, without financial hardship,” he said.

According to him, as of date, at least 140 countries recognise the right to health in their own constitutions. And yet, around the world, that right is often unrealised or under threat.

The WHO Chief said that there was the need to address the reasons people get sick and die.

“It means the people should get safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing and decent working and environmental conditions. And they also require freedom from discrimination,” he said.

Ghebreyesus said that 76 years since the founding of the organisation, WHO remained totally committed to the highest attainable standard of health, as a fundamental right for all people, everywhere. According to him, April 7 marks World Health Day, the 76th anniversary of the constitution of the organisation coming into force.

He said that this year’s theme is ‘My health, my right’, reaffirming what WHO has affirmed since its birth on the 7th of April, 1948, that health was a right for all people, not a luxury.

“In fact, the WHO constitution was the first instrument of international law to affirm that the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of all people, without distinction,” Ghebreyesus said.

He called on all citizens to demand for their health as a matter of their right.

Youths Innovate Homegrown Solutions for Health at Mega Designathon 2024

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Youths Innovate Homegrown Solutions for Health at Mega Designathon 2024
Facilitators and participants at the official opening of Mega Designathon 2024, at NIMR, Lagos, on Wednesday

Youths from different healthcare fields including Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Laboratory Science, and others have embarked on a mission to innovate homegrown solutions to address and prevent different health challenges in Nigeria, such as hypertension, stroke, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, liver cancer, and to drive HPV vaccine up. The initiative, tagged “Mega Designathon 2024”, is driven by Nigerian scientists in the Diaspora from Washington State University, and the University of North Carolina, in collaboration with researchers from the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).

Addressing the youths numbering up to 140 at the official opening of the programme, held at the NIMR Main Auditorium on Wednesday, Director General, NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Lawal Salako, justified the motive behind the innovative contest, saying it is to ensure acceptability of healthcare solutions by end-users. He explained how scientists had suffered setbacks in the past in convincing patients about the potency of their research outcomes, merely because the users were not familiar with the system that produce the result.

Thus, in resolving this challenge, he noted that the research team from Washington State University, the University of North Carolina, and NIMR, came up with an idea of developing local solutions to health issues, through those people who will use the products. For instance, Salako said since it was discovered that there is apathy to HIV testing among young people, they brought a group of youth together who invented HIV self-testing kits, which will prevent stigmatization and all sorts of issues associated with HIV screening. And it has been effectively embraced by most secondary school students and undergraduates.

For the 4-Day Bootcamp, which runs from 3-6 April, the NIMR DG said their focus will be on four projects namely, cervical cancer and HPV-related cancers, liver cancer and hepatitis, importance of HBV vaccination uptake among newborns, and call to action for our youths, our future leaders, to take the reins in the fight against HIV.

The four groups to deliver these concepts, he note, are : 4YBY Team, to be coordinated by Dr Ebenezer Adeoti and Dr Jane Okwuzu;  4C Team, to be led by Dr Abideen Salako and Shayna Muller;  4MB Team, to be guided by  Dr Abideen Salako and Shayna Muller; and Music 4 Health Team, to be coordinated by Chidi Okafor and Dr Ifedoal Olojo.

“Often times, when we come up with solutions that are designed only by researchers, the community don't accept it.

“The policy makers don't accept it because they don't know about it or because they are not part of it. So we have to start another round of advocacy to get them to understand why they need to use our research results. But the approach we have taken is now about those who will use the research results.

“The young people that we are bringing together here today are the ones that will be the end users of whatever research product that we are able to provide. And in this situation, like the one we have done in the past was about HIV self-test to improve detection and reduce the risk of HIV.  And we decided to take it to the young people because they are the ones in the heat of it”, he explained.

The Lead Investigator of the project, Dr Juliet Iwelunmor, Washington State University, buttressed the objective of the programme, which seeks to bring local creativity and invention to bare in tackling some Nigerian health problems. She asked a fundamental question concerning the lifestyle of Nigerians saying if Nigerians as a people eat local food, put on local clothing, and engage in indigenous occupations, then why do they seek foreign solutions to their health challenges? She said it was this question that triggered the establishment of Mega Designathon 2024, aimed at inventing local remedies for ailments in Nigeria.

Iwelunmor disclosed that they have about 40 teams of youths within the age range of 19 to 24, saddled with the responsibilities of producing innovative ideas to motivate mothers to vaccinate their newborns with HPV vaccines; ensure that no Nigerian youth is HIV positive; use music to drive awareness and prevention of hypertension and stroke; among others.

According to her “All our creativity is local. The food we eat or the clothes we wear, everything we do is local. It's our own.

“So how much less our health? We know what works best for us. So that's why we are gathered here. We are gathered here to say no solution is too small, no solution is too big. Some solutions may fail but some solutions will also succeed. The key is that you have to bring it.

“We are here asking our youth, asking our community-based organisations, asking just everybody that has a handle on health, that has experienced health, that wants to learn, to bring those solutions and together we will create what we know will work best for us.

“It’s not enough to go elsewhere and say let's imbibe other people's food, other people's culture, when we know what works for us. So that's why we are gathered, to ask people in general, what are those solutions for increasing HPV vaccination uptake? Do you know what will work best so that more girls, for example, are vaccinated? Please bring it”.

Prof, Oliver Ezechi, co-investigator of the project with NIMR, highlighted on the intricacies of the project, the selection criteria, how they were able to screen over 1000 applications to just only 140 participants for the first phase, thereafter, to select those who will proceed to the final stage in June.

We have over a thousand teams, he said, “What do you think should be the solution? For each of those, be it cervical HPV, be it stroke, we'll ask specific questions.  How do you think we can improve the uptake of human-contaminated virus in the community?  And then they'll come up with different solutions. How do you think we can improve stroke awareness, and people to realise any one signs of stroke? Then they young people came up with different responses to those questions, which we are here to refine”.

A few of the participants who spoke with Pharmanewsonline expressed their delight in participating in the Mega Designathon, with high hopes of gaining new insights and becoming becomes innovators in the nearest future.

In a chat with a Nursing student of Lead City University, Miss Precious Adesewa, she disclosed that she and her team are working on the promotion of HIV self-testing, among youths of age 19 to 24. “Since it’s a challenge for most young people to walk into a hospital for HIV testing, we aim at developing more acceptable means for HIV testing for this group of people” she noted.

Another participant, Miss Jennifer Ekuma, a Pharmacy intern expressed her excitement about the programme, while appreciating the organisers for the opportunity to partake in such elevating training. I hope to see myself occupy bigger stages and be a renounced change-maker in the nearest future, she stated.

Tuberculosis: Foundation Screens 760 Persons in Lagos

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Close up view of secondary tuberculosis in lungs

No fewer than 760 Lagos residents were on Wednesday screened for Tuberculosis (TB) free by the Archbishop John Kwao Aggey Foundation during a medical outreach. The outreach, which took place at Obalende, Lagos, was attended by youths and the elderly, in commemoration of the first indigenous Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, John Aggrey.

Aggey was born on 5 March, 1908, died on 14 March, 1972 at 68 years, noted for his selfless service, simplicity and humanitarian works, especially to the poor. The focus of the foundation is on youth empowerment, health, education and infrastructure.

During the outreach, participants were counseled, tested for sugar level, BP, hepatitis B and C, HIV, eye screening and provided with reading classes, while some with serious cases were referred to medical facilities.

The President of the foundation, Mr Albert Fadonougbo, said that Aggrey, during his life time, prioritised people’s health as social investment, especially for the less privileged.

Fadonougbo said that the outreach was targeted at the ordinary people to help them live better. He explained that the choice to conduct the outreach in Obalende was because the late cleric lived there.

He said, “I am happy for the success of the outreach because it afforded many residents the opportunity to attend. We saw transporters, market women, artisans and youths queue up for the exercise. The essence of the programme is to propagate what the late priest stood for and hope to extend the outreach to other areas in future.”
Mr Malachi Victor-Morira, the Vice President of the foundation, said late Aggrey’s missionary activities transcended Africa.

Victor-Morira in charge of the California, U.S. office of the foundation, added that the group would leverage on the cleric’s goodwill to expand the outreach beyond Lagos and Nigeria.

A beneficiary, Mr Abdukreem Kosoko, thanked the organisers for the free eye examination and the free glasses he received. Another beneficiary, Mrs Bisi Smith, screened for TB, also thanked the group, especially for the enlightenment on better ways to avoid and handle TB challenges.

The foundation partnered the state government for the provision of a mobile clinic with automated screening machine and medical team that attended to people.

WHO Unveils Prototype Digital Health Promoter

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a digital health promoter prototype with enhanced empathetic response, powered by generative Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The world body, which announced the launch in a statement, added that the move was in preparation of the 2024 World Health Day (WHD), annually marked on April 7 to draw attention to specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of the global observance day for this year is “My Health, My Right.”

The organisation stated that the Smart AI Resource Assistant known as S.A.R.A.H or Sarah, would provide information across major health topics, including healthy habits and mental health, to help people to optimise their health and well-being.

It added that the digital health promoter would also provide additional tool for people to realise their rights to health wherever they are, engaging users 24 hours a day in eight languages on multiple health topics, on any device.

“Sarah has the ability to support people in developing better understanding of risk factors for some of the leading causes of death in the world, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. It can help people access up-to-date information on quitting tobacco, being active, eating healthy diet, and de-stressing, among other things.”

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, who said that “the future of health is digital”, reiterated the global body’s resolve to support countries to harness the power of digital technologies for health.

He said, “S.A.R.A.H. gives us a glimpse of how Artificial Intelligence could be used in future to improve access to health information in a more interactive way. I call on the research community to help us continue to explore how this technology could narrow inequities and help people access up-to-date, reliable health information.”

According to him, S.A.R.A.H. is powered by generative AI, rather than pre-set algorithm or script, helping to provide more accurate responses in real-time.

NAN

Stakeholders Chart Path to Revitalising Nigeria’s Pharma Manufacturing Industry

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As St Racheal's Pharma Marks 6th Anniversary

R-L: Pharm.(Mrs)Bukky George, founder,HealthPlus Pharmacy;Dr Chinyere Almona,  DG, The Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry(LCCI);Pharm. Adebayo Afon, MD, Afonchies Pharmacy;Pharm. Akinjide Adeosun,chairman/CEO, St.Racheal’s Pharma & his Wife, Pharm.(Mrs) Olubamiwo Adeosun;Pharm.Adewale Oladigbolu, national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); and Miss Adaeze  Karnley, supervisor,Afonchies Pharmacy at the Media Event commemorating St Racheal's Pharma @ 6,recently in Lagos, Nigeria.

Worried by the myriads of obstacles impeding the Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing industry from attaining drug security as well as contributing its rightful quota to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation, industry players have drawn the blue print to recovery while advancing the growth of the subsector to an enviable height.

The stakeholders who converged at the 6th Anniversary of St. Racheal’s Pharma at the weekend highlighted the several challenges of Nigerian manufacturers, especially those in the pharma industry, proffering solutions including expansion of financial investment in the industry by the government, holistic review of existing policies, laws and regulations, eradication of multiple taxation, provision of grants to local manufacturers, creation of conducive environment for business, among other things.

Speaking to the theme of the event, “Manufacturing renaissance: The panacea for drug security in Nigeria”, the keynote speaker, Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Chinyere Almona said that Nigeria's manufacturing sector is at a crossroads, facing both formidable challenges and untapped potentials. She highlighted some of the bottlenecks of manufacturers that need urgent resolution to include persistent high inflation, multiple taxation, subdued consumer demand, supply chain disruptions, economic hardships exacerbated by loan burdens and regulatory pressures and escalating production costs.

Dr Almona however expressed optimism in the potentials of the manufacturing subsector with an estimated 2 trillion naira nominal size to recover speedily, if the Federal Government and policy makers would be willing to implement the proffered panacea by industry leaders.

To achieve drug security in the country, she said it requires a multifaceted approach which include stakeholders advocate for policy measures that is aimed at stimulating investment, enhancing infrastructure, and fostering a conducive business environment.

“A major initiative is the establishment of the Renewable Infrastructure Development Fund, a comprehensive initiative designed to enhance infrastructure and enhancements across the sector.

“We also need to strengthen the value chain linkages to primary sectors, in particular linkages between the agro-aligned and primary sectors to ensure availability of raw material for manufacturing.

“There's a recent $240 million investment secured by the Federal Government from a Brazilian pharmaceutical for manufacturing of generic pharmaceuticals. It will be welcoming if the Federal Government can distribute this fund evenly, then we'll see that infrastructure will be apparently available, and we will be able to do business normally”, Dr Almona said.

Reflecting on the journey of St Racheal’s Pharma in the last six years, CEO St. Racheal’s Pharma, Pharm. Akinjide Adeosun, reminisced on the challenges encountered along the way, including regulatory hurdles, supply chain disruptions, and economic uncertainties. Amidst these challenges, he said there was a shared sense of optimism and determination to overcome obstacles and drive positive change.

Adeosun seized the opportunity of the event to celebrate achievements and milestones within the pharmaceutical sector. He acknowledged the strides made in advancing cooperative excellence and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration.

He also called for greater government support and investment in the pharmaceutical sector, emphasizing the need for long-term financing mechanisms and regulatory reforms to stimulate growth and foster a conducive business environment.

