Pharm. (Mrs) Modupe Ologunagba is the outgoing chairperson of the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) Lagos State Chapter. In this chat with Pharmanews, Ologunagba and few of her executives revealed to Temitope Obayendo, the secrets behind their successes, and some of the bottlenecks encountered during their four-year tenure. Excerpts:
PHARM. OLOGUNAGBA, CHAIRMAN, ALPs-LAGOS
How has it been steering the ship of ALPs for the past four years?
It’s been a period of learning for me, a period of experience and a period of challenge. However, I am grateful to God and to the members of the association, who gave me the period to serve in that capacity.
What challenges did you encounter?
The most challenging issue was membership mobilisation. Our meetings were scantily attended by ALPians, who unfortunately formed the majority of the national ALPs; but they were hardly available for our meetings and programmes. That was the initial bottleneck. But this has improved with the passing of months and years.
How were you able to resolve this challenge?
I employed the strategy of engagement. I was able to commit the few members readily available with assignments of heading committees for our programmes, using the slogan: ‘We must join hands to ensure we project the image of ALPs, and protect the interest of the association’. And this has gone a long way in helping us. We discovered that once we involve members in committees, they release themselves totally for the job.
Secondly the Whatsapp platform helped a great deal in improving our membership. Once a message is communicated through the medium, members respond speedily. Through this also, members in Diaspora started seeing our socio-economical programmes and they started showing interest in them.
What would you identify as the core achievements of your four-year tenure?
I and the members of my executive committee have been able to take ALPs a step further in the area of community outreaches, community intervention programmes, and diseases awareness creation. We engaged in cancer awareness programme, which was created among TBAs sometime last year; school moral campaigns, etc.
My tenure has also delved into documentation and research on current issues. For every activity we undertake, we back it up with research to know the impact of the programme. Much more, the average Lagos ALPian is now happy to identify with the association, but this was not the situation in the past.
Would it be right to attribute economic downturn as the reason for limited participation of members in ALPs activities?
Well, our membership fee is very affordable to the average ALPian, and we have been able to manage our little contribution to organise our programmes. However, we have been having support from corporate organisations and individuals that share same vision with the association. Our meetings are tailored towards capacity building, and members learn how to think out of the box.
Where would you like to see ALPs in the next five years?
To ensure that ALPs is an acronym that every household in Lagos knows, and what it stands for.
What is your advice to the newly inducted pharmacists from the Pharmacy Faculty, UNILAG?
They should key into ALPs, because ALPs has a lot to offer them in the area of mentorship. Learning should not be stopped; they should carve out niches for themselves, depending on their area of interests. That is where ALPs will assist them. The adult ALPians in community practice, hospital practice, industry and so on will help coach these youngsters.
PHARM. ABIMBOLA FALOPE LAWAL, P.R.O., ALPS-LAGOS
In what ways has joining ALPs impacted your life?
ALPs is another family for me. Joining ALPs has made a great impact on my life. I have met a lot of mentors, who are exceptional role models. I have met women pharmacists who have been able to combine different roles as mothers, leaders, mentors, and I have learnt a lot from them
As a female pharmacist, you can be a leader, role model, and an accomplished lady. Also as one of the executives, it afforded me the opportunity to meet dignitaries – first ladies, commissioners, DPSs, etc. – whom I wouldn’t have been able to meet on my own. In fact, I am blessed to be an ALPian, and more especially, to be part of this outgoing executives.
As the P.R.O., what significant contributions were you able to make to the association?
I joined the executive as the assistant PRO, and we initiated the Whatsapp platform, which has been a great medium of communication for us. We also built digital presence on social media – Facebook and Instagram – which has enhanced our internal and external communications a great deal.
I have been able to acquaint the leading Nigerian lady pharmacist in the UK, Pharm. Arikawe, with our programmes and activities, and she has given us her word that she will see us any time she is around, to contribute her quota to the group. Bye and large, I think Lagos ALPs is going higher and higher by the day.
PHARM. OLUROMBI ADELEKE, SECRETARY, ALPs-LAGOS
How would you assess the performance of the outgoing executives?
I was the assistant secretary, when I joined this crop of leadership, and later became the secretary after the former secretary left. Before I became a member of ALPs, I used to think that ALPs was all about ‘aso ebi’; but after I became a member as well as an executive, I discovered ALPs is more than that. It is a voluntary organisation, whose activities are tailored towards impacting the society.
This outgoing crop of leadership has done well in enlightening women, students and other members of the society on disease awareness, moral education, socio-economic initiatives, and others. In all, I will give them a pass mark.