…Kicks off 2021 Pharmacy Week in Grand Style
Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Oyo State Chapter, Pharm. Adegboyega Oguntoye, has stated that one of the most logical ways to solve a collective problem such as a pandemic is through the collaborative efforts of every stakeholder including government, policymakers and health professionals, as their synergy begins the end of any pandemic.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of this year’s Oyo State PSN Pharmacy Week, themed: “Pharmacists as Frontline Care Providers in Public Health, Epidemic and Pandemic”, held at the Gamaliel Onosode Banquet Hall, International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Oguntoye hinted that proximate to the crux of solving the most critical public health issues are healthcare professionals, government, and policymakers.
The Oyo PSN boss noted that even though there are brilliant health professionals, intelligent policymakers as well as governments, the brilliance across the board has never been luminous in a way that is telling of the summative skill of each individual, adding that segregation is one of the main reason things are the way they are.
“In our haste to shine, we have put gametes on a show and call them babies, and we forget that broomsticks are only effective in a bunch. This is a call to everyone whose actions are decisive to the Nigerian health sphere to hasten towards teamwork as knowledge is infinitely extensive, and as individuals, we are bound to overlook vital details once in a while, but we all would not overlook the same important points. So, we can make up for each other in the places we fall short as health professionals,” he stated.
Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), noted that the theme of the programme was apt and timely adding that the right time to celebrate the pharmacy profession and pharmacists as frontline care providers is here, saying the Pharmacy Week is the best time to tell the world about the indispensable role of pharmacists nationwide.
According to him, the current pandemic of COVID-19 has brought to the fore the major usefulness of pharmacists all over the world, especially as regards healthcare provision, saying pharmacists are sacrificing a lot to ensure healthcare provision is made available when it is convenient and when it’s not convenient for them, as they have the mandate to work 24 hours every day of the week.
In her keynote address, Pharm. Folashade Lawal, a Fellow of the PSN, and chief executive officer, Victory Drugs Limited, Lagos, noted that pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals, trusted and highly trained to participate in primary care services in a variety of practice settings within an integrated health system.
According to the erudite speaker, Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing populations globally and primary healthcare is the gateway for her teeming population to access healthcare, adding that community pharmacists as primary care providers are the best positioned for disease prevention and health promotion, saying they are visited by the ill and the healthy.
Lawal further noted that the country is plagued with poor healthcare access, saying on access to and quality of healthcare, Nigeria was ranked 142 out of 195 countries according to a Lancet report. “Therefore, outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics have mount pressure especially on our primary care facilities, such that the closer the people are to the community, the bigger the share of stress from disease”, she said.
While calling for the inclusion of pharmacists, especially the community pharmacists in primary healthcare delivery and as frontline care providers, Lawal, a clinical pharmacist of repute revealed that pharmacists, by virtue of their expanding roles to patient focus, easy accessibility and sound training are great resources for all levels of health prevention and promotion.
Her words “Pharmacists offer invaluable interventions in epidemics and pandemics. Pharmacists in Nigeria, like their colleagues in other countries, can contribute more to curbing disease outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics if accorded the needed support by policymakers.
“Vaccination by pharmacists as done in some countries has shown abundant evidence that community pharmacy involvement in immunisation programmes has a positive impact on uptake rates and on coverage efficiency. 0.9 percent and 2.1 percent Nigerians were fully vaccinated and got one dose respectively as of 15 September, as against 66.7 percent and 72.9 percent in the UK as of 18 September, while 43.3 percent of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and only 1.9 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose”, she submitted.
Also speaking, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Oyo State, Dr Muftau Ayoola, said the current administration has been implementing programmes that will ensure total care for all residents of the state from infancy to old age, saying: “In healthcare, the government has continued to prioritise the needs of the vulnerable, adding that the policies and programmes ensure that the good people of Oyo State are cared for from cradle to old age.
“The government is improving and equipping Secondary Healthcare facilities, Adeoyo Maternity Hospital is gradually returning to its former glory with the procurement of state-of-the-art equipment’s, it has completed the High Dependency wing of the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital. It is now fully equipped and functional. It is also keeping to its promise of ensuring that each of the 351 wards in Oyo State has a functioning Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) before the end of our subsisting mandate”, he stated.
Other dignitaries at the event include Pharm. Lolu Ojo, managing director, Merit Healthcare Limited; Prof. Babatunde Ekanola, acting vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan; Prof. S. O Idowu, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan; Pharm. (Hon) Leke Ogunsola, chairman, Osun State Primary Healthcare Development Board; Pharm. Yejide Oseni, director, PCN, South-West Office, among many others.