Community pharmacists are playing inispensable roles in disease prevention and management, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East Senatorial District, has said.
Ashafa, who was chairman of the 2017 Community Pharmacists Day, held recently by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Chapter, at Oba Ayangburen Palace, Ikorodu, Lagos, said community pharmacists are making invaluable contributions to effective medication use.
The senator who was represented by Dr Rotimi Adesanya, head of his medical team, commended the ACPN for its unrelenting efforts at bringing healthcare services closer to the people at the grassroots, saying the role and contributions of community pharmacists in healthcare delivery cannot be overemphasised.
Speaking further, Ashafa noted that the theme of the programme, “Building a Healthy Nation: Role of Community Pharmacists”, was timely, as the country’s vision of becoming one of the leading 20 economies of the world by the year 2020 is closely tied to the development of its human capital through the health sector.
Ashafa however lamented that while the government continues to work towards achieving globally acceptable standards, the health indicators in Nigeria have remained below internationally set benchmarks, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He also bemoaned the alarming rate of drug abuse and misuse in the country, describing it as a threat to national development.
“Drugs like codeine, tramadol and others are being used as stimulants and narcotics by a large number of our youths. To this end, I sponsored a motion on the floor of the senate which was on ‘Involvement in Illicit and Global Drug Trade and Increase in Domestic Abuse by Nigerian Youths’ and a bill for the amendment of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act. These legislative interventions seek to ensure that we overcome drug abuse in Nigeria,”Ashafa said.
Echoing the views of Senator Ashafa on the role of community pharmacists, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who was represented by Pharm. Bisi Omolara, described community pharmacists as the most accessible among healthcare providers, saying the practitioners play positive role and have great impact on health behaviours of all Nigerians.
Earlier in her address at the event, chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh, noted that the theme of the event was chosen to reflect the important role of community pharmacists in the society, adding that globally, community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals, noting that the role of pharmacists has evolved from that of providers of medicine to that of providers of care.
Explaining the vital role of community pharmacists further, Paul-Ozieh told the audience that only healthy people that can be wealthy, as it is only healthy people that can offer services that will create wealth.
“As medication experts, it is our responsibility to help you avoid medication use errors and promote self-care, and we are also your partner in health and sickness because we offer products for both curative and preventive care,” she said.
The ACPN boss advised Ikorodu residents who thronged the venue in their numbers to patronise only registered pharmacies whenever there is need for them to access drugs, adding that they should look out for the Green Cross neon sign emblem of community pharmacy outlets, which she said is the only way to know a genuine and registered pharmacy.
In his appreciation message to the ACPN, the Oba of Ikorodu, HRM, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, who graced the event with his wife, thanked community pharmacists in the state on the good job they are doing and urged them not to relent in their efforts.
He also promised to ensure that the people of the community are continuously enlightened on the dangers associated with consumption of counterfeit drugs.
The highpoint of the event was the free counselling and screening of people at the event on health conditions like HIV, blood sugar, blood pressure, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, dental check and tuberculosis.
Dignitaries at the event included Dr Albert Kelong Alkali, national chairman, ACPN, who was represented by Pharm. Bosede Idowu; Dr. Gbola Olayiwola, head, Dept of Clinical Pharmacy and Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, who was the Keynote Speaker; Dr. Owolabi Salu, medical director, Diphilab Vision Care and Optical Services, Ikorodu; ASP Olajide Olasunkanmi; ASP Mathias Amadi; Chief. Kaoli Olunsanya, the Ashipa of Ikorodu; Hon. Princess Folasade Olabanji, vice-chairman, Ikorodu Local Government; Hon. Ayodele Elesho, former commissioner for information, Lagos State; Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, chairman, Board of Trustees, Lagos State PSN; Pharm. Bola Adeniran, chairman, PSN, Lagos State and Dr. Femi Olaleye among others.