Professor Cyril Usifoh has been a stakeholder within the pharmacy family in Nigeria and beyond. An academic and astute supporter of the cause of the pharmacy profession, he is one of the strong contenders for the position of the national president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). In this exclusive interview with PATRICK IWELUNMOR, he unveils his plans for the PSN.
What are your plans for the PSN, if elected president?
My vision for PSN is a united and progressive pharmacy family, where pharmacists are increasingly relevant, respected and adequately remunerated for their invaluable contributions, networking with the healthcare team and other professionals for the growth and development of Nigeria.
We can achieve this by ensuring an enabling environment for pharmacists and the implementation of responsible use of medicines by building constructive partnership, increasing the visibility of PSN and pharmacists in the Nigerian and global environment, increasing the revenues of PSN to accomplish its mission and increasing effective communications with the core operating principles of accountability, professionalism and transparency.
Specifically, the following issues shall be in front burner under my presidency of PSN: ensuring assent to the pharmacy bill, institutionalising the PharmD programme and the consultant cadre agenda, establishment of the National Postgraduate College of Pharmacists to complement our consultant cadre agenda, while also working with NAFDAC, PCN and relevant stakeholders.
Others are: improving the visibility of pharmacists and pursuit of the pharmacy tower project and all other business concerns of PSN. I will provide a purpose-driven leadership for all technical and interest groups of PSN.
Why do you think you are the right man for the PSN presidency?
I am one of the few pharmacists who dotted the PSN National Council in, at least, four various capacities as chairman, PSN (Edo State), chairman, NAPA, editor-in-chief, PSN and dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin.
Therefore, I have the requite experience, exposure, acceptability, capacity and drive to deliver on the above agenda as PSN President.
What are your achievements within the pharmacy family in Nigeria?
I ensured the implementation of PharmD and graduated the first set of students in the University of Benin. I worked with the PSN executives and facilitated the full implementation of consultant pharmacist cadre in Edo State.
As editor-in-chief and subsequently chairman of the editorial board, I invigorated and improved the quality production of the Nigerian Journal of Pharmacy and ensured its online visibility, with acceptable scientific research publications.
I have mentored and supervised not less than 18 PhD students, five of whom are full professors and some others that are currently under assessments for promotion.
My research findings have found enormous value and are recognised nationally and internationally, leading to my recipient of the May and Baker Award for Professional Excellence. I presented several keynote addresses/presentations at national and international conferences, symposia and scientific meetings.
As PSN Chairman, I ensured that slots for internship were increased in Edo State and the remuneration for pharmacists registering community premises was the highest in the country. I have attracted grants (Tetfund, University, NGOs and international organisations) both for personal research and the University of Benin. I have secured international placement for postgraduate students out the country.
As an academic, do you think you will have the time for PSN activities?
My academic pursuits never hindered my service as PSN chairman, NAPA chairman and editor-in-chief. As a public servant and professor at the peak of my career, I have all the time to serve as president and, to the extreme, have the opportunity to request for leave of absence with pay. I strongly believe in teamwork and, as president, I will ensure that I delegate duties where necessary and monitor implementation.