The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kwara State Chapter, under the chairmanship of Pharm. Adejuwon Otelaja, has recently awarded Six Hundred and Fifty thousand naira, (N650,000) in grants to nine beneficiaries of its Educational Grant Scheme, which was instituted to empower pharmacists in the state who are currently enrolled at Masters, PhDs, as well as Fellowship programmes.
While speaking at the event which was held at the PSN Secretariat, Ilorin, Kwara State, Pharm. Otelaja, noted that the scheme was instituted by his administration, to support Kwara pharmacists that are currently enrolled in different programmes at Masters and PhD levels as well as the fellowship of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), as a way of encouraging them to aspire to build their capacities, to take up more challenges and help lift the profession.
Speaking further, he said the successful candidates were selected after a thorough screening process by a committee headed by Dr Mohammed Amali, the Dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ilorin and made up of seasoned academics and Fellows of the WAPCP.
While presenting the cheques to the beneficiaries, Otelaja noted the presentation was the second edition under his administration, adding that adequate funding and empowerment was necessary for continuous growth as well as stability of the healthcare sector.
“In this second edition of the scheme, 2 PhD students received cheques of N100,000 each; 4 Fellowship Students at the WAPCP received cheques of N75,000 each while 3 Masters degree students received cheques of N50,000 each,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Amali, chairman of the Screening Committee, said that the selection process was open and transparent, adding that the nine recipients were the best and were considered.
According to Amali, the innovation of supporting the practitioners in the state in the form of scholarship grants, which started in 2020 was new as it has never been done before in the past and in the history of Kwara PSN. “The Otelaja led executive committee felt that it was important that pharmacists within the state should be able to benefit from the resources of Kwara PSN, primarily to enhance their professional growth and development in form of improving their professional competence.
“Talking about the criteria for picking the awardees, eight members of the committee which were drawn from all arms of PSN sat and specified some criteria to be considered before an individual is considered a winner. We put in place the mechanism to detect if any of the awardees is under any other form of funding.
“We also assessed their contributions to PSN, Kwara State, as well as the technical groups they belong to and points were awarded for that. So, we gathered all the points, and those with the highest points were selected. So, it was very strict and we ensure that all the selected satisfied the minimum requirement
“To God be the glory, all the awardees have been worthy ambassadors of the PSN Kwara. Therefore, we call on other well-meaning individuals who see a need for this cause to also assist so that the association can do better than it’s presently doing. This is a good gesture, although it is unfortunate that good concepts like this don’t usually sell in the country, it will be appreciated if more organisations and associations key into a laudable idea of this nature”, he stated.
One of the beneficiaries, Joseph Ole, responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, said that the grant was well appreciated and that they would make judicious use of the grants, work hard to achieve the desired results and continue to contribute meaningfully to the development of pharmacy practice in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
According to Ole, a PhD student at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, the grant came at the right as it met a need. “I have been thinking of how to get a Phone Tab to complement my laptop so as to further enhance my academic pursuit, but the fifty thousand naira I had with me was not enough, but the hundred thousand naira grant from the Kwara PSN came at the right time and I really appreciate it,” he said.