Pharm. (Dr) Daniel Orumwense, a contender for the office of the president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, is the director and head of department, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. He is also an adjunct lecturer of Clinical Pharmacy in the Faculty of Pharmacy, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, as well as a dissertation supervisor and clerkship preceptor of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP).
In this exclusive interview with Pharmanews, Orumwense highlights his programmes for pharmacists, if elected PSN president. Excerpts:
You contended for the post of the PSN president in 2018 and you are still in the race for the 2021 election. What is the propelling force behind your ambition?
The propelling force, simply put, is my desire to serve man and to serve God. My faith, as a Catholic, makes me to understand that we serve God through service to mankind. In this case, it will be through Pharmacy as a profession.
Also, I believe that I have the ideas, the requisite leadership qualities, the will and the strength to turn around the fortunes of the PSN and to make the Society more responsive to matters concerning the community, our country, and individual pharmacists. Indeed, I have done some introspection and I came to the conclusion that I can make a huge difference that will impact positively on lives.
Going through my profile, you will see that I have served and still serving the Society in various capacities – as PRO, DPS, chairman or member of committees. I am not tired; I am not expired. This time, I want to serve the Society at the highest level of our profession. Therefore, I am propelled to contest for the office of president for the purpose of creating a PSN that works for all.
What objectives have you set for yourself, if elected to pilot the affairs of PSN as president?
My vision is to make the interest of the public and pharmacists uppermost in all considerations at all times. We will create a PSN that works for all. We pharmacists must prosper from the works of our hands for the benefit of society and to the glory of God.
We will advocate very strongly and pursue an agenda that will secure the assent of the president on the Pharmacy Council Bill. We will ensure that standard of practice will continuously be improved upon, as the highest standards of ethical practice will be encouraged.
I will facilitate the recognition of community pharmacists as primary healthcare providers and the community pharmacy as a primary healthcare centres; ensure that NHIS and other managed care schemes engage the services of pharmacists and that pharmacists are accordingly and appropriately remunerated. I will pursue pharmacist-initiated prescription rights, full implementation of the NDDG, local drug production to improve on the contribution of the pharma sector to the national gross domestic product (GDP), as well as gainful employment and improved status of pharmacists.
I will also work towards lower prices of medicines and pharmaceuticals, thereby improving affordability. Also to be pursued are safety of products and consumers; assured future for our all pharmacists, especially the younger ones; advocacy for a special salary scale for pharmacists or a single spine salary for all health workers, based on the 2009 job evaluation report.
How would you consolidate on the gains of Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa’s administration, if you emerge as PSN president?
I will build bridges of co-operation and collaboration within and outside the Society. I will build new partnerships and relationships. It is important to state that government and governance is a continuum; therefore, I will continue from where he stops. The policies and programmes of PSN will continue. We will review what we need to review with a view to strengthening the existing structures and building new ones, as may be required.
I intend to give specific assignments to holders of offices like the deputy presidents and unofficio members. We shall continue to employ the group and committee system to carry out our activities. This will give many a great sense of belonging. We shall recognise and reward hard work and loyalty to the society
I intend to make wide consultations across all sections of the Society – the technical/ interest groups, past presidents, the Board of Fellows etc. We will hold periodic town hall meetings in order to get some first-hand information from pharmacists. Attention will be given to all groups and their matters will be attended to promptly, with a view to addressing their concerns.
Also to be prioritised is actualisation of the proposed unionisation of the public sector pharmacists and ensuring that private sector pharmacists have a better deal and improved returns on investment. The Pharmacy Tower project will proceed as planned, and the Abuja project will get maximum attention. The secretariat will be strengthened for maximum effect. We will intensify effort to raise funds and apply same judiciously.
We will encourage colleagues to practise ethically. We will partner with the PCN, NAFDAC and other relevant agencies to sanitise the practice of Pharmacy and to check infiltrators and encroachers. We will enforce discipline and promote comradeship and fraternity within the society. Our mantra shall be “A PSN THAT WORKS FOR ALL”
We shall protect everyone and give hope to our young pharmacists for an assured, brighter and better future.