The President, West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), Distinguished Professor Cecilia Igwilo, has stated the need for the West African Region to look inward and focus on local drug production, in order to attain drug security.
Speaking in Lagos at a press briefing preceding the college’s 34th Scientific Symposium and Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, Prof. Igwilo emphasised the essence of drug security in boosting citizens’ health, saying there is urgent need for professionals in the region to brainstorm and come up with strategies that will enhance drug self-sufficiency.
The theme of the WAPCP conference scheduled to hold from Monday, 16 May to Thursday 19 May, 2022, at Welcome Centre Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, is “Medicine Security in the West Africa Region: Matter Arising”. Prof. Igwilo said the institution painstakingly selected the theme to enable stakeholders in the region’s pharmaceutical sector to have a robust discussion leading to drug sufficiency.
The Secretary General of the College, Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba, explained the vision of the college is to become an international centre of excellence in post graduate education training and practice in Africa. He added that the college is working in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and other similar bodies in the region to fill any noticed gap in training and education.
Currently, the member countries of the college are Nigeria, Ghana, the Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Prof. Oreagba said the college has made several impacts in the region and will continue to make efforts that will ensure that Pharmacy profession and pharmaceuticals get to the greater height.
Also speaking ahead of the forthcoming 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Symposium, the Chairman of the Nigeria Chapter of the College, Pharm.(Dr) Margaret Obono, noted that the college was worried by what the West African region experienced during COVID-19 lockdown, because there was scarcity of drugs.
“We decided to focus on drug security during this year’s AGM/Scientific Symposium to see how we can secure our medicines and produce drugs locally, so that if anything happens in the future, we will not be running to other countries to look for people that will give us medicines to take care of patients. We must begin to plan on how to produce our drugs within the West African Region.
“We are going to discuss what we need to do to start producing our own drugs within the region. We are going to involve the government and let them know that there are manufacturers within the region. We need to tell the governments in the region why we need to produce locally within the West Africa Region”, Obono said.
According to Obono, the keynote speaker of the symposium is the Managing Director, SKG Pharma, Pharm. (Dr) Okey Akpa. The sub-themes for the event are: Achieving Medicine Security through Resilient Logistics and Supply Chain Management System, and Role of Consultant Pharmacists in Ensuring Medicine Security in the West African Region.
Obono said key government representatives in all member countries have been invited to be part of the event. According to her, the invited guests to attend the event include: the Nigeria Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in Nigeria (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Farouk Salim as well as the commissioners of health in states among others.
In her remarks, the Chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Pharm. Ngozi Onuorah, said the desire of the committee is to make the 2022 AGM and Symposium the best in the history of the college, adding that many government representatives and top stakeholders in pharmaceutical sector are expected to grace the event.