Looking ahead, he underscored the importance of collective action and collaboration in addressing pressing issues facing the manufacturing sector, particularly in the realm of drug security.

Highlighting the critical role of manufacturing in meeting the country's pharmaceutical needs, Adeosun called for concerted efforts to bolster local production capabilities and enhance supply chain resilience.

The Founder of Afon Chains, Pharm.Adebayo Afon who spoke on wholesale and retail pharmacy perceptive highlighted the need for African countries to break free from historical patterns of reliance on raw material exports. Instead, he called for a transition towards value-added manufacturing processes, akin to the trajectories observed in India, the United States, China, and Taiwan.

He also noted the need for increased investment to bolster drug security. As the rise in imports of pharmaceutical products persists, particularly in light of recent supply chain challenges, has raised concerns about Nigeria's self-sufficiency in meeting healthcare needs.

In her contribution, CEO of HeathPlus Pharmacy, Pharm. (Mrs) Bukky George, underscored the importance of creating a conducive environment for local manufacturing businesses to thrive, including addressing regulatory bottlenecks and providing support for capacity-building initiatives.

She highlighted the broader issue of Nigeria's over-reliance on imported pharmaceutical products, emphasising the need to reverse this trend by promoting domestic manufacturing.

George noted the significant hurdles faced by pharmacists and healthcare practitioners in sourcing essential medications, particularly due to the limited availability of locally manufactured drugs. George said the scarcity has forced practitioners to navigate cumbersome supply chains, leading to increased stress and logistical challenges in accessing medicines.

Group Advocates Decriminalisation of Suicide in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Suicide Advocacy Group has called for the decriminalisation of suicide to advance suicide prevention and control in Nigeria.

Prof. Taiwo Sheikh, a consultant psychiatrist stated at the maiden virtual meeting of the group in Lagos.

Sheikh, also a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said that the major barrier to suicide prevention and control was the law that criminalises attempted suicide.

He lamented that Nigeria was among the 21 countries in the world where suicide was still criminalised, as other countries had decriminalised it.

According to him, the law that criminalises suicide in Nigeria came as a result of the British colonisation, stressing the need to review and change of the law.

He explained that, The law, which did not address the social determinants of suicide, serves as a barrier to both help seeking and data generation.

“Nigerian suicide rates was 6.9 per 100,000 as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), using 2019 figures.”

He explained that across a country of 218 million people, this reported suicide rate equates to around 15,000 people dying by suicide each year.

According to him, this also equates to 300,000 people attempting to end their life annually (allowing for ratio of 20 people to each death by suicide).

It’s important to note that the data on suicides in Nigeria reported by WHO, has been provided a data quality/reliability score of 4, which is the lowest data rating used.

“What this means practically, is that the actual suicide rate in Nigeria could be higher.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people and it’s most committed by low and middle income countries, which Nigeria is one of them,” Sheikh said.

Speaking, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mohammed T. Mohammed, said that suicide was actually a criminal offence in both the Customary Law and Islamic Law obtainable in Nigeria.

According to him, in Nigeria, virtually every law has certain position that criminalises suicide and attempted suicide, emphasising that it was the State laws that regulates suicide and attempted suicide.

“In Nigeria, it is a criminal offence for anybody to attempt suicide or robbery.

“However, if a person successfully commits suicide; there won’t be anybody to be punished. But, if a person attempted suicide, he/she will be punished.

“And even with the punishments attached to robbery and attempted suicide in Nigeria, such offences are still on the increase, hence the need for more advocacy and education so that the public will be well informed because what people attempting suicide need is help,” Mohammed said.

Prof. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, a Lawyer, said that the way to go was to ensure enforcement of the National Health Law.

Onyemelukwe, who emphasised the need to engage government at the earliest stage in the fight for decriminalisation of suicide, said that National level engagement was key to its success.

According to her, suicide is a health issue for many people, saying that if one is depressed; it can lead to suicide.

Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, a consultant psychiatrist, said suicide was avoidable, advising that people should pay attention to everything possibly needed to prevent it.

Abdulmalik, also the founder, Asido Foundation, an NGO, identified the strategic measures needed to prevent suicide to include early identification and intervention, reduce access to means, public awareness campaigns and responsible media reportage of suicide cases, among others.

 

 

Economic Hardship: Psychiatrist Urges Nigerians on Social Support

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Economic Hardship: Psychiatrist Urges Nigerians on Social Support

 

A Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan, Olayinka Omigbodun, has urged Nigerians to see their neighbours as their brothers who deserve support, care and attention. This according to her, would help in confronting psychosocial disabilities.

Noting that the current economic hardship is telling on people in different ways, Prof. Omigbodun, enjoined the people to give a little more support to one another, noting that efforts like that will go a long way in tackling psychosocial disabilities in many people.

Omigbodun, who is the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) and Principal Investigator, SUCCEED Africa Project, gave the advice shortly after the presentation of a stage play to engage community and local stakeholders on some of the findings from the project.

SUCCEED stands for Support Comprehensive Care for persons with Psychosocial Disabilities.

She disclosed that many people have become suddenly irrational and developed changed behavioural pattern and attitude at home and in the workplace due to hardship, but that with little support and encouragement from people nearby, such psychosocial disabilities could be permanently addressed.

She said: “You know everybody has a breaking point. So what I want us to see as Nigerians is that we should be one another’s keeper. These are difficult times, if you have a little bit more, look for somebody to support, that’s what I have been trying to practice. You can’t be living in your house and eating and people are hungry, so look for people to support.”

“And then, if people are aggressive or they are irritable, find out. Like in the office, maybe they don’t have money to go home, maybe they don’t have food to eat, or they don’t know where the next meal is coming from. So I think for now we need to support one another, we need to be patient more than ever before because people are going through difficult times,” Omigbodun appealed.

She explained that the focus of the Succeed Nigeria Project is carrying out what the needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities are and the best ways to intervene and improve their lives, noting that through co-production, the project seeks to develop and design a comprehensive package of care that will help people with psychosocial disabilities.

Omigbodun disclosed that the study is called ‘Succeed Africa’ funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom government, with four study countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and coordinating partner in the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, in the United Kingdom, saying SUCCEED means Support Comprehensive Care for Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities.

She stated: “One of the things central to this programme is what we call co-production. We are trying to design a comprehensive package of care that will help people with psychosocial disabilities, that is, the people with lived experience of psychosis and severe mental illness for low and middle income countries. What co-production means is that right from the onset, working with us, partners’ equal partners.”

“We have people who have experienced psychosis themselves, people who have been managed for psychosis, and people who are on medication and receiving care. So, we are working as partners to develop this comprehensive programme for people with lived experience, and that’s the best way I discovered because I have been in psychiatrist since 1987,” the professor revealed.

Omigbodun explained that her eyes have been opened to what is called co-production in the last four years since the project started.

She added that the grant has three main arms, including the research arm, capacity building arm and communication and research optics arm.

PCN Inducts 85 ABU Pharmacy Graduates

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The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, recently graduated 85 new pharmacists, with Sekinat Yusuf emerging overall best graduating student.

The graduands were all inducted into the pharmacy profession by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), at the 2021/2022 Oath-taking and Induction Ceremony, held on 6 February, 2024 within the campus premises.

Speaking shortly before he led the graduands on the oath-taking exercise, the Registrar, PCN, Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed, charged them to be ethical in all they would be doing, urging them to continuously work for the advancement of the healthcare sector.

In his remarks at the event, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Kabiru Bala, disclosed that ABU had been a beacon of knowledge, enlightenment, and progress since its establishment, adding that the institution had produced leaders, innovators, and change-makers who had made significant contributions to various fields.

He said the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, being an integral part of the university, had a responsibility of upholding the highest standards of excellence and ethics in the field of pharmacy.

Bala, who was represented by the Deputy Vic- Chancellor, Prof. Ahmed Doko Ibrahim, stated that amidst a rapidly evolving world, the role of pharmacists had become increasingly crucial. He noted that the healthcare landscape was transforming, presenting various challenges and opportunities. He therefore urged the graduands to play an active role, while proving to be true custodians of public health.

The VC said: “As you step into the professional realm, remember that you are not merely dispensers of medicines but custodians of public health. Your decisions and actions will impact lives, and I implore you to approach your responsibilities with the utmost integrity, compassion, and competence.

“I encourage you to embrace a lifelong commitment to learning. The pharmaceutical field is dynamic, and staying abreast of advancements is essential. Be proactive in seeking new knowledge, engage in continuous professional development, and contribute to the advancement of your field.”

Also speaking at the ceremony, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prof. Aliyu Muhammad Musa, told the inductees that while they had learnt so much in the university, there was still so much more to be learnt. He therefore urged them to always try to update their knowledge.

“I implore you to uphold the highest ethical standards in your practice. Be honest, hardworking, dedicated, and confident in your abilities. Show humility and respect towards your seniors, and always conduct yourselves with integrity and professionalism.

“I encourage you to be good ambassadors of this esteemed institution. Remember your alma mata and come to the aid and assistance of the faculty and the university whenever you can, as individuals or as a group,” the dean said.

The high point of the event was the presentation of various categories of awards of excellence to some of the graduands. The awards included the PCN Best Graduating Student/Overall Best Graduating Student award; the Marcus Niyi Oyeyipo Foundation (MNOF) cash award; and the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) award for the best graduating student in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy.

UCH’s Doctor, 2 Others Emerge Winners of Shalina Contest

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L-R: Folorunso Alaran, head of corporate marketing and key accounts, Shalina Healthcare; Arun Raj, chief commercial officer/pharma head, West Africa, Shalina Healthcare; Dr Maryam Abdullahi, second runner up; Dr Lere Oluwadare, grand winner; Dr Josephine Onumaku, first runner up; and Mrs Opeyemi Akinyele, MD, Shalina Healthcare, Nigeria at the Grand Finale of Shalina Rising Stars Award Season 3 in Lagos recently

The trio of Dr Lere Oluwadare of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan; Dr Josephine Onumaku of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State; and Dr Maryam Abdullahi of Amina Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State, have emerged the Grand Prize Winner, First Runner Up, and Second Runner Up of the keenly contested Shalina Rising Star Awards Contest, winning a cash prizes of one million naira, five hundred thousand naira and three hundred thousand naira respectively.

Speaking at the third edition of the awards, which is a major platform for medical professionals to showcase their clinical talents, held in Lagos recently at the NECA House, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Dr Oluwadare appreciated Shalina for coming up with the programme, adding that the concept is highly encouraging and a morale booster.

In his speech at the event, the Head of Corporate Marketing, Shalina Healthcare Limited, Folorunso Alaran said, “Shalina Rising Stars Award, which is a major platform for medical professionals to showcase their clinical talents has come a long way to promote intellectual development in the medical profession.”

According to him; “The company has gone from mere selling of its products to creating platforms for learning and capacity building in the industry. The pan-Nigeria event for resident doctors and young fellows is one of its kind in the country.”

Expatiating on the process of the contest, Alaran said: “the initial stage of season 3 which kicked off at the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, Niger State on 6 December, 2023 took the organising team to 16 Nigerian medical institutions across the six geopolitical zones and ended on 7 March, 2024, at the National Orthopedic Hospital Igbobi, Lagos, where a total number of 175 dissertations were presented at the end of the qualifiers.

“One winner emerged from each institution qualifier respectively. The winners are here today for the Grand Finale.”

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Managing Director of Shalina Healthcare, Nigeria, Mrs Opeyemi Akinyele, congratulated the participants for making it to the final stage saying; ”being the overall winners in your respective institutions is a great achievement and we wish you continue to do what makes you stand out and brings you to this stage.”

In the same vein, Arun Raj, chief commercial officer of Shalina Healthcare West Africa, commended all the participants thus: “You are here because you are the best in the country.”

The event which had the trio of Prof. Adamu Samalia of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Dr Afiong Oku of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar; and Prof. Stephen Ikuerowo of Lagos State University College of Medicine as members of the panel of assessors also had a good number of distinguished personalities in the medical profession in attendance.

The personalities include Dr Adegbenga Ademolu, the representative of the chief medical director of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof Adetokunbo B. Fabanwo and Dr Samuel Adebayo, the national secretary, National Guild of Medical Directors, Nigeria, among many others.

Authentic Transformational Leaders (2)

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Habits of Highly Productive Transformation Leaders
Prof. Lere Baale

(Continued from last edition)

 

  1. Positive energy

Authentic transformational leaders radiate positive energy and enthusiasm, igniting team motivation and commitment. Their optimism and resilience in facing challenges encourage others to persevere and innovate. These leaders empower their followers to overcome obstacles and confidently embrace change by fostering a culture of hope and possibility.

Positive energy is an integral and influential characteristic of authentic transformational leadership. Leaders who radiate positive energy can inspire, motivate, and uplift their team members, creating an environment where individuals are energised and enthusiastic about their work and the organisation’s shared vision.

Leaders who exude positive energy create an atmosphere of optimism and resilience, which can significantly impact the morale and productivity of their teams. Maintaining an optimistic outlook and a can-do attitude instils confidence and a sense of purpose in their team members, especially during challenging times.

