In its bid to ensure that there is adequate competent human capital through which it will continue to play its key role in the pharmaceutical industry and the health sector generally, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) has inducted 14 new Fellows into its fold.
The new Fellows were inducted at the investiture ceremony held on Thursday,7 September, 2023, at the J. F. Ade-Ajayi Main Auditorium, University of Lagos. According to the Chairman, Membership Committee of NAPharm, Pharm. Paul Enebeli, the new Fellows were selected across various areas of endeavours in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pharm. Enebeli, in his remark, said about 23 nominees were rigorously screened and only 14 out of the nominees scaled through the screening and made the inductees’ list. The newly inducted Fellows are Pharm. Abiola A. Adebayo; Dr Obi Peter Adigwe; Pharm. Uchenna Uzoma Apakama; Prof. Martins Ochubiojo Emeje.
Others are Pharm Olugbenga Adebayo Falabi; Prof. I. Brahim Iliya; Pharm. Aisha Tukur Isyaku; Pharm. Gbolagade Michael Iyiola; Pharm. Folashade Olufunke Lawal; Pharm. Ernest Ogbonna Okafor; Dr Emmanuel Azubuike Omehe; Prof. Patience Ogoamaka Osadebe; Pharm. Adewale Bamidele Oyenug; and Prof. Olufunke Adebola Sodipo.
While congratulating the new Fellows, the President of the academy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi charged them to start contributing their quotas to the academy and for the advancement of the pharmaceutical industry and the health sector at large.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi, a former minister of health, in his opening remark at the event, however, charged all pharmacists in the country to be more strategically and intentionally involved in contributing to the world of pharmaceutical and scientific research, stressing that there are still many grounds to conquer.
“We recognise that in the quest to halt the march of disease and other afflictions, we pharmacists need to be increasingly strategic and intentional about how we contribute to the world of pharmaceutical and scientific research in general. We continue to recognise, support, and motivate our colleagues who are at the frontlines of pharmaceutical and other forms of scientific research”, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi said.
The NAPharm president said the academy will ensure that the training of pharmacists will be attuned to contemporary trends, globally. He also charged pharmacists to leverage technology and wake up to the reality of Artificial Intelligence (AI), by embracing it jointly and severally with passion and purpose.
Adelusi-Adeluyi said the academy is mindful of the myriads of challenges facing the Nigerian pharma sector and the academy is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the challenges are examined and proffers suggestions for way forward, adding that that was what informed the selection of the theme of the 2023 investiture lecture titled “The Nigerian economy and the future of the pharmaceutical ecosystem” which was delivered by the Managing Director/CEO, JNC International Limited, Pharm. Clare Omatseye.
In her keynote address, Pharm. Omatseye spoke about the huge opportunities in the pharmaceutical ecosystem. She stated that Nigeria has a huge opportunity, yet the nation doesn’t have health sovereignty, considering what happened during the COVID-19 lockdown when there was no access to drugs and medical equipment coming into the country.
She noted that it is the responsibility of pharmacists to ensure that people have access to quality healthcare and it starts with the manufacturing of drugs in Nigeria without depending on other countries. Omatseye specifically pointed out that there is a huge opportunity in the pharmaceutical ecosystem but it is not all about having an opportunity but handling the opportunity well.
She acknowledged that there has been some roadmap and plan in place to reduce drug importation but there is a need for policy to make it a reality. She added that Nigeria as a nation also needs to think beyond being self-sufficient now, especially with the opportunity that is present in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
She advised that Nigeria should begin to think of becoming a net exporter of pharmaceutical products and medical consumables to other African countries. Pharm. Omatseye stated that NAPharm has a big responsibility to ensure that Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) are produced in the country and also influence the government to come up with policies that will reverse the negative trends in the pharma industry.
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola lamented the rate at which knowledge is deteriorating which makes it obvious that one single specialty cannot handle and optimise knowledge. She therefore called for collaboration in the health sector where doctors, pharmacists, and other professionals will collaborate to move the health sector forward.
In his remark, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh said the PSN would always support NAPharm because of the importance of what they are doing. They are the think tank of the society.
Prof. Usifoh stated that although a huge number of pharmacists are leaving the country every month, he is not losing hope in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry because there are huge opportunities in the industry waiting to be tapped.
“If you are not present in the place where decisions are made in the boardroom, you will only pick the crumbles and things that fell from the table. I want to challenge pharmacists, we must begin to be proactive and put things where they are supposed to be. We must begin to participate in the life, history, and activities of this country.
“We are tired of sitting down. It is time to move forward. We must not castigate people but state what we can do and state how we can do it. We need to let them know that pharmacists are the most trusted professionals not just in the United States but also in Nigeria”, Prof. Usifoh said.