Leverage New Frontiers to Drive UHC, Omatseye Charges Pharmacists



Pharm. (Mrs) Clare Omatseye

The Vice-President, African Healthcare Federation (AHF), Pharm. (Mrs) Clare Omatseye, has charged pharmacists in Nigeria and the West African sub-region to begin leveraging new frontiers in the pharma space to drive universal health coverage (UHC), saying this will ensure that every citizen has access to quality healthcare delivery.

Such frontiers, according to Omatseye, include the emerging technologies in healthcare and the roles of research and development; collaboration and partnership; as well as the introduction of innovative pharmaceutical solutions.

Omatseye, who gave the charge while delivering the keynote address at the maiden edition of Pharma West Africa exhibition, held in Lagos recently, emphasised that all pharmacists must recognise the significance of universal health coverage. She reiterated that it is not a privilege but a fundamental human right.

The AHF VP, who lamented that millions of people in Nigeria and across Africa still lack access to essential health services and medicines, said pharmacists have a pivotal role to play in bridging the gap between patients and the healthcare system.

While admitting that the current healthcare landscape in Nigeria and Africa presents numerous challenges, from inadequate infrastructure to high costs of medicines, the MD/CEO of JNC International Ltd noted that recent governmental determination to unlock the pharmaceutical value chain has ignited a wave of optimism regarding opportunities within the Nigerian pharmaceutical market.

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She averred that Nigeria remains a promising landscape for companies that can approach it with pragmatism, while possessing the capability to craft innovative strategies attune to the Nigerian context and the unique journeys of local patients.

According to Omatseye, the incorporation of pharmaceutical innovation through Big Data, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence, stands as a pivotal tool in shaping pharmaceutical systems that are capable of bolstering the advancement of universal health coverage.

She revealed that the landscape of pharmaceutical innovation is expanding beyond traditional drug discovery and development, stating that emerging areas such as gene therapy, personalised medicine, and digital health are redefining what is possible in healthcare.

According to her, understanding the new frontiers involves not just recognising the scientific breakthroughs but also appreciating the regulatory, ethical, and market implications as well as the impact on universal health coverage.

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On emerging technologies in the pharmaceutical landscape, Omatseye said: “Technology is the driving force behind many of the latest pharmaceutical innovations. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are revolutionising drug discovery by predicting how different compounds will behave in the body, significantly reducing the time and cost of bringing new drugs to market. Robotics and automation are increasing efficiency in drug manufacturing, allowing for more consistent quality and lower production costs.

“Big data analytics is another area transforming the pharmaceutical landscape. By analysing vast datasets, companies can uncover new drug targets, predict drug efficacy, and optimise clinical trial designs. This data-driven approach is not only enhancing the drug development process but also improving patient outcomes by facilitating more effective and personalised treatments.”

On strategic partnerships, the JNC boss said: “Collaborations and partnerships are becoming increasingly important. Pharmaceutical companies are partnering with biotech firms, academic institutions, and even tech giants to leverage their respective expertise and resources. These collaborations can take various forms, from joint ventures and licensing agreements to research collaborations and strategic alliances. Such partnerships are particularly crucial for exploring new therapeutic areas or integrating new technologies.”

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Omatseye further stated that the pace of digital innovation in healthcare over the past decade has accelerated exponentially, noting that researchers and entrepreneurs have continued to provide innovative solutions with huge impacts to provide a more efficient healthcare delivery system that often comes from thinking “out of the box”.

She opined that the emergence of new frontiers in pharmaceuticals, including innovative technologies and research breakthroughs, holds the promise of revolutionising healthcare delivery and improving health outcomes for all.

To harness the power of the new frontiers in the pharma space and drive universal health coverage effectively, Omatseye said “this entails ensuring we close the gaps on accessibility and affordability of medicines, empowering pharmacists as key healthcare providers, addressing regulatory and policy challenges and strengthening healthcare infrastructure.”

She argued that by embracing innovative technologies, expanding pharmacy services, and adopting collaborative approaches, pharmacists can play a central role in improving patient outcomes, advancing access to quality healthcare and achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria and Africa.


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