Moreover, leaders who embody positive energy can influence the organisation’s overall culture, fostering a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Their enthusiasm and passion for their work can be contagious, encouraging others to approach their tasks similarly.

In the context of transformational leadership, positive energy catalyses change and growth. Leaders who maintain a positive and encouraging demeanour can help their team members navigate through transitions, overcome obstacles, and embrace new opportunities with resilience and determination.

Positive energy is a crucial characteristic of authentic transformational leadership, as it elevates the team’s spirit and empowers individuals to achieve their full potential and contribute to the organisation’s collective success.

 

  1. Vision

Vision is a critical and fundamental characteristic of authentic transformational leadership. Leaders with a compelling and forward-thinking vision can inspire and mobilise their teams toward meaningful change and growth.

A clear and articulate vision serves as a guiding force, aligning the team’s efforts toward a common goal and providing a sense of purpose and direction. Transformational leaders can communicate their vision effectively, painting a powerful and inspiring picture of the future they envision for the organisation.

 

Visionary leaders also demonstrate a capacity for strategic thinking and long-term planning. They can anticipate opportunities and challenges and inspire others to embrace innovation and change to realise the shared vision.

Moreover, a strong vision empowers leaders to foster a culture of creativity, resilience, and continuous improvement within their teams. By presenting a compelling vision for the future, transformational leaders stimulate motivation, engagement, and a shared commitment to achieving the organisation’s goals.

In transformational leadership, a well-defined vision provides the framework for driving positive change, empowering leaders to motivate their teams and guiding them through the challenges and opportunities associated with transformation.

Vision is an integral characteristic of authentic transformational leadership, as it catalyses change, inspiring individuals to collaborate, innovate, and strive for excellence in pursuit of a shared and compelling future.

 

  1. Relationship management

Successful leaders in this model excel in building and nurturing relationships. They create an environment where individuals feel valued, supported, and empowered. Through mentorship, coaching, and a genuine interest in the well-being of others, they cultivate strong, interconnected teams that are united in their pursuit of collective goals.

Relationship management is a crucial aspect of authentic transformational leadership. Leaders who excel in this area prioritise the development of solid and meaningful connections with their team members, colleagues, and stakeholders.

Effective relationship management involves building trust, demonstrating empathy, and fostering open and honest communication. Leaders who invest in cultivating positive and supportive relationships create a sense of belonging and loyalty within their teams, which can significantly impact motivation, collaboration, and overall performance.

Transformational leaders understand the importance of each individual within the organisation and seek to create an inclusive and supportive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. By building solid relationships, leaders can better understand the needs and aspirations of their team members, which in turn allows them to provide support, guidance, and opportunities for growth.

Furthermore, leaders who prioritise relationship management are better equipped to navigate through periods of change and transformation. By maintaining solid and transparent connections with their teams, leaders can effectively communicate the rationale behind organisational changes, address concerns, and inspire a shared commitment to the transformational journey.

In conclusion, relationship management is an integral characteristic of authentic transformational leadership, as it fosters a sense of community, trust, and collaboration within the organisation, thereby supporting the successful implementation of change and growth initiatives.

 

Authentic transformational leadership embodies self-awareness, empathy, integrity, effective communication, positive energy, vision, and adept relationship management. By incorporating these qualities, leaders inspire their teams to reach new heights of performance, foster a culture of trust and collaboration, and drive meaningful, sustainable change within their organisations.

NAIP Commends Katchey Lab on Safety, Essential Services to Nigerians

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L-R:NAIP National Secretary, Pharm. Joy Adesina; NAIP Chairman, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu; CEO, Katchey Laboratory, Mrs Kate Isa; former National Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi and Pharm. Sola Adeniola during NAIP tour of the Katchey Laboratory facility in Lagos

 

The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) has commended the management of Katchey Laboratory Limited for the crucial role the organisation is playing not just for the pharmaceutical industry but the entire country by rendering efficient services to ensure that what Nigerians consume is safe.

The National Chairman of the association, pharm. Ken Onuegbu made the commendation on Thursday when he led some executive members of the association, including a former National Chairman, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi, on a tour of the Katchey laboratory facility.

The association used the tour to present an Excellent Quality Award to the company in recognition of its exceptional service it’s rendering to the pharma industry and the country at large.

In his remarks, Pharm. Onuegbu noted that after the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that represents the government, Katchey Laboratory is about the only laboratory in the country that is rendering such essential service.

The NAIP Chairman stated that the association considered the organisation as its operating partner, adding that the association is proud to be identified with the company.

“Katchey Laboratory has been doing wonderful work not just for the pharma industry but for Nigeria as a whole. The name has been ringing a bell. The company has been a symbol of encouragement.

Outside the government, it is Katchey Laboratory that has been doing the wonderful job to ensure that Nigeria doesn’t consume poisonous food or drug. NAIP is proud to be associated with Katchey Laboratory”, Pharm. Ken said.

While commending NAIP for the big role it has been playing towards the advancement of the nation’s pharmaceutical industry and health sector as a whole, by making sure that quality drugs are available to Nigerians, the Founder and CEO, Katchey Laboratory Limited, Mrs Kate Isa, urged the association to continue in the path they are tolling.

“On behalf of Katchey laboratory, I am delighted to receive the award. Katchey Laboratory is delighted to be part of the NAIP family. This award is a motivation for us and we will continue to do what we are doing and keep raising the bar in quality and quantity for our country to advance. We can’t go anywhere without science, research & development, engineering among others. Science is the engine of development. So we will not relent”, Mrs Isa said.

Katchey Laboratories is an independent analytical laboratory complex that provides testing, certification and inspections services to customers, from raw materials testing, through research and development and product development phases, to finished products presented for quality assurance and certification before release to the public.

The organisation serves industries which include Agricultural & Agrobusiness, Food & Beverage, Forensic, Government, Medical Diagnostic, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutical, Research among others.

Sa’ad Abdullahi is our Dean of the Month

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Dr Sa’ad Toyin Abdullahi is the current acting dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ilorin,  Kwara State. He specialises in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry and currently has over 30 publications in reputable peer-reviewed local and international journals to his credit. His teaching and research interests predominantly focus on pharmaceutical analysis, clinical pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics and pharmacometrics.

Born on 30 July, 1976, Abdullahi hails from Ilorin-West Local Government Area of Kwara State. He had his elementary education at Aliyu Makama LGA Primary School, Barnawa, Kaduna, Kaduna State, from 1981 to 1986. He proceeded to Government Secondary School, Minna, Niger State, from 1986 to 1991.

He was admitted into Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in 1994 and graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 2001. Thereafter, he had his mandatory internship training with Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, at the Malumfashi Unit in Katsina State, between 2001 and 2002. He served as an NYSC pharmacist, at General Hospital, Geidam, Yobe State, between October 2002 and September 2003.

Abdullahi obtained his master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, from Ahmadu Bello University, in 2010 and then proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria in 2013 for his PhD. He eventually bagged his PhD in November 2017.

The acting dean joined the University of Ilorin in July, 2012. Prior to then, he had worked as a locum pharmacist at Y-Fab Pharmacy, Kaduna, from 2003 to 2004; after which he joined Worldwide Commercial Ventures Limited (WWCVL), now known as Worldwide Healthcare, as pharmaceutical representative. He rose to the position of zonal manager before resigning to join University of Ilorin as Lecturer II in July, 2012. He was promoted to the rank of Reader in 2021.

Until he became the dean of the faculty, Abdullahi had held several administrative positions in the university. He was the acting head, Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, from 2017 to 2022. He was a two-term departmental examination officer, from 2012 to 2017, and 2020 to 2022. He has also served in several committees. He was a member of the university SERVICOM Committee, from 2016 to 2022; member, Campus Security Committee, from 2017 to 2022; member, Faculty Junior Staff Appointments & Promotions Committee, 2018 to date; member, Faculty Senior Staff Appointments and Promotions Committee, from 2022 to date. He has also been a member of the university Senate since 2017.

A professional to the core, Abdullahi is a member of the Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA), Unilorin Chapter. He was the secretary of the association, from 2017 to 2020. He also served as the chairman, from 2020 to 2022. He is a registered pharmacist with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), as well as member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). He is also a member of the Statistics and Pharmacometrics Interest Group, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the PSN Kwara Education Committee (since 2020).

Abdullahi also served in various capacities as an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad hoc staff, in the 2019 and 2023 general elections. These include being the returning officer for the Ilorin East/Ilorin South Federal House of Representatives Constituency.

The acting dean has received many awards and grants, including the Senate Research Grant and TETfund Institution Based Research Grant. He holds a certificate in Continuous Professional Development Course in Meta-Analysis from Karolinska Institutet, the Department of Medicine, Solna, Stockholm, Sweden (2016); as well as the John Maxwell Special Leadership Course certificate (2023).

Dr Abdullahi is happily married to Mrs Mulikat Abdullahi, a medical laboratory scientist, and the marriage is blessed with children.

 Beetroot, the Blood Turnip

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Beet (Beta vulgaris) is a root vegetable plant, which belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. Beetroot is the taproot portion of a beet plant. Though not an indigenous plant, the plant is commonly grown in Jos, Northern Nigeria. Common names for the beet include: beetroot, chard, European sugar beet, red garden beet, Harvard beet, blood turnip, table beet, garden beet, red beet, dinner beet, golden beet, maangelwurzel, mangel and spinach beet. Beet is called gwoza in hausa, biiti in Igbo, and oyin in Yoruba.

Constituents

Beetroot contains protein, fat, carbohydrate and fibre. Other nutrients in beetroot are iron, sodium, folate, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, anthocyanins such as betacyanin, ferric acid, ruin, kaempferol and glutamine.

Preparations

Beetroot may be eaten raw, boiled, roasted or infused. It may be blended and taken as smoothie or juice. It is sometimes used as a component of salad and some fruit drinks.

Pharmacological actions and medicinal uses:

Beetroot is rich in protective antioxidants. It may have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood pressure lowering and weight fighting properties. It may improve exercise performance and digestive health, support energy levels, brain health and reaction time. It may protect the gut and relieve symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Betacyanin, the powerful plant pigment that gives beetroot its rich colour, is also thought to help  suppress the development of some types of cancer, including bladder cancer.

Some research suggest that betalains, the family of natural colour pigments that betacyanin belongs to, may help reduce the symptoms and markers of inflammation, thus potentially relieving discomfort of inflamed joints, such as knees.

Beetroot contains nitrates which help to improve blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels, which potentially lowers blood pressure. Studies suggest that nitrate-rich foods, like beetroot, may also help in heart attack survival.

Studies suggest that when athletes add beetroot juice to their regime, it may support exercise endurance and improve performance. When muscles are in a resting state after exercise, the nitrates in beetroot help to bring more oxygen to the muscle cells promoting an efficient recovery.

Beetroots are rich in fibre, which support bowel function, helps promote a healthy environment in the gut, and contain betawains which help increase the production of short chain fatty acids by the beneficial bacteria that reside in the gut. These SCFAs are linked with a number of positive effects on health.

Glutamine, a nutrient in beetroot, is an amino acid essential to the maintenance of our gut lining; glutamine may play a role in protecting the gut lining from injury and stress.

A study examining the effects of beetroot juice demonstrated improvements in blood flow to the thumb and forearm as well as a reduction in blood pressure and inflammation. These actions are useful in relieving the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon which include pain, numbness and pins and needles.

Adverse effects

Eating beetroot may induce beeturia, a red or pink colour in the urine or stool. This condition is harmless, though. Beetroot also contains high levels of oxalate, which is implicated in the formation of nephroliths (kidney stones). So it is considered to be a health concern in patients predisposed to kidney dysfunction.

Economic uses and potentials

Beet costs about ₦300 per bulb, ₦1,700.00per kg, 750/500g. Nitrate-rich beetroot supplements, prepared through methods such as freeze-drying to prolong shelf life and maintain biological activity, have recently entered the market. Among them, pseudoplastic beetroot gels and beetroot chips are the most recently formulated functional forms of beetroot supplements. Beetroot has great opportunities in agriculture, pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries, through cultivation, transportation, processing and sales.

References

Williams J. (2023). Top 10 health benefits of Beetroot. Goodfood. Retrieved on January 30, 2024 from https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-beetroot

By Pharm. Ngozika Okoye MSc, MPH, FPCPharm

(Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency)

Email: ngozikaokoye@yahoo.com

Adelusi-Adeluyi to Receive Honorary Doctor of Law Degree

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Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi

In recognition of his numerous contributions in support of the less privileged in the society, and to the development of Ekiti State University, the Governing Council and Senate of Ekiti State University have announced their plans to confer an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree (Honoris Causa) on Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, president, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) on 4 April, 2024.

The conferment of the honorary degree, which will be an additional feather to the caps of Prince  Adelusi-Adeluyi, who is a renowned a pharmacist, lawyer, entrepreneur, strategist and philanthropist, to mention but a few, is scheduled to hold during the forthcoming Convocation ceremony of the university, at the University’s Main Auditorium, the Registrar and Secretary to the Council, Ife Oluwole has said.

Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi is the executive chairman of Juli Plc, the first indigenously owned/promoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Adelusi-Adeluyi has served in various positions in both the public and private sectors and is a leader extraordinaire.

His study of Pharmacy at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), didn’t deter him from studying Law and graduating as the overall best student from the Nigerian Law School at the age of 47.

