The Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, has started various research works aimed at developing pharmaceutical raw materials that will help accelerate growth of the pharmaceutical sector.
Speaking with Pharmanews recently in an interview, Dean of the faculty, Professor M. A. Akanmu noted that the faculty, being the foremost faculty of pharmacy in the country, has continued on the pedestal of academic excellence on which it began several years ago. He noted that the faculty’s philosophy is to produce graduates with a wide range of scientific, professional and managerial competence who will serve the needs of their communities, as well as demonstrate sufficient adaptability to meet the demands of a changing healthcare delivery system.
In his words: “The objectives of the faculty’s pharmacy education are to equip graduates with knowledge required to perform all the pharmaceutical services in industry, health institutions, academia and so on; and to train postgraduate students in Pharmacy.
The good thing is that these stated objectives have indeed been met by the faculty over the years, in spite of the constraints to optimal functioning.”
Akanmu reiterated that the faculty believes that pharmacy education should not only meet academic and scientific standards but also be of relevance to the community. He added that, in view of this, the faculty has made research works a priority, stressing that the five departments in the faculty are currently pursuing about 26 different research works that are capable of making big impacts, not just in the academic environment, but also in the entire country.
The dean also stated that the different departments of the faculty have established research collaborations with institutions both within and outside the country, noting that there are several research publications to verify the authenticity of the collaborations.
Explaining further, Akanmu said there are two ongoing research works in the Department of Pharmacognosy, with one titled “Phytochemical evaluation of antidiabetic, antimalarial plants, larvicidal plants and plants used in sickle cell disorders and depression/neurodegenerative disorders”. The other, he said, is a combination studies of malarial herb-drug interaction.
He revealed that, in the Department of Pharmacology, there are five ongoing research works, namely: “Toxicological screening of medicinal plants extracts for safety profiling”; “Neuropharmacological assessment of medicinal plants extracts”; “Effects of medicinal plants extracts on malaria parasites”; “Screening medicinal plants extracts for ability to mitigate neurological syndrome in cerebral malaria” and “Effects of medicinal plants extracts on Alzheimer”.
Similarly, he said, in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, five research works are ongoing, which are: “Natural product chemistry of Nigerian medicinal plants”; “Pharmacogenomics study on the Nigerian population”; “Pharmacokinetic study of some orthodox medicine on Nigerian market”; “Antimalarial chemotherapeutic intervention studies”; and “HIV/AIDS chemotherapeutic intervention studies”.
He noted that seven research works are ongoing in the Department of Pharmaceutics, there are seven ongoing research works. They are: “Studies on the modifications that affect the functionality of locally sourced material for use as excipients in pharmaceutical formulations: Modified release system against catheter-associated biofilm”; “Formulation studies on pharmaceutical powders and development of excipients from local sources”; “Formulation studies on the use of polymers in controlled sustained release technology”; and “Formulation studies of dosage forms: liquid, semisolid and solid; emulsions, suspensions, suppositories, effervescent tablets”;
Others are: “Antibiotic resistance in local bacteria isolates: Genetics, Pathogenicity and Drug Resistance of Clinically Significant bacterial pathogens with focus on Escherichia coli and Staphylococci”; “Development of effective antimicrobial agents from natural products and synthetic agents for use in the management of antibiotic resistant pathogens and infectious diseases”; and “Stewardship practices in local health care settings, veterinary, primary, secondary and tertiary hospitals”.
The dean revealed that five studies are also ongoing in the Drug Research & Production Unit of the faculty. These include: “Chemical studies of some Nigerian medicinal plants with anti-infective cytotoxic and CNS activities”; “Investigation of medicinal plants as source of drugs for the management of malaria infection, microbial infection, sickle cell disease, Alzheimer’s disease”; “Neuropharmacological studies of some Nigerian medicinal plants”; “Antiparasitic and Larvicidal properties of some Nigerian Medicinal Plants”; and “Preparation, characterisation and evaluation of particulate formulations of anti-infection agents for application in combination antimicrobial therapy”.
Akanmu added that, apart from the ongoing research efforts, the faculty is currently working on the upgrading of its production facilities for the production of some herbal products coming out of its research works, adding that work is also going on to register some external preparations like soap, sanitizers and other products with NAFDAC, while some have already been registered.
The dean however called on the government to provide funding for pharmacy schools in the country to establish pilot drug production factories. He also said government must provide an enabling environment that will encourage collaboration between the academia and pharmaceutical industries, even as he called on Nigeria pharmacists to work collaboratively in order to meet the healthcare needs of the country.