Inter-Professional Collaboration should begin at Undergraduate Level – President, PANS-UI

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Ibrahim Adeshina Akinpelu

In this exclusive interview, Ibrahim Adeshina Akinpelu, president of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS), University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan, Oyo State, lends his voice to the call for better collaboration among Nigerian healthcare professionals. The 500-Level scholar also speaks on his foray into PANS politics, the achievements and the challenges of his administration, as well as the positive impacts of Pharm D on pharmacy education in Nigeria. Excerpts:

What do you think is the reason many students who settle for Pharmacy often opt first for Medicine? 

Medicine has always been painted and preached to us as the “holy grail”. The prestige, the white garment, the money, the stability, the respect for intelligence, and many others, were a few reasons many of us considered Medicine.

Why did you join PANS politics in school?

This question always makes me remember a symposium I attended in 200 level, when Pharm. Jimi Agbaje, the former Lagos State governorship aspirant came to our school. He said, “The decision we make, for good or for bad, at the political table, affects all lives. If you want to effect change, be at the decision table.” That first spurred me on.

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I have always wanted to have a good impact on a large scale and be in charge of matters that affect lives, mine included, as well as a passion to serve.

What specific things should PANS be doing to contribute to pharmacy education in Nigeria?

There should be more interdisciplinary collaboration in healthcare, even for undergraduates. Let us solidify our rapport with other healthcare students – medical students, dental students, nursing students, and others. So that, when we get out into real practice, our collaboration for patient care is smooth.

There should also be secondary school awareness programmes, to enlighten aspiring students of Pharmacy on what to know and the benefits of the profession.

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It can be tough combining studies with active involvement in other activities. How have you been coping as PANS president?

Time management has always been key for me. I have been an active member of PANS activities since entering pharmacy school. However, the presidential position demands a lot. I regularly de-stress and take time for recreation. I also have an amazing team of executives.

What achievements have you recorded and what challenges have you encountered so far?

We have recorded notable milestones. We were able to hold the Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi Competition, an annual event that had not been held in three years prior. We solidified our participation in PANS national events. We were able to incorporate clubs for research, mental health, scholarships and grants for students.

Majorly, we always face challenges of sponsorship, especially with the present economic situation. Then, there are sometimes roadblocks to our ideas.

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Are there peculiar challenges associated with studying Pharmacy at UI?

The calendar is a rigorous one. Our conformity with the university calendar makes it almost daunting and tiresome. I will advocate for pharmacy school, and UI, pushing for a different calendar from the normal university schedule.

Many schools of pharmacy in the country are upgrading to PharmD. How would you react to this development?

It is a great development. The set after me is also the pioneer set running the PharmD curriculum. Their curriculum is well-spaced and versed in clinical knowledge right from the onset.

Where do you see PANS- UI in the next five years?

Still the best pharmacy school in the west. A lot will be incorporated as we transition into the PharmD curriculum positively. It should be the leading student association and still the defending champions of the Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi Debate Competition

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