Since he embraced law practice, he has taken up several pro bono cases to support prisoners and the underprivileged in the society, through his legal firm as senior partner of Adelusi-Adeluyi & Co. The legal firm specialises in providing free legal aid to prisoners and other underprivileged persons.

In one of his interviews with pressmen, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi said “I do pro bono legal practice only. It’s called pro bono publico – that is, for the good of the public.

“It involves getting people in the prisons freed, especially those who have been there for 10 years and longer and who have not had any opportunity of legal representation. They probably have not had court attendance for those ten years and I have learnt a lot. That gives me humility and makes me give gratitude to God to be able to help in such a small way.

“If you see humanity suffer so needlessly at that level, then who are you to say, “God, I asked for this and you didn’t give me that”? Those people suffering are also part of humanity.”

BSUTH Establishes IVF Unit to Assist Women with Infertility Issues

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An Illustration of IVF procedures. Image Source : DokiLink

Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), has established an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) unit, an assisted reproductive procedure for women battling with infertility. Dr Stephen Hwande, Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, made the disclosure to newsmen on Wednesday in Makurdi.

He said that the establishment of the unit was to make the procedure accessible to women with challenge of infertility, noting that only few public hospitals in Nigeria offer IVF services due to the high cost.

“You may not find up to five teaching hospitals that are involved in IVF in Nigeria. So with this, BSUTH is being put on the map of teaching hospitals that are involved in IVF,” he said.

Hwande said that 25 women with issue of infertility had been scheduled for IVF services in the hospital between April and May, 2024.

“They are the hospital’s first batch of women to access IVF services and we are going to run that at the Muhammadu Buhari annex of the hospital. Gov. Hyacinth Alia has directed that the services should be subsidised for these women in this first batch. They are already in process and it will be completed between April and first week of May. These women will go through assisted reproduction,” Hwande said.

The CMD also appreciated Alia for approving the recruitment of 400 new staff for the hospital, stating that it was in fulfilment of his campaign promises of taking the youths off the streets in order to reduce unemployment.

“Among the new employees are 60 medical doctors, 140 nurses as well as other cadre of staff that will man some critical areas of need at the teaching hospital,” he said.

He further said that among the new doctors were were Neurosurgeons, Plastic surgeons and Pediatric surgeons.

NAN

WAPCP to Induct First Francophone, Lusophone Fellows

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– As college president visits Pharmanews

WAPCP to Induct First Francophone, Lusophone Fellows
L-R: Secretary General, West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba; Pharmanews Publisher, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi and President WAPCP, Alhaji Murtada Sesay during the college president courtesy visit to Pharmanews Publisher recently.

The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) will be inducting its first set of Francophone (French-speaking) and Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) Fellows into the college in April 2024.

President of the college, Alhaji Murtada Sesay, made this known when he paid a courtesy visit to Pharmanews Publisher, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, in Lagos, recently.

The induction, according to  Sesay, will take place from 15 to 18 April, 2024, in Banjul, capital of The Gambia, adding that the college will also be inducting elected Fellows at the Banjul event.

The WAPCP president also disclosed during the visit that the college had concluded plans to lay the foundation of the building of its secretariat in Lagos. He added that this would be done by the end of March 2024, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Sesay, a Sierra Leonean, revealed that one of the things that had delayed the work in the past was getting government approval.

“We didn’t want to skip any regulatory issue, but now, we have crossed the bridge. Everything is now in our hands”, he said.

According to the Secretary General of the College, Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba, who was with the president on the visit, the blueprint and other pending requirements will be ready by the middle of March.

“So, by the end of March, 2024, we will able to start the construction, starting with the foundation-laying”, Oreagba said.

While speaking on other activities of the college, Alhaji Sesay said, “Our focus is to have more Fellows that can serve their community better and we do this through specific faculties. We are making progress. We we are making an effort to ensure that all the governments of member nations and the ministries of health recognise the fact that when you are a Fellow of the college, you can deliver better and also ensure that you are better placed.

“The focus of the college is to improve delivery in our countries because there is a lot to be done. We want to be internationally recognised as a centre of excellence that promotes teaching, research and training in postgraduate pharmacy education for the development of pharmacy specialists to meet the challenges of healthcare.

Sir Atueyi, on his part, congratulated Sesay for the efforts made to ensure that the laying of the foundation of the secretariat happens during his tenure, saying it is a remarkable achievement. He also said he was impressed by the way the executives of the college were running its affairs.

WHO Pledges Support to Eliminate TB in Enugu State

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WHO Pledges Support to Eliminate TB in Enugu State

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has pledged to support Enugu State to fight and eliminate incidences of Tuberculosis (TB), in the state.

Dr Ufuoma Aduh, National Professional Officer, Tuberculosis, WHO, South-East, Enugu, made the pledge during the Flag-Off of 2024 World Tuberculosis Day in Enugu.

The event was organised by the Enugu State Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the State Tuberculosis Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme.

Aduh said the organisation would mobilise more grants to support Enugu State, stressing that in next few months mobile road shows would be rolled out to sensitise communities on the dangers of TB and the need to get treated.

According to the national professional officer, TB is curable and preventable, and that the world has all it takes to end it through community interventions.

“We must work collectively to end TB, especially as WHO is playing a global role to end it by providing technical supports.

“In Nigeria and down to Enugu State, Nigeria is number 6 burden cases of TB globally and in the South-East zone, Enugu State still have a huge burden of TB.

“We are not finding new cases of TB in Enugu but more work needed to be done to end it and if we fail to do it, it will continue to ravage and make people poor and cause ill health,” he said.

Speaking, the Wife of Enugu State Governor, Mrs Nkechinyere Mbah, commended TB control partners in the state for their contributions to end tuberculosis in the state.

The partners are the WHO, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association (GLRA) and CARITAS Catholic Foundation of Nigeria.

Mbah, represented by her Special Adviser on Gender, Dr Uzoamaka Uzoechina, said she was committed to ending TB in Enugu State and would continue to support all efforts to achieve it.

She noted that, “TB was the single most crucial killer disease globally, affecting all ages and genders.”

She noted that in 2018 global TB ranking, Nigeria was first in Africa among countries with the highest TB burden and ranked 4th among countries with the majority of missing TB cases globally.

According to her, Enugu State has over 4,955 missing TB cases that are yet to be detected in the community due to specific health system challenges.

“So, to end TB in the state, I encourage you to continue with more active case searches in the communities.

“This will help us to identify TB cases and place them on treatment to reduce disease spread,” she said.

In a message, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Emmanuel Obi, said the flag off was part of activities to mark 2024 TB Day.

According to him, TB is detected when a chronic cough usually lasts for two weeks or more and defies treatment.

He advised such patients to visit their healthcare facility for further treatment.

“So we are calling on the general public to avail themselves of the opportunity to be screened. We have over 596 facilities in Enugu State giving out TB treatment.

“Government is joining hands with all our partners to eliminate TB in Enugu State,” he said.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Programme Manager, TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Programme, Enugu State, Dr Chidiebere Odo, said the awareness was important because of the high burden TB was creating in the society.

He stated that available statistics showed that Enugu had monthly average of over 300 cases of active TB cases.

“So we are here to create awareness to the public to know about TB and see how we can end TB.

“Its elimination is not something an individual can do but can be eradicated through collective efforts.

“We are here as ambassadors and representatives, so go and spread the news about TB to people on how to know the symptoms to look out for and direct them where they can have access to treatment.

“In Enugu State, we have over 500 facilities spread across 17 Council Areas of the state where these services are being done,” he said.

 

 

Health Benefits of Crying

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Pranksters and cardiovascular health
Patrick Iwelunmor

 

It has been established that the act of crying offers many therapeutic benefits to the human system. Psychologists and experts in mental health believe that the outpouring of bottled-up emotions does the body so much good and prevents the human mind from the ignoble descent into self-destruction.

It is better to empty ourselves of emotions, whether joyful or sorrowful, through teary downpours than to leave them trapped in our minds and allow them to dissipate through other inglorious ways. For example, the tears of joy shed by a victorious athlete help him to react positively to the unexpected success and thereby balances his emotional architecture with a reminder that the attained glory is not entirely a product of his own making but more of either the intervention of divinity, luck or chance. Philosophically speaking such a scenario helps him to remain humble and sober in the face of life’s unending paradoxes.

On the other hand, for the one who is faced with defeat or who finds himself swimming against the melancholic tides of human existence, the act of crying rids him of the negative burden of bottled-up emotions. By letting those tears out, he purges himself of all the bad feelings that accompany his inability to surmount the challenge at that point in time. The foregoing therefore admonishes us all to react to the vicissitudes of life with temperance and modesty.

It is very significant for Nigerians, at this point of our socio-economic experience, to imbibe some psychological principles that can help us remain positive-minded, irrespective of the unsavory and heart-breaking developments that have continued to create tensions and unease in our national life. To be honest, the level of hunger and inflation in the country has not augured well for most families. The skyrocketing prices of goods and services, especially food and basic necessities, is not the best of developments. Everywhere you go, you will encounter persons either begging for help or asking for food to eat.

While we understand that the times are hard and that we cannot avoid these sad experiences as a nation, we must summon the courage to face the current realities head-on. One of the ways to free ourselves from the shackles of the prevailing circumstances is to reflect on life philosophically and cry out our pains privately.

The act of crying is, in itself, not a sign of weakness but one of strength, knowing that when we refuse to do so, we may bottle up emotions that have the tendency to break us down mentally. There is courage in crying when we shed our pains away and move on in life with a positive mindset. After all, as long as we are alive, whatever we have lost can come back to us in a hundred fold.

Fellow Nigerians, please “Cry The Beloved Country” and remain positive that brighter days are coming. The more you cry in your privacy, the more you realise that your success or failure depends not entirely on your own making but on some other extraneous factors such as the God-factor. The more you shed those tears of success or failure, the more you become emotionally mature and intelligent, knowing that the humility in victory and the pride in failure are essential ingredients in the journey of life.

For those who are financially down and are unable to manage the pain of insolvency, rather than drink yourself to stupor or engage in unnecessary outbursts with mockers, retire to your closet and cry away your pains while reminding yourself that life is full of ups and downs. You will eventually be better off, as you would have mastered the art of managing the tragic encounters of this life.

What crying does to your mental health cannot be quantified. Here are some of those things you can achieve when you cry anytime life throws wicked punches at you:

Crying helps your body to rest and digest.

Crying detoxifies your body.

Crying dulls pain by releasing oxytocin and endorphins.

Crying improves your mood by regulating your brain’s temperature.

Crying rallies physical support by attracting the intervention of people around you

Crying helps you to overcome grief, even if it involves the loss of a loved one.

Crying restores our yemotional balance. Researchers at Yale University believe that crying helps to achieve emotional equilibrium

Crying helps your baby to sleep. Remember, when you are stressed and your baby tries to worsen the situation, by crying profusely, it falls to sleep and helps you overcome your emotional worries.

In our journey through life, we must put aside the togas of ego and arrogance. When necessary, let us let those teary drops out. It has nothing to do with gender, tribe or race. Crying is the bravest act for those who wish to truly conquer their fears in life. Even Jesus wept!

Tributes Galore, as Pharmacists, Friends, Others Celebrate Fola Tayo @ 80

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Tributes Galore, as Pharmacists, Friends, Others Celebrate Fola Tayo @ 80
Prof. Fola Tayo and wife, Foluke, flanked by industry stakeholders, while cutting his 80th birthday cake.

It was celebration galore for as Professor Fola Tayo, who clocked 80 years on 29 February, as pharmacists, friends and family members converged at the University of Lagos to celebrate.

While showering encomium on the celebrant, some of the guests at the birthday celebration described Prof. Tayo as a risk taker, bold and uncompromisingly blunt in defending the truth.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the occasion, a former Minister of Health and President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi described Prof. Tayo as an unusual person, always focused and a risk taker who has obtained grace.

“We are happy that in the days of superficiality, we still have people who worked hard and are full of integrity. Nigeria issue is very germane to him, but Prof. Tayo has no doubt fulfilled purpose, because life is about fulfilling your purpose”, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi said.

 

Tributes Galore, as Pharmacists, Friends, Others Celebrate Fola Tayo @ 80
Unveiling of Prof. Fola Tayo's Book ‘ His wonderous grace'

The wife of the celebrant, Mrs Mojisola Foluke Tayo described Tayo as her husband, brother, friend and confidant. She said “a bold and uncompromisingly blunt personality in defending the truth, Fola is a very loving, caring, kind, compassionate and adorable father and a most wonderful husband”.

A former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, in his tribute, commended Prof. Tayo for his impact in the pharma space in Nigeria, saying the professor has made a footprints on the sand of pharmaceutical times in Nigeria and globally.

The Provost, College of Pharmacy, Afe Babalola University, Prof. (Mrs) Mbang Femi-Oyewo, described Prof. Tayo, in her tribute, as a man of God with absolute faith in God Almighty, and with so much boldness and audacity.
While welcoming Tayo to the club of octogenarians, the Publisher of Pharmanews and Vice-President, NAPharm (Sir) Pharm. Ifeanyi Atueyi described him as someone who is always frank and expresses his views and beliefs without fear.

