The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has said that pharmacists are the backbone of the Nigerian healthcare delivery system. Adeyeye made this submission during her presentation, as keynote speaker, at the ongoing week-long event organised by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) in partnership with Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
According to her, because of their closeness to the masses, pharmacists have helped in reducing the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Nigeria compared to the massive casualty figures recorded in other parts of the world. While highlighting the role of the regulatory agency in managing the pandemic, she added that NAFDAC responded by digitalising its activities to ensure that, in spite of the lockdown, it was able to carry out its statutory responsibilities without much stress.
The event, which is in its day-five also witnessed presentations from other invited guests. Earlier, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, had described the programme as a very good opportunity for pharmacists to cross-fertilise ideas, adding that the leadership of NAPharm has done a great job by bringing the media into its affairs. He stated that much of what the world has come to know about COVID-19 was made possible by the media.
On his part, the immediate past National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, corroborated Adeyeye’s submission by adding that the PTF wouldn’t have achieved much success without the contributions made by pharmacists whom he described as critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s primary healthcare delivery system.
While acknowledging the fact that the COVID-19 era was a very difficult period for Nigeria, Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Dr Elijah Mohammed, recalled the role the council played in ensuring smooth and unhindered movement for pharmacists to carry out their duties, especially during the lockdown.
He recounted how the council had to officially write to the Inspector-General of Police to ensure ease of movement for pharmacists and how it also reactivated the idea of small-scale manufacturing in hospitals during the pandemic, while also focusing on the digitalisation of its regulatory and sundry activities.
Chairman of the occasion and erstwhile President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Azubike Okwor, lauded the contributions of health workers in the fight against COVID-19. He urged the organisers of the event to observe a minute’s silence in honour of all the health workers who have lost their lives in the fight against the pandemic.
In his remarks, a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr Hamzat Omotayo, highlighted the role the WHO has played in offering technical support and advice to nations concerning COVID-19 and how the apex health organisation has continued to respond whenever there are outbreaks.
He also disclosed that the WHO has been working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in ensuring that the management of the pandemic is strategically sustained. The event ends on Saturday, 17 April, 2021.