For the first time since its establishment in 2014, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) has entered into a partnership with a non-health sector group- the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) towards the creation of awareness around the COVID-19 pandemic as well as demystifying various conspiracy theories surrounding the infection.
The coalition, in a virtual event held on Tuesday inaugurated the Special COVID-19 Committee with Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, Pharmanews Publisher, as chairman; Mr Azubuike Ishiekwene, MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview Magazine, as co-chairman and Mary Atolagbe, publicity secretary. Others are Chima Ogbu, secretary; Busayo Abolarin, assistant secretary and Dr Lolu Ojo, director of programmes.
In his keynote address, NAPharm. President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, stressed the need for collaboration in the fight against the pandemic as a particular group may not have all it takes to create the necessary impact in the war against COVID-19.
He emphasised pharmacists’ roles in the pandemic but explained that these functions could be better enhanced through a partnership for proper penetration of the society and breaking of new grounds.
“This is the first time that a non-health sector group has been chosen as partners to underscore the need to create awareness around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We strongly believe that much more can be achieved together if we pool resources together in such a way that we amplify the good and debunk the bad.
“Pharmacists’ have a role to play and have to be seen as playing that role, and one way to penetrate the public is to bring in the media.
“COVID-19 is a crisis and we have been exposed to it, but we must not let the opportunity waste away because this is our chance to break new grounds.
“We need to tackle the issues; that COVID-19 is real and that it is propelling the fear factor among a section of the population,” he said.
Sir Atueyi, vice-president, NAPharm had earlier welcomed participants to the inauguration which was attended by pharmaceutical professionals, researchers, academia and members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
He explained the rationale behind the inauguration of the academy’s COVID-19 Special Committee which was to assist the Federal Government’s efforts at curtailing the spread of the pandemic.
Atueyi chronicled the activities of the academy from inception on 26 June 2014 till date with 47 members to 82 members presently, as it has facilitated various reforms in the tertiary institutions, hosted a pharmacy education summit, provided mentoring and guidance to young pharmacists through various programmes, recognised notable Nigerian leaders who have made meaningful contributions in the country, fostering inter-professional collaboration among Nigeria’s healthcare professionals, among others.
“Since it was founded on June 26, 2014, NAPHARM has contributed to efforts leading to some milestones in the overall health delivery value chain in Nigeria.
“We started with 47 members and now we have 82 members of the academy.In those years, we have facilitated reforms in the tertiary institutions, hosted a pharmacy education summit and provided mentoring and guidance to young pharmacists through various programmes,” he said.
In his own contribution, the President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Isah Mustapha, commended NAPharm for taking a collaborative approach to its COVID-19 response mechanism.