‘When Fola does not believe in a cause, he leaves you in no doubt about his opinion. I know him as someone who uses strong words to condemn what he does not believe in. In relating with Fola, I realised that his no is no, his yes is yes; that makes him a trustworthy and a person of integrity’, Pharm. Atueyi said.

The Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, and former Secretary, West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacy, Professor Azuka Oparah described Prof. Tayo as an undisputed mentor to several successful persons in the health, management and spiritual spaces.

“Professor Tayo is a great teacher. If he teaches you and you don’t understand, you don’t have the intention to learn. He harbours no primordial interests; he is not tribalised. He focuses on issues rather than sentiments. He has a deep feeling of resentment for inept and corrupt leaders occupying spaces in the country”, Prof. Opara said.

While reacting to the outpouring of tributes, the celebrant, Prof. Tayo, who could not hide his feeling of gratitude busted into a praise session, as he prayed for Nigeria and every participant of the birthday celebration.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of Business School Netherlands International, Nigeria, Prof. Lere Baale, has stated that there is an urgent need for digital transformation of education, not just in Nigeria but across Africa continent, so as to bridge educational gaps and as well build the future for the continent.

Prof. Baale, in his keynote address titled “Digital transformation of education in Africa: Bridging the gaps and building the future”, at the Prof. Tayo birthday celebration, said there is no much digital transformation in the education sector yet, especially in Nigeria, stating that there is need to come up with ideas that will enhance digitisation of education by allowing people to have access to educational information and instructions without necessarily going into physical classroom, and also allow instant feedback, saying that can only be possible through computer.

Baale said it is time to dream and move from lecture room to e-space, adding that there is need to move from physical book to tablet and from brick and mortar school building to digital dormitories, even though there is still need to have one lecture hall to tell a story to the coming generation.

The keynote speaker said digitisation expands access to education, enhances education and bridges the skill gap. He called on stakeholders in the education sector, in Nigeria and across Africa continent to embrace technology and innovation, saying that is the only way to achieve the aspirations of SDG 4 on education and advancing the global agenda for sustainable development.

According to the don, by embracing digital technologies, leveraging innovation, and cultivating a culture of lifelong learning, educational stakeholders can catalyse positive change, foster inclusive and equitable educational opportunities, and empower individuals to navigate the complexities of the modern world with confidence, competence, and resilience.

“Through strategic investments, collaborative partnerships, and visionary leadership, digital transformation can pave the way for a brighter future where education catalyses personal growth, social progress, and sustainable development for future generations”, Prof. Baale said.

The high point of the event was launching of the celebrant’s book titled “His wondrous grace” and the announcement of Prof. Fola Tayo Legacy Award of N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira) for overall best graduating student in Pharmacy and best graduating student in clinical pharmacy, in four universities, which include Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos; Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan; Olu Akinkugbe Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, and one other university.

Rising TB Cases: Ogun State Expresses Concern

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The Commissioner for Health in Ogun, Dr Tomi Coker, has expressed concern over rising number of tuberculosis patients in the state. Coker said this at a news conference in Abeokuta on Tuesday as part of activities to mark the 2024 World Tuberculosis Day, which has “Yes! We Can End TB” as its theme. The World Tuberculosis Day is annually observed on March 24 to raise awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease.

The commissioner, therefore, said early detection of the disease is key, as it can be treated and cured using a combination of modern medicines.

She assured government’s commitment to urgent actions toward addressing the situation through increased awareness and education, as well as access to quality healthcare services for residents, especially in rural areas.
Coker said that the state government, with support from Federal Ministry of Health and partners, had been providing free treatment to TB patients across the 20 local government areas through a network of 623 government health centres and selected private and missionary facilities.

She urged residents to report anyone who presents any signs of continuous coughing or other associated symptoms.
She said, “if you or anyone you know have cough lasting two weeks or more with or without sputum, associated weight loss, profuse night sweating, difficulty in breathing or blood-stained sputum, kindly visit the nearest government health facility for check, as this could be Tuberculosis.”

In a separate interview, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Kayode Oladehinde, urged residents to be vigilant and be proactive in seeking medical help if they noticed any TB symptoms.

He emphasised the need for good hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease, adding that “with collective efforts, the disease could be eradicated.”

NAN

Cross River Records 7000 Cases of TB in 2 Years

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Close up view of secondary tuberculosis in lungs

The Cross River Commissioner for Health, Dr Egbe Ayuk has disclosed that more than 7000 new tuberculosis cases have been reported in Cross River State, southern Nigeria within the past two years. He siad this in Calabar, the state capital, during a walk to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis Day.

Dr Ayuk, who also disclosed that no fewer than one hundred and forty nine deaths were recorded with the period, attributed the rise in the rate of infection to the 2021 ENDSARS vandalism of the Dr Lawrence Henshaw Infectious Disease Hospital, Calabar.

Ayuk noted that the state government was collaborating with international and local partners to reduce the spread of tuberculosis and provide affordable treatment for those infected to reduce the mortality rate.
He said, “the mortality rate is not accepted. TB is a killer yet it can be prevented. It can be treated and cured. This is why we are on this campaign to let people know that any cough that last more than two weeks, the person could visit the nearest health centre to access care.”

The commissioner stated that Cross River has 177 tuberculosis treatment centres where any infected person is given free services, noting “when an infected person visits any of our treatment centres after diagnosis and such a person is declared positive, treatment will commence immediately free of charge. No money is required or collected not even for clinic card or consultation. This is what we need people to know.”

Causative factors
Also in an interview, the Director Public Health and Programme Manager, Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control in Cross River State, Dr Bassey Offor, explained that one infected person was capable of transmitting the disease to more than fifteen persons within a year.

Offor said that out of the eighteen local government areas in Cross River State, four have high prevalence rates and these he noted included Calabar South, where the vandalised infectious disease hospital is located; Ogoja, which is home to thousands of refugees fleeing the crisis in southern Cameroon Republic.

Others, Offor listed included the dense populated Boki local government area and Yakurr, which houses the largest village in West Africa, stressing “we emphasize early diagnosis and prompt treatment to avert death as well as stop the spread. One person with tuberculosis can infect 15 or 20 people if care is not taken. The local government areas with the highest prevalence rate are Calabar South, Ogoja, Boki and Yakurr. People living in a crowded and filthy environment. Some people have poor cough etiquette as a result others can contract the bacteria easily. It is very easy for anyone with compromised immunity to contract tuberculosis, even alcoholics, diabetics and malnourished individuals can easily be infected,” he explained further.

Special outreaches
Similarly, the State Coordinator, Breakthrough Action – Nigeria, Mrs Pascaline Edim said that the bacteria causing tuberculosis is airborne and can become active in an individual with compromised immunity, who has been exposed to the droplet.

Mrs Edim disclosed that Breakthrough Action – Nigeria, the implementing partners to scale back tuberculosis was supporting the Cross River State government effort to reduce the prevalence rate across the local government areas.
She said, “we have been conducting outreaches in partnership with other international agencies and the state government to make treatment available to the people. We have been sensitizing, screening and taking samples from suspected cases for proper diagnosis.We have been promoting and conducting COVID screening, immunizing babies especially with the BCG vaccines as a preventive measure because children can also contract tuberculosis.”

This year’s World Tuberculosis Day celebration features a 2 kilometre city walk and a special thanksgiving service held at Christ for the World Mission, Abasi Obori street, Calabar South.

VON

NAFDAC, PCN, Others Laud Shalina’s Young Talent Award

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-As UNILAG Edges UI to Clinch SYTA 2024 Edition

NAFDAC, PCN, Others Laud Shalina's Young Talent Award
SYTA 2024 Winner, Princess Kamsy Okeke, University of Lagos (middle); Second Place Winner, Ekweozor Michael Chukwudubeanyi, University of Jos (right), and the Third Place Winner, Ihediuche Chizoba Vivian, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State (left), at the Shalina Young Talents Awards (SYTA) Season 5 National grand finale in Lagos.

Regulatory agencies and prominent pharmaceutical industry stakeholders including the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr Moji Adeyeye; Registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed and others have lauded the management of Shalina Healthcare for advancing the course of healthcare in Nigeria, by giving the youths an array of opportunities to express themselves.

Speaking in Lagos on Thursday, at the final edition of the SYTA, a value-adding initiative by Shalina, which is a national-level competition for final-year pharmacy students in Nigerian universities, the stakeholders hailed the company for the impact it is making in uplifting the knowledge of students as well as pharmacists in general.

NAFDAC, PCN, Others Laud Shalina's Young Talent Award
L-R: Mr Arun Raj, vice-president/chief commercial officer of Shalina West Africa; Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed, registrar of Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN); Princess Kamsy Okeke, SYTA 2024 Winner, UNILAG; Mrs Opeyemi Akinyele, managing director of Shalina Healthcare Nigeria; Prof. Mbang Femi-Oyewo, provost, College of Pharmacy, Afe Babalola University, (ABUAD) Ado Ekiti; and Pharm. Folorunso Alaran, head, Corporate Marketing and Key Accounts, Shalina Healthcare, at the Shalina Young Talents Awards (SYTA) Season 5 National grand finale in Lagos.

In her speech at the competition tagged the “Biggest hunt for the best Pharmacy brains in Nigeria”, held at the NECA House, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Adeyeye, who was earlier on facility tour of the company's factory on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Isheri, Ogun State said;”They should also be commended and appreciated for the platforms they are giving our young people to express themselves as well as grow”.

Speaking in the same vein, the Registrar of PCN, Ahmed applauded the healthcare company for its initiative saying “the company is making an unprecedented effort in ensuring that young pharmacists are well trained and are also encouraged to promote quality healthcare delivery in the country.”

While declaring the event opened, the Managing Director of Shalina Healthcare Nigeria, Opeyemi Akinyele, said the initiative is with the main objective of “serving as a platform for the final year students to interact with renowned experts from the field of pharmacy.  And also build competitive distinction and self-awareness among young pharmacists.”

The competition which covered all the twenty-four Pharmacy Institutions in Nigeria saw Princess Kamsy Okeke, of the University of Lagos emerging as the overall winner, while Michael Ekweazor of the University of Jos emerged as the first runner-up, and Vivian Ihediuche of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State, emerged the second runner up, winning cash prizes of one million naira, five hundred thousand naira and three hundred thousand naira respectively.

On the progress made from Season One to Five, the Corporate Marketing Manager of the company, Pharm. Folorunso Alaran said; “the initiative has moved beyond its starting point of five schools and today covered the whole 24 Pharmacy institutions in the country.

“This is unprecedented in the quest for the best pharmacy brains in Nigeria and remained the biggest hunt for the best pharmacy brains in the country. We moved around the 24 universities in the country's six geopolitical zones from November 2023 to February 24, 2024. In all, we had three thousand participants, and we brought the best in each school to this Grand Finale, he said.”

FG to Ban Syringes Importation, Boosts Local Manufacturing

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FG to Ban Syringes Importation, Boosts Local Manufacturing
A set of syringes on display. Image Source : File photo

Towards accelerating local manufacturing of medical syringes in Nigeria, as well as improving the quality, the Federal Government says it is ready to ban importation of medical syringes into the country.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, made the disclosure at the weekend, when he called for a total ban on the importation of medical syringes into the country to encourage local production and help to grow the nation’s economy. This was corroborated by the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who revealed the agency’s stance on the issue, saying they had put an end to granting import authorisation to importers of medical syringes including the international partners.

She said NAFDAC issued the last import order to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in December 2023, with the instruction that they should begin to source medical syringes from local manufacturers thereafter, in order to provide employment opportunities to more Nigerians.

In a statement signed by the Resident Media Consultant of NAFDAC, Mr Sayo Akintola, Dr Alausa reaffirmed the determination of the Federal Government to provide the necessary support to the local manufacturing sector to enhance its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product GDP.

He affirmed that that the restructuring of syringe and needle production in Nigeria aims to guarantee the availability of high-quality products manufactured by Nigerians in the market to generate lucrative employment opportunities for Nigerians.

The minister, however, implored NAFDAC to ensure that unbridled importation of syringe does not hamper the development of the local industry through unhealthy competition. “Don’t give them any more authorisation to import. We need to protect the local industry through the backward integration model aimed at enhancing the local capacity,’’ he said.

Prof. Adeyeye, further explained that NAFDAC has halted syringe imports to promote locally made syringes. This suspension applies even to syringes previously imported by NAFDAC's international partners. The goal is to shift the focus towards supporting domestic syringe manufacturing, she stated.

”However, for the local manufacturers, we are doing hand-holding with our syringe companies. Hand-holding, meaning we are working with them by correcting whatever we found wrong or inappropriate in their operations, adding that this initiative has started yielding positive dividends as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently requested for names of the three syringe manufacturing companies in Nigeria to do business with. She disclosed that the names were supplied to WHO and they have been contacted for guidance toward prequalification and eventual access of the products for use.

The NAFDAC DG however, advocated for a holistic approach to combatting the incidence of importation of substandard falsified medical devices into the country. She disclosed that some medical devices still come into the country with the aid of compromised officials at the ports. According to her, the government had already put high tariffs on the importation of syringes to discourage importation.

She, nevertheless, expressed regret that the system in the ports negates that policy. ”That is the problem. It’s going to be a holistic government approach to tackle the problem. It’s not something that only NAFDAC, SON, or Customs can do. It must be all-embracing”.

