– As over 800 community pharmacists attend ACPN 42nd annual conference
Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. (Chief) Sheriff Oborevwori, has led other stakeholders in the healthcare sector to charge pharmacists to forge a harmonious relationship with other healthcare professionals, in order to build a qualitative healthcare system that caters to the need of every Nigerian.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the recent 42nd Annual National Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), the governor, who was the guest of honour, said Universal Health Coverage is an attainable goal, once there is effective collaboration in the healthcare family.
The conference, which was held at the Dome Event Centre, Okpanam Road, Asaba, Delta State, was themed, “Building Effective Community Pharmacy Services For Universal Health Coverage”.
Oborevwori, who was represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Policy, Hon. (Chief) Solomon Funkekeme, said harmonious relationship among healthcare personnel would help in addressing challenges and exploring new opportunities that will lead to a healthier and more productive population.
He noted that, as frontline healthcare providers, community pharmacists particularly have a strategic role to play in the attainment of UHC. This, he said, can be achieved by continuing to ensure accessible and affordable healthcare for all, as well as serving as the bridge between the patients and the medical practitioners.
“Community pharmacists offer vital services in healthcare delivery, from dispensing medication to counselling patients on the proper usage of drugs, contributing significantly to disease prevention and health promotion,” Oborevwori said.
Speaking further, the governor assured that his administration would continue to partner with community pharmacists to improve healthcare delivery in the state, adding that the government would continue to expand the capacity of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission to maintain its leadership position in the country.
He said: “Obviously, community pharmacists have an important roles to play if the nation is to achieve its goal of Universal Health Coverage. So, as a government, we shall continue to leverage the knowledge, skill, and expertise of community pharmacists to deliver quality healthcare to our people because they are the bridge between patients and medical practitioners.”
Oborevwori added: “It is gratifying that this conference is focusing on Universal Health Coverage. Accessible and affordable healthcare is non-negotiable for a healthy, vibrant, and productive population. Health is life; hence, the implementation of the mandatory health insurance scheme must be pursued with vigour.
“I am happy that Delta State is doing very well in this regard. We are the first state to implement the mandatory health insurance scheme, with over 1.2 million enrolees. That makes us the only state that has achieved over 20 per cent coverage of its citizens in the health scheme.”
Also speaking at the event, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, averred that the theme of the conference aligned with the vision of a healthier and more inclusive society.
“As we continue to strive for healthcare equity and accessible services for all citizens, community pharmacists are at the forefront of making the vision a reality,” he said.
Usifoh further said it is through collaboration that positive change and quality of healthcare services across the nation can be driven and enhanced, adding that as the pharmaceutical landscape evolves, the practitioners must remain adaptable, receptive to new ideas, and willing to embrace advancements in technology and patient care.
“Let us seize this opportunity to strengthen the bond and camaraderie among providers, building a supportive network of professionals who can share knowledge, support one another, and foster mentorship,” he said.
In his keynote address, the Chief of Staff and Vice-President (U.S. Healthcare) Walgreens Boots Alliance, Dr Chidebelu Ufodike, asserted that it was time to re-imagine healthcare in Nigeria, adding that “to change the trajectory of care, we need a new kind of network, new points for engagement and care delivery model;, convenient, accessible, cost-effective, and connected care.”
Earlier, in his welcome address, the National Chairman, ACPN, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, noted that the theme of the conference was uniquely chosen in tandem with the current realities in the country, adding that the Asaba conference was being attended by over 800 delegates, several pharmaceutical companies. He disclosed that no fewer than 107 pharmacists had been trained in vaccine administration.
Highlights of the opening ceremony included presentation of prizes to the winners of the National Anti-Drug Abuse Students Competition, which was won by Early Grip High School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; with Junior Secondary School, Kurudu, Abuja, and Al-Maghili International Academy, Kano, coming second and third respectively.
There was also the official launch of the ACPN labelling machine and retail box.
The conference had in attendance several other personages from the health care sector and other walks of life, including Dr U.N.O. Uwaga, former president, PSN; Pharm. Anthony Aikhmien, former president, PSN; Pharm. Azubike Okwor, former president, PSN; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, former president, PSN; Dr Dere Awosika, chairman of the event, who was represented by Chief Paul Enebeli; Pharm. Ahmed Babashehu, registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN); and Pharm. Bridget Otote.
Others were Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, former national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. (Alh) Femi Adebayo, former national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Bode Ogunjemiyo, national chairman, AHAPN; Pharm. Ken Onuegbu, national chairman, NAIP; Dr Ejiro Foyibo, former national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola; Pharm. Olabanji Obideyi; Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator; Pharm. Bolanle Adeshina; Pharm. Gbenga Falabi; Pharm. Bola Oyawole, among others.