There seems to be an end in sight to some of the perennial challenges bedeviling the Nigerian healthcare sector, as members of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) have identified likely technological solutions to the issues in the sector. Although they acknowledged the existence of a technological gap in the sector, but they maintained that if all practitioners will scale up their practice digitally, then the solutions will be easy to achieve.
The pharmacists, who converged at the main hall of De-Peace Hotel and Suites, Ilorin, Kwara State for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Annual National Conference of AHAPN, highlighted a long list of digital applications that could enhance a seamless drug circulation process, which will also assist in real time tracking of fraudulent vendors and quacks in the industry.
In his keynote address, Prof. Prof Patrick O Erah, Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacy Practice, University of Benin, Benin City, mentioned a number of these solution oriented apps that can enhance the improvement of Pharmacy practice to include; Prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP); spencer; medplan; digiceutical app, medwIse risk score; telepharmacy, artificial intelligence; Electronic Health Records (EHR) Analytics; Robotics process automation, Robotics dispensing; Computerised order & records system, virtual healthcare among others.
He asserted that if all these technologies are effectively put in place in the healthcare industry, especially as it relate to hospital practice, problems like chaotic drug distribution, handwriting medication error, inability to follow-up patients, and many more will be tracked and overcome in no time.
According to him “Technological innovations have the potential to improve the practice of pharmacy, as well as the effectiveness, safety and efficiency of healthcare. New technologies have allowed pharmacists to have more time work with other health professionals .This helps to improve operational, compliance, clinical, regulatory, and financial performances. In some developed countries (eg, US and UK), close to 100% of hospitals and community pharmacies have access to patients’ care records”.
Appreciating all members for their cooperation from the inception of his administrqaion, AHAPN National Chairman, Dr Kingsley Amibor, expressed his profound gratitude to his members as he was winding up his tenure. He also went down memory lane, to recap his 8-Agenda of rebranding and improving pharmacy practice in the hospital settings, which have all been met.
He listed some of his achievements as follows : approval of Consultancy cadre for pharmacists, production of new set of specialised pharmacists by the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP); production of a maiden directory of AHAPN members, introduction of annual pharmaceutical care service competition, approval obtained from the Federal Ministry of Health for all federal health institutions to commence compounding and manufacturing units in all pharmacy departs, extension of retirement age of civil servants in health sector from 60 to 65, while that health consultants has been moved from 65 to 70, expediting of action by the FMoH on DRF, and several others.
The outgoing AHAPN’s leader, however urged incoming national chairman to raise the bar digitally from where he will stopped, noting that “we are in a technologically, and it will best for all members to fly on the wings of technology, for the advancement of the association”.
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, also charged the pharmacists on living up to the expectations of their roles in the hospital, emphasing the need for them to be more caring and compassionate, as patients expect solution to their problems.
“Before I knew a community pharmacist, industrial pharmacist and pharmacists in the academia, I had known an hospital pharmacist, because he is the window of the hope to patients. You occupy a very unique position in the Society, therefore the onus is on you to justify your position to the world ”he charged.
The occasion witnessed a massive turnout of dignitaries who graced the ceremony, among whom were the Governor of Kwara State, ably represented by Dr Abukakah Ayinla; PSN) Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa; Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye: Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Dr NAE Mohammed; Emir of Ilorin, ably represented by Alhaji Mohammed Adebayo Aliyu Balogun Gambari; Commissioner for Health Ilorin, ably represented by Dr Abukakah Ayinla and others.