The Ugly Side of Watching Football

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Football is incontrovertibly the number one sport with the highest number of fans globally. It is not only considered the most popular sport all over the world, but also one of the top three highest paying sports across the globe.

Additionally, studies have established that watching football has many health benefits. For instance, human biology and psychology researchers from the University of Leeds, in their 2019 study, found that watching football increases heart rate, otherwise known as “positive stress”. They described it as a cardiovascular workout akin to a 90-minute brisk walk.

Other studies, as well as many medical experts, have also said watching sports, especially football, gives viewers a significant mental workout, and helps to keep one’s brain healthy and sharp. Joseph Connolly, a popular American writer, added that watching football matches is one of the key things that can help viewer to build self-confidence, stressing that watching the round leather game will make the viewer get smarter. No wonder the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) estimates that football has about 3.5 billion followers across the globe!

 

The flip side

While there are many health benefits derived from watching live football matches, doing so is not without its ugly side. Studies and medical experts have established that there are many negative health effects that people are disposed to while watching live football.

For instance, in a study published in August 2022, Juan Enrique Puche, a doctor of medicine and biology at the University Foundation San Pablo, Madrid, Spain, said sporting events, such as football matches, can cause viewers to experience cardiovascular issues that may cause damage to the heart muscle.

Also, while trying to comprehensively shed light on whether viewing football games is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, a group of Chinese researchers, in 2019, found that viewing football matches was associated with a higher risk of fatal overall cardiovascular disease. They however noted that victory of the viewer’s team could have a lower risk of fatal cardiovascular disease.

Similarly, in 2020, researchers at the University of Oxford said football fans are putting themselves at risk of a heart attack due to the intense levels of physical stress caused by watching their team. The study, conducted by seven researchers from the university, verified a scientific link between fans’ intense group bonding with their team and levels of cortisol (stress hormone) while they watched football.

Titled “Devoted fans release more cortisol when watching live soccer matches,” and published in the journal, Stress and Health, the study collected the saliva of 40 football fans before, during, and after three World Cup matches, including Brazil’s historic semi-final loss (1–7) to Germany. The research found that levels of the hormone cortisol shot up during the games.

“Cortisol rocketed during live games for the fans who were highly fused to the team,” said the lead researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, University of Oxford, Dr Martha Newson.

“It was particularly high during games where their team lost. Interestingly, there were no differences in cortisol concentrations between men and women. Despite preconceptions that men tend to be more bonded to their football teams, women were in fact found to be slightly more bonded to their national team than the men”, Newson said.

 

Practical proofs

The validity of such studies as above was proven during the 2023 African Cup of Nations, held in Cote d’Ivoire, from 13 January to 11 February, 2024. For instance, no fewer than five Nigerians were confirmed dead at different locations, after watching the semi-final match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.

A former member of the House of Representatives, who represented the Ika Federal Constituency of Delta State, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, died while watching the match. Ojougboh reportedly died shortly after a penalty kick was awarded against Nigeria. He was said to have shouted and slumped due to a massive heart attack when South Africa scored.

Also, a member of the National Youth Service Corps, serving in Adamawa State, reportedly died during the penalty shootouts of the same match. The NYSC Coordinator in Adamawa State, Jingi Dennis, said the corps member was confirmed dead at the General Hospital in Numan. Similarly, the Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University, Malete, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi, also died while watching the match.

Following the tragic incidents, the Super Eagles team sympathized with the families of the deceased through a post on their official X handle on 9 February. The post read: “During the course of our semi-final match, we tragically lost a few supporters. In a cruel twist of fate, their fervent passion for the beautiful game unwittingly led them to their final moments.

“As the Nigeria vs South Africa match unfolded, they were lost in the thrill of the game, unaware of the looming danger. May their souls find eternal peace. They will forever be remembered for their love for football and the togetherness it brings. Rest in peace.”

 

Further findings

In 2021, five researchers in Zagreb, Croatia, carried out a study on the incidence of cardiovascular events when watching intense football matches. The study was titled, “Incidence of cardiovascular events when watching intense football matches – sex differences”.

Among other things, the study aimed to determine whether there was an increase in the number of emergency admissions for cardiovascular disease in the emergency room and clinic for cardiovascular diseases of the Sestre Milosrdnice University Hospital Centre, during and after the matches that the Croatian national team played in the FIFA World Cup 2018.

The hospital’s database was examined for the dates when Croatia played its matches, plus two more days after each match. An unexposed period that included the same dates in 2017 and 2019 was formed. It was found that watching Croatian national team’s matches and cheering represented an additional risk for a cardiovascular disease incident, especially in women.

The researchers also found that arrhythmias (a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat) and angina pectoris (result of myocardial ischemia caused by an imbalance between myocardial blood supply and oxygen demand) were the cardiovascular diseases that occurred more frequently in the exposed period.

A similar study was carried out in 2013 to evaluate the acute effects of environmental stress induced by the World Cup on increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Brazil. The study took place from May to August, in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010, to examine four consecutive Brazil World Cup matches. It was found that the incidence of myocardial infarction increased during the period of the tournaments.

 

Experts’ views

While reacting to the deaths of Nigerians during the Nations Cup, a Professor of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, Philip Kolo, told The Punch that watching live matches is very dangerous for those who have heart disease. On his part, a former Chairman of the Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr Tunji Akintade, said one of the reasons for sudden deaths during matches is excitement.

With the hazards attached to watching football matches, irrespective of the health benefits of watching the round leather games, it is important for viewers to be conscious of their health status before settling down to watch a football match. The Oxford study recommended that football viewers can use humour and hugging as coping mechanisms.

To Prof. Kolo, however, “The ideal thing is that, if you are interested in sports, especially when your favourite team is playing, it is better to watch the recorded match, instead of watching the live match.”

For Wellness, Sleep is not Negotiable (2)

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Sleep is a complex physiological process that is regulated globally, regionally, and locally by both cellular and molecular mechanisms. Sleep is extremely important for the individual’s overall health, and it is just as important as eating, drinking and breathing.

When a person is awake for a long time, the system alerts the body about its need for sleep, and it helps the body get enough sleep during the night to regain its energy during the day.

 

Stages of sleep

An individual pass through two stages of sleep. Several things happen during every stage.

 

Stage 1: Deep sleep

During this stage, the body increases blood flow to the muscles, repairs muscles and tissues, stimulates growth and development, builds up energy for the next day, and secretes important hormones for the processes of growth and development.

 

Stage 2: Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep)

This stage is characterised by intense brain activity. It is when dreams start, and the body is unable to move. Respiration and heart rates during REM sleep is typically higher and more variable.

The body needs to pass through both stages to get a healthy sleep. Those whose sleep is interrupted frequently may not get sufficient amounts of one of these stages of sleep.

 

Benefits of restorative sleep

The health benefits of sleep include:

  1. Longevity: Adequate restorative sleep is associated with increased longevity, as sleeping helps to improve immune system, leading to overall life expectancy.
  2. Sharper decision-making skills: Quality sleep is associated with improved decision-making abilities, improved concentration, clarity and judgment
  3. Enhanced athletic performance: Restorative sleep is essential for athletes and active individuals as it acts as a form of energy repletion and conversion in the body, which promotes physical recovery, muscle repair, and optimal performance.
  4. Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Restorative sleep is linked to a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. Sleep helps with decrease in free radicals production and assists the body in increasing total glutathione level necessary for scavenging of free radicals
  5. Optimised metabolic health: Restorative sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy metabolism. It helps regulate appetite hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, which influence hunger and satiety cues.

 

Health consequences of poor sleep

  1. Negative impact on physical health: Lack of restorative sleep or poor sleep habits can lead to various physical health problems, including weight gain, metabolic disorders, increased inflammation, and decreased pain tolerance.
  2. Decreased libido and sexual dysfunction: Poor sleep behaviour can negatively impact libido and sexual function in both men and women.
  3. Increased risk of chronic diseases: Poor sleep behaviour is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, which can decrease longevity of life.
  4. Compromised mental health: In addition to mood disorders, poor sleep behaviour is linked to an increased risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia
  5. Impaired eye function: Adequate sleep promotes tear production crucial for lubrication and eye health. Therefore, insufficient sleep can lead to various eye issues, including dry eyes and vision problems, such as glaucoma
  6. Reduced physical performance: it causes impaired coordination, slower reaction times and decreased athletic performance.

 

Improving your sleep quality

Several tips for a better night’s sleep include:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule by waking up and going to bed at a specific time.
  • Create a restful sleep environment that is quiet, dark and cool.
  • Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals before sleeping.
  • Do regular early morning exercises.
  • Avoid going to bed when you are not sleepy.
  • If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do a mild activity.
  • Avoid napping after 3 pm.
  • Avoid performing tasks and homework at the end of the day.
  • Limit stimuli around bedtime (such as television, computer, and video games).
  • Create to-do lists before going to sleep to minimise thinking about them while attempting to sleep.

Engage in light and calm activities in the evening.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills for Pharmaceutical Sales Leaders

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Pharmaceutical Marketing: Basic Concepts and Principles (2)
Pharm. Tunde Oyeniran

Nigeria’s economy experiences fluctuations due to factors like oil prices, political instability, currency devaluation and foreign exchange crisis. As a sales leader, you must adapt swiftly to changing market conditions and tailor your communication accordingly. Understand the economic context in which you operate, and adjust your strategies to align with the prevailing conditions. The following are the major elements of the current situation:

 

Intermittent regulatory changes. Frequent policy shifts impact pharmaceutical sales practices. Stay informed about regulatory updates to ensure compliance and adjust your communication strategies accordingly. For example, if there are changes in prescription guidelines or marketing regulations, proactively educate your team and clients to avoid any compliance pitfalls.

Intense competition. Rivalry among pharmaceutical companies is fierce. To stand out, your people skills—especially communication—are your competitive edge. Differentiate your brand by building strong relationships with healthcare providers and demonstrating genuine care for patients. Remember, in a crowded market, trust and credibility matter.

The need for adaptable communication. Effective communication is your compass in this dynamic environment. It bridges gaps, fosters trust, and ensures alignment with organisational goals.


Key aspects of communication skills

Communication and interpersonal skills are the abilities to interact effectively with others through verbal and non-verbal means. They are vital for personal and professional success, as they help to build trust, solve problems, collaborate, and adapt to different situations. Communication and interpersonal skills include listening, speaking, writing, empathy, and teamwork.

 

Strategies for effective communication

  1. Tailor your message. Adapt your communication style to each audience. Whether you’re speaking to a rookie, or an experienced star rep, customise your message.
  2. Storytelling. Stories evoke emotions and make information memorable. Share success stories—how you or your other reps or reps from other companies were able to succeed and/or overcome obstacles recently or in the past.

iii. Feedback loop. Encourage open dialogue. Seek feedback from your team members, key customers, HCPs, etc. Understand their concerns, preferences, and suggestions. Act on constructive feedback to enhance your approach. Their insights can inform adjustments to your communication strategies.

  1. Active listening. Active listening allows you to truly understand your team and customer needs. When meeting with your team, customers or healthcare providers, focus on what they say. Avoid interrupting; instead, ask clarifying questions to delve deeper. For instance, if a physician expresses concerns about adverse effects, actively listen and address those specific worries.
  2. Techniques for active listening, which include paraphrasing – repeating what you’ve heard in your own words—show that you’re engaged with them, and reflecting on their emotions and concerns. Active listening builds trust and strengthens relationships.
  3. Empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. Understand the challenges healthcare providers face—their workload, patient demands, and regulatory pressures. Empathy enhances relationships and fosters goodwill. When a nurse expresses burnout due to long shifts, empathize with their fatigue and discuss ways to alleviate stress.

 

  1. Building rapport and trust. Rapport and trust are essential elements of successful pharmaceutical selling and leading. Rapport is the ability to connect with others and create a positive impression. Trust is the confidence that others have in your integrity, competence, and reliability. Building rapport and trust with your clients, prospects, and colleagues can help you achieve your sales goals and enhance your reputation. To build rapport and trust, you need to demonstrate the following behaviors consistently:
  2. Authenticity. Be genuine and honest. If there are limitations or side effects associated with your OTC medicine, communicate them transparently. Don’t exaggerate or make false claims. Show that you care about your clients’ needs and interests. Authenticity resonates with clients and builds credibility.
  3. Consistency. Deliver on your promises and follow up on your commitments. If you say you will do something, do it. If you encounter any delays or problems, inform your clients and offer solutions. Consistency reinforces trust and shows that you are dependable and professional.

iii. Personalisation. Remember details about your clients’ lives and preferences. Inquire about their well-being, challenges, and goals beyond business matters. Show appreciation and recognition for their achievements and feedback. Personalisation strengthens your relationships and shows that you value them as individuals.

 

  1. Conflict resolution and negotiation. Conflicts are inevitable in any sales environment. You may encounter disagreements, objections, or complaints from your clients, prospects, or colleagues. How you handle these situations can affect your rapport and trust. To resolve conflicts effectively, you need to:
  2. Acknowledge Conflicts. Don’t ignore or avoid conflicts. Address them promptly and respectfully. Listen to both sides and try to understand their perspectives and concerns. Acknowledge their feelings and emotions and show empathy.
  3. Win-win solutions. Strive for resolutions that benefit all parties involved. Don’t try to impose your views or force your solutions. Collaborate and negotiate with your counterparts and seek common ground. A win-win approach strengthens your relationships and builds mutual trust.

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of pharmaceutical sales in Nigeria, possessing exceptional people skills is not just a desirable trait—it’s an absolute necessity. As sales leaders and managers, your ability to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate challenges directly impacts your team’s success.

How Nigerian Healthcare System can be Improved – Convener, West Africa Healthcare Expo

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Mr Sonnie Braih

Mr Sonnie Braih is a licenced attorney, in the United States. His passion for affordable and accessible healthcare for Nigerians birthed the forthcoming West Africa Healthcare Expo, through which he intends to bring together both local and foreign medicine manufacturers to cross-fertilise ideas on how to improve the Nigerian healthcare delivery system. In this exclusive interview with PATRICK IWELUNMOR, he shares his thoughts about the healthcare situation in Nigeria and how it can be improved. Excerpts:

Let us know about you and your professional background.

Thank you for this rare opportunity to be interviewed by your renowned publication, Pharmanews. My name is Sonnie Braih. I am a Nigerian by birth but today a Nigerian-American licenced attorney, residing in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1986, from North Dakota State University, in Fargo, North Dakota. Thereafter, I worked as a resident supervisor with the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, Fargo and then moved to Dallas, Texas, to further my education in the Fall or late 1986.

I started my three—year law programme at Hamline University School of Law, from 1995 to 1998. I also did my postgraduate degree in Public Administration at Hamline University Graduate School, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I have worked as a civil rights officer, an administrator and  a dvision chief of the External Civil Rights at the Nevada Department of Transportation.

What inspired your passion for healthcare, especially as it concerns Nigeria?

This is a very good question. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and spent the early part of my life in Nigeria, until 1981 when I travelled abroad in pursuit of university education. Before leaving Nigeria, hardly could a month go by without my getting down with malaria. The doctors would always prescribe Nivaquine, Camoquine, Chloroquine, quinine, and other similar medications ending with “quine”.

Unfortunately, I was always having allergic “body itching” reactions to these medications. The saving grace for me in those days was Fansidar (sulfadoxine + pyrimethamine). I didn’t have any itchy reaction to Fansidar. Because my grandma always used washed dongoyaro concoction, which is equally bitter to treat my malaria, I became curious about ingredients used in the medication formula.

Due to the frequency of my bout with malaria, I thought it would be great to find a permanent cure and if only I could lead the charge to find the cure for malaria. Unfortunately, during my high school years, Chemistry and Physics were not offered until my fourth year, when my school was approved to have a science laboratory.

Because of this singular shortcoming, my set in high school were only able to take Biology as the only science subject in the West African School Certificate ordinary level examination. If I was privileged to take Chemistry and Physics as part of the science courses required, who knows, I probably could have been a medical doctor today. Be that as it may, I am still grateful to God that I am a lawyer with keen interest in the healthcare sector.

I draw my passion and inspiration for the delivery of good healthcare to the people from the fact that we in our country have taken the necessity of being healthy. Good healthcare is sine qua non to growing a healthy nation.

In 2007, during one of my many trips to Nigeria, I was opportune to visit a sick friend who was in the hospital, actually a private clinic at Ikeja. What I observed was nothing to write home about. Noticing that most of the hospitals that I had been to in Nigeria were nothing compared to what obtains in the United States, I felt it was imperative to not only point out the deficiencies, but to contribute in my own little ways to address some of the shortcomings.

As someone who has been in the USA for decades, what do you think the country is doing better in terms of healthcare, compared to Nigeria?

It is always a tough act to juxtapose or state categorically what country A is doing compared to what Nigeria is doing or not doing. However, for the purpose of this interview, I will state here without fear of equivocation that Nigeria has all the regulatory protocols in place. I have been privileged to review documents from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, the Radiographers Board, the Optometry Board, the Rehabilitation Board and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDCP) which is like the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Actually, the NCDCP was the brainchild of a US-based Nigerian Diasporan.

Theoretically, Nigeria can stand side by side America or other advanced countries in Europe and Asia. But the reality is, everything most likely ends in theory. For instance, can we say with any degree of certainty that our healthcare providers or institutions are operating in compliance with the extant laws, as spelt out in the regulations that are written to regulate them?

Everything is relative. The US is perhaps amongst the top 10 in the provision of healthcare to her citizens. The quality of care is far better than what obtains in Nigeria. I may not be too far from being correct to say that Nigeria ranks in the bottom 10 in the provision of basic healthcare to her citizens.

Again, it is an open secret that the healthcare delivery system over the course of the last three decades has experienced a progressive deterioration, compared to other countries similarly situated. It will be patently unfair to compare Nigeria to the United States of America. We can talk about the National Health Insurance Scheme and the management of this very noble vision. Can we compare this to Obamacare in the US? Absolutely not. I can go on and on but let me save this for another time.

Can you shed some light on your forthcoming West Africa Healthcare Expo? What really do you intend to achieve with it?

In one word, “exposure”. I think it is about time we put our house in order. We have very well trained and highly competent healthcare professionals working in all facets of the healthcare sector. I believe that we cannot only focus on our national malaise when it comes to healthcare. Let us take two sectors as our reference points.

In the pharmaceutical sector, Nigerian-trained pharmacists can compete with or even outperform pharmacists from anywhere on planet earth. Even in the United States and Canada, our pharmacists are making waves. But for the challenges and failure of leadership or lack of political will from the powers that be, even Nigerians that have ventured into manufacturing drugs, such as Emzor, Fidson and Unique, should be commended.

The West Africa Healthcare Expo was designed to bring together in one space all the key stakeholders in the healthcare sphere. It is targeted at doctors, pharmacists, nurses, therapists, dentists and the like. It will provide a very unique platform for the participants and the visitors or consumers to interact or mingle freely in a non-healthcare setting.

We intend to educate, enlighten and empower everybody that shows up that we need to take our personal health seriously. It is also to call attention to the neglected tropical diseases that are ravaging the tropical countries.

What efforts are you making to win the support of stakeholders in the Nigerian health sector like the Nigerian Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria?

I have been very privileged over the years to have been able to identify with experienced healthcare practitioners and specifically those in the pharmaceutical and medical professions. These people are very dedicated and passionate to their professions and always willing to discuss the state of the healthcare business in the country. So much so that they identified the challenges and proffer the solutions from their own point of views.

One of the solutions or ideas mentioned is an expo or exhibition where all the major stakeholders are invited to share their views on the problems confronting the industry. I have also had fruitful discussions with eminent subject matter experts in academia – some professors and lecturers within the healthcare discipline – all of whom agreed that we need to empower Nigerians to take charge of their health issues.

Also, the need to address the menace of fake medications is a matter of utmost important that has garnered the support of not only the stakeholders, but everybody that cares.

How do you think government at the federal, state and local levels can leverage your project to make healthcare accessible and affordable to all Nigerians?

Collaboration through team efforts is key to make this expo a success. The TEAM concept envisages a situation where everyone or party participating at every level is a winner. TEAM stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More”. So, the concept of TEAM is key.

Accessibility and Affordability are two buzzwords that are key to Nigeria dealing with healthcare challenges. “Accessible” suggests that most, if not all, our healthcare needs can easily be taken care of in Nigeria. All Nigerians should have equal access to good and qualitative healthcare services. It will save the country foreign exchange and address a critical component of our people going for treatment abroad.

With the value of the Naira and good medical infrastructure in place, we can very well reverse medical tourism because it will be far reasonably affordable to come to Nigeria for medical treatment. Our pharmaceutical companies can also step in to be a net exporter of drugs, just like India is doing to the world.

Stakeholders Task Pharmacists on Innovation to Achieve UHC

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– As Lagos ACPN holds continuing education conference 2024

Prof. Cyril Usifoh, president, PSN (middle), flanked by Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, immediate past chairman, ACPN, Lagos; Pharm. (Mrs) Bolanle Adeniran, former chairman, Lagos PSN; Pharm. Bola Oyawole, former presidential aspirant of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Pharm. Gafar Madehin, national secretary, PSN, and Pharm. Tolu Ajayi, chairman, Lagos ACPN, at the conference.

For Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to be a reality in Nigeria, stakeholders in the healthcare sector have charged pharmacists to embrace innovation, create value and reposition for new opportunities.

The industry leaders including Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, special adviser to the Lagos State Governor on health; Prof. Cyril Usifoh, president, PSN; Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, ACPN, and Pharm. (Mrs) Abimbola Adebakin, founder and chief executive officer of Advantage Health Africa, gave the charge at the 2024 Continuing Education Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Chapter, held recently at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Ikeja, Lagos.

Addressing the pharmacists, Dr Ogunyemi, disclosed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s recognition for every member of the healthcare team, irrespective of the profession they belong, whether they are doctors, pharmacists, nurses or any profession, adding that all he expects from everyone is value creation and usefulness.

“The onus is on us as members of the healthcare team to make ourselves relevant and valuable in the scheme of things as far as the state healthcare project is concerned. We want ACPN to partner with us, likewise, other bodies who before now have the feeling that healthcare is all about the medical doctors. Let us have a change of mindset and join the progressive train of Lagos”, she said.

A cross-section of participants at the conference.

She continued, “Pharmacists are major players in the healthcare sector of the state and you are valued. We cannot do it alone, and as you all know how strategic Lagos State is in this country, such that if we sneeze, other states would catch a cold, so let us come together, work as one, create values, make ourselves relevant, embrace innovations and do away with the mindset of ‘we are not needed”.

In the same vein, Prof. Usifoh noted that pharmacists are not in the country to compete with anyone, but to ensure that the average Nigerian benefit from healthcare services and to also contribute their quota in the realization of the UHC, adding that the members are ready to work with the state government in its effort towards healthcare delivery in the state.

Usifoh further noted that with over 40 per cent of the nation’s community pharmacists residing in Lagos State, the association is ready to ensure that the average Nigerians get the benefit that they deserve, adding that the fact that the community pharmacists are already positioned and strengthened to function well at the primary healthcare level cannot be wished away, as they are partners in the healthcare team.

In his speech, Pharm. Oladigbolu lamented that Nigeria has the highest out-of-pocket spending on healthcare in the world, with citizens being responsible for more than half of their healthcare costs, adding that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria faces the challenge of a fragmented healthcare system which is costly, broken, and disconnected, with no access to care, and haphazardly rising costs of healthcare.

He however opined that the solution to bridging the gaps in healthcare in Nigeria and the achievement of universal healthcare lies with the Pharmacy profession, adding that ‘’Community pharmacy services can make up for the shortage of healthcare personnel, resulting in effective healthcare coverage in the country

Speaking earlier, Pharm. Tolu Ajayi, chairman of ACPN Lagos, said the conference was designed to ensure members of the association are not left out in the scheme of things even as the world keeps developing daily.

“What we called excellence in life is simply continuous improvement, so we thought of how community pharmacists could continue to get better and become excellent at what we do. We stand on two legs, we are professionals on one leg, and we are also into business on the other leg, so, what we aim to do is to look at how to improve our practice, and strengthen the members for UHC”.

The new ACPN boss disclosed that the Continuous Education Conference programme in Lagos had been held consistently over the years because of the importance that the Lagos ACPN places on knowledge and effective service delivery.

The keynote speaker at the two-day conference, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Drugstoc Limited, Dr Chibuzo Opara, noted that to achieve UHC, there is need for expansion of community pharmacists into health management and insurance, accurate projection of community medication’s need, vaccination and chronic disease care.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Strengthening community pharmacy practice for universal health coverage”, Opara called on the community pharmacists to tap into technology, and innovation, to drive UHC, adding that if the professionals fail to do it, the quacks would do it for them.

Also in her lecture titled, “Innovative business models for community pharmacies in a high inflation economy”, Pharm. (Mrs)  Abimbola Adebakin, founder and chief executive officer of Advantage Health Africa, noted that innovation is the lifeblood of every successful business, adding that ‘White Space Strategy’ which is identifying gaps and highlighting potential areas of consumer spending that aren’t yet acquired is key.

“We are in the digital knowledge economy. As a business owner or professional, taking your knowledge and expertise for granted is tempting. Your expertise is a skill honed by years of immersion and practice, and regardless of what field you’re in, that expertise has value. And you can sell it. Such knowledge may be clinical or non-clinical”

“To explore innovation is to dare to explore an uncharted territory. Many persons are reluctant to enter any white space because of fear of the unknowns. As a result, this often leads to people not wanting to take risks and instinctively retreat to their comfort zone. Step into the growth zone by embracing learning, exploring curiosity and taking risks. Stay innovative”, she stressed.

Commendations as Pharma West Africa Expo Kicks Off in Lagos

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L-R: DG Lanacome Cameroon, Dr Ngono Rose; President, HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi; DG NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; Lagos State commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; Chairman, Conference planning Committee Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai; Country Director, Pharma Access Foundation, Njide Ndili; Secretary, HFN, Abimbola Adebakin and MD, Bloom Public Health, Prof. Chimeze Ayankora, at the opening ceremony of the Pharma West Africa Expo in Lagos on Wednesday.

It was an outpouring of commendation for the organisers of Pharma West Africa Expo, BtoB Events, as the 3-day international pharmaceutical exhibition commenced in a grand style on Wednesday, with notable stakeholders’ presence at the Landmark Event Centre, Lagos.

The Chairman, Conference Planning Committee and Founder/CEO, Pharmaplus Nigeria Ltd, Pharm. Ahmed I.Yakasai, who expressed his unquantifiable joy in seeing their idea of many years come to fruition, noted that the theme for the conference, “Leveraging new frontiers in pharma to drive universal health coverage,” underscores the critical role that the pharmaceutical sector plays in advancing healthcare accessibility and quality for all.

He said “In today's ever-evolving landscape, through insightful discussions, engaging sessions, and interactive exhibitions, we aim to foster dialogue, inspire creativity, and catalyze positive change within the pharmaceutical landscape. Together, we can address challenges, leverage emerging technologies, and harness the power of collaboration to enhance access to quality healthcare for all”.

Cutting of the exhibition tape by the DG, NAFDAC, Moji Adeyeye, at the conference.

 

While speaking shortly before declaring the event open, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, appreciated the chairman of the conference planning committee, Pharm. Yakasai, for his tenacity in ensuring that the team made the show a reality.

The NAFDAC DG noted that the expo couldn’t have come at a better time, when the Nigerian Pharma sector and the West African region is already aiming for the best.  She remarked that the Nigerian Pharma sector set out on a good note, but relapsed until 2017, because all the stakeholders in the industry, including the NFDC and the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria were not doing what they were supposed to do.

She however admitted that things are already taking shape now. “NAFDAC was even removed from the port, which means anybody can bring anything they like into the country, which was part of what I met on ground. Why are we importing drugs that we can produce?” Prof. Adeyeye asked, saying that was what brought about the agency’s 5 plus 5 policy which aims to boost local manufacturing, noting that with the policy in lace, Nigeria now has about 165 manufacturing companies, as against 120.

 

 

Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai and DG NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye and some exhibitors at exhibition stand.

While speaking on the theme of the conference, the NAFDAC DG said leveraging new frontier is based on quality, adding that the agency is already thinking quality. She said “we are thinking quality, we are thinking customer in order to improve healthcare system and universal health coverage. Without quality, universal health coverage will be impossible”.

In his remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the state government is willing and ready to partner with stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, saying medical and pharmaceutical economy is important to the state, hence it will always make effort to create an enabling environment that will boost local production of drugs and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API).

To achieve this, the commissioner said “as government, we are engaging stakeholders. We are about to make available medical free trade zone”.

The President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, commended the organisers of the expo, stating that it is the beginning of good things to come. He expressed optimism that when the Lagos State Government partners with the pharma sector, it will be a game changer, not just for the sector but for the entire country.

“I urge all pharmacists to work with Lagos State Government because they are willing to partner with us. If we work together, we can overcome the challenge of fake drug”, Usifoh said.

The President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria Dr Pamela Ajayi, in her remarks lauded the remarkable efforts of the organisers of the international exhibition, saying Nigeria, especially the entire West African region needs the show and also ready for it.

The Head of Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, James Kommeh, while appreciating the organisers, noted that his country is happy to be part of the show. He noted that COVID-19 has taught the African region hard lessons, hence stakeholders in the region must come together to care of the region.  He also charged Nigerian investors in pharma sector to think of investing in Sierra Leone, saying their investment is secure in his country.

Also seeking at the event, the Director General, Lanacome Cameroun, Princess Dr Ngono Rose, lauded the Nigerian government, for its commitment to health sector, noting that Nigeria is pioneering the growth of pharma sector and the health sector as a whole in the region.

She however noted that the West African region must embrace disruptive technology that will boost the pharma sector. She said “we must invest in local talent, I urge all stakeholders in the pharma and health sector as a whole to embrace the spirit of collaboration”.

 

 

 

How Women in STEM can Balance Academics, Career, with Family- Temedie-Asogwa

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Pharm. (Dr) Tarilate Temedie-Asogwa, is a clinical pharmacist and PhD student at the University of Houston. With a diverse professional background, she has excelled as a lecturer, award-winning clinical pharmacist, retail pharmacy expert, & skilled product manager. As a dynamic thought leader, she was invited to speak during the commemoration of the 2024 International Women's Day, organised by the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS), University of Port Harcourt.

Her unwavering commitment to empowering women in STEM was evident in her impactful presentation during the programme themed “Inspiring Inclusion.” Her valuable insights into balancing academia, career, and family life served as a beacon of encouragement for women facing the complexities of their professional and personal journeys. The vibrant young lady narrated her life story including challenges and the strategies she employed to overcome the hurdles encountered in her journey so far as a mother, clinical pharmacist, public health professional, and woman in academia to inspire younger women to keep evolving to the highest version of themselves.

Journey to exam hall ended in the labour room

Temedie-Asogwa began by telling the students how she had been a student virtually all through her life and had combined this with her family responsibilities and her career as a pharmacist. Years after completing her Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy, she went to Nnamdi Azikiwe University to obtain her master's degree, then to the University of Benin for her PharmD, and now at the University of Houston for her PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy.

She shared a story of the hurdles she faced pursuing her master's degree in a city four hours away from where she worked and lived as a young girl starting a new family. She recalled the moment she was on a trip to take her final exams while also anticipating becoming a mother for the first time. However, her plans took an unexpected turn when she went into labour halfway through her journey to school. She was compelled to reroute to the hospital, where she had her first son. Reflecting on the experience, she humorously remarked, “Going for exams, I ended up returning home with a baby instead, which of course was a bigger blessing.” She expressed gratitude for the unwavering support of her family, particularly her spouse and mother, whose assistance was indispensable during this memorable event.

Admonition to women on balancing career, family & academics

The clinical pharmacist went on to admonish the audience saying “career, family, and academics are intertwined and as women today, we are faced with the challenge of juggling successful careers, family responsibilities, and academic pursuits. Finding a balance between these aspects can be tough, but with setting good goals, support, and proper time management, it is achievable.”

Notably among the much advice she provided was the importance of finding support systems for each area. She said, achieving balance requires careful planning and organisation, proper time management, effective communication, and setting boundaries to prioritise tasks and responsibilities effectively. She provided several practical examples of situations in which she had used each of these strategies to navigate through challenges she has encountered.

The PhD student reiterated the importance of effective communication skills, urging students to refine them as they are invaluable assets in both personal and professional realms. She stated, “Over the years, I have dedicated myself to honing this skill, and it has truly been my lifeline. She went on to illustrate a time when her child had an emergency on the day of her major exam, but through effective and timely communication with the instructor and all parties involved, the situation was handled fairly, enabling her to successfully complete the course. She added that because she is able to communicate effectively with her family and friends, understanding was reached, everyone was extremely supportive, and no one felt neglected. Encouraging women to dismiss the notion that children are too young to comprehend, she emphasised the importance of continuously engaging with their young ones. “I talk to their babies’ right from the womb and I keep the communication line open between us, which helps to build trust and foster a strong connection” she said.

Role of divine assistance in women’s success

She concluded by humbly attributing her achievements not only to her efforts but also to the grace of God upon her life. She expressed that amidst all challenges, God has been her ultimate source of strength, hope, and peace. Quoting the words of Apostle Paul in the Bible, she reflected, “Though I work really hard, yet I wouldn't say all my successes so far are solely by my efforts but indeed by the grace of God.” The audience was deeply inspired, leading to several questions from students seeking advice on navigating their unique challenges.

On the importance of prayer and daily study of scripture, she explained that prayer doesn't have to be daunting; it's simply having conversations with God, much like talking to a friend. “I can say for sure that prayer changes things”, she said. Additionally, she highlighted the benefits of studying scripture, which helps to counter negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. She suggested printing and posting scripture passages visibly around one's living space as a reminder of their affirming words.

She again acknowledged the significant role of her faith in navigating challenging times, highlighting her reliance on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. “Ultimately, the Holy Spirit has been my constant source of help,” she expressed. “I lean on Him for support in difficult situations, and I'm learning to invite His presence continually, ensuring I don't succumb to overwhelming circumstances.”

Establishing good communication with relatives

When asked about fostering understanding with unsupportive family members, she suggested adapting communication to fit the parent's personality and communication style. By empathising with their point of view and engaging in open, thorough discussions, mutual understanding and support can be nurtured. So, my advice would be to remain patient and initiate that conversation.

In response to a student's question about balancing academic commitments with a social life during university, Dr Temedie-Asogwa, emphasised effective time management and setting boundaries for a healthy balance. She also highlighted the importance of networking, recommending active participation on LinkedIn to cultivate connections.

Female pharmacists can navigate the industry for growth

When questioned about predominantly male-occupied sectors within Pharmacy where female could explore, she highlighted the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria, acknowledging its gender disparity, with a female to male ratio of approximately 1:3, she still urged interested women to consider it for growth opportunities, citing examples of successful females in the field and the exposure and training it offers.

Coping strategies for studying young mothers

One student expressed concern about handling overwhelming situations as a student-parent, especially during exam times. Dr Temedie-Asogwa shared her formula for coping, which included mindfulness practices, meditation, prayer, seeking support from friends and family, and utilizing counseling services when needed.

As the discussion progressed toward managing stress and its impact on mental health, the students became intrigued and requested further insights. She then shared a personal experience of adversity, recalling a time when she lost three loved ones within a short span during a challenging semester filled with exams and projects.

Despite facing these challenges, she persevered by employing coping strategies that proved effective for her. Highlighting these strategies, she stated that her suggestions were based on personal experience and should by no means be taken as professional advice. She further emphasized the importance of finding individualized methods for managing difficult situations.

Firstly, Temedie-Asogwa advocated practicing mindfulness, encouraging individuals to identify their emotions and their root causes. She described bringing her mind to the consciousness of her feelings and emotions, promoting self-reflection to pinpoint their source. By recognizing the root cause, she explained, finding a solution becomes easier. She emphasised the importance of self-kindness and self-compassion, suggesting treating oneself as one would a friend in a similar situation.

Next, she recommended frequent meditation to clear negative emotions and foster positivity. She highlighted the benefits of regular meditation in achieving this goal. She suggested accessing free meditation resources available on platforms like YouTube and allocating at least 10 minutes daily to this practice. While acknowledging the challenge of establishing a routine, she stressed the significance of intentionality and discipline in maintaining it despite busy schedules.

Essence of having a supportive network of friends, professionals

In addition, Temedie-Asogwa underscored the significance of having a supportive network of friends and family. She recalled occasions where they offered invaluable assistance, stating, “I have had friends who sometimes cried with me, others who provided encouragement and spoke life into me when I was feeling down. Some even prayed for me, and vice versa. There were times when friends and family members took my kids away for a few hours so I could have a moment to breathe and focus on my studies. I also had a friend who helped pick up my kids from school and cared for them until I returned, allowing me to attend a scientific conference where I presented my research.”

Finally, she stressed the benefits of seeking professional help when needed and finding solace in community support. “Talking to a therapist and connecting with a supportive community can be incredibly beneficial,” she said. “I remember seeking grief counseling at my school's counseling and psychological unit, which helped me navigate my emotions during difficult times.”

Her message sparked a renewed spirit of determination and resilience as attendees left, empowered to tackle obstacles and pursue their goals. Temedie-Asogwa final words reiterated her belief in everyone's ability to overcome challenges and succeed. With a hopeful and empowering message, she urged students to persist in their pursuits, affirming that their resilience and determination would ultimately lead them to triumph.

 

Kemi Ogunyemi is our March Personality

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Mrs Kemi Ogunyemi

Mrs Kemi Ogunyemi is the special adviser to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on health. A compassionate nurse, with over 30 years’ experience, she was a commissioner at the Lagos State Health Service Commission for two consecutive terms. In this role, she executed recruitment and training of all health personnel in 27 Lagos State General Hospitals.

A cancer nurse specialist, with over 25 years’ experience, she holds a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and another in Nursing, from the University of Phoenix, USA. Professionally registered in both the US and the UK, Ogunyemi has been at the forefront of cancer care and the promotion of healthcare services in the US, UK and Nigeria.

With extensive knowledge in hospital administration policies and strategies, Ogunyemi has been able to successfully establish healthcare units internationally and in Nigeria. She was a member of many hospital and healthcare committees during her time in the US and the UK.

She has held many positions of leadership, such as unit director, Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta, Georgia; and unit manager/lead chemotherapy nurse, Haematology/Oncology Outpatients Department, at the Royal Free Hospital, London. She also published a poster presentation on the management of patients receiving high dose Interleukin2 at the Oncology Nursing Society Conference, in Orlando, Florida, in 2005.

An adept trainer, Ogunyemi has successfully implemented the training of all employees in the secondary health facilities in Lagos State on customer service and attitudinal change. Her passion for women and children’s health led to her founding of Alfo Healthcare Initiative, an NGO dedicated to the promotion of quality healthcare for underprivileged women and children.

Ogunyemi is also a public speaker and has been invited to conferences and events to enlighten and create awareness on the attainment of the well woman.

Ogunyemi, who has continued to demonstrate excellent leadership skills, has won many awards, including the Transformational Leadership Award, in 2008.

She is happily married, with children.