Pharmacists in Academia Charged to Revisit the Basics

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…As NAPA holds 20th scientific conference

Basics
R-L: PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh; VC, Chrisland University and Key Speaker, Prof. C. P Babalola with an award presented to her by National Chairman NAPA, Dr. E. O Akinkunmi (3rd right) and National Secretary, NAPA, Dr A. J. Adegbola, at the conference.

Pharmacists practicing in the academic environment have been charged to revisit the basics of their core area of specialization in Pharmacy while discharging their duties in order to chart a new course for the noble profession and catch up with the current global modern realities.

This was the focal point of discussion at the ongoing 20th Annual Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA). The theme of the conference which started on Monday 15 August, 2022 at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife is “Pharmacy Education, Research and Practice: Revisiting the Basics”.

The National Chairman of NAPA, Dr Ezekiel Olugbenga Akinkunmi, in his opening remarks, explained that the theme of the conference was selected with the aims of addressing the core duties of the academics which are teaching, research and community services.

R-L: PCN Registrar, I. B. Ahmed, presenting an award plaque to PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh as NAPA Chairman, Dr E. O. Akinkunmi and Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy O.A.U, Prof. M.O. Afolabi look in admiration

“It is in view of the present realities of our time that we have chosen the theme of this conference. We feel that despite the increasing complexities of our world, the solution to our increasing challenges can only come through simplicity and a return to the basics”, Akinkunmi said.

While speaking at the opening ceremony of the event on Tuesday, the Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University, who was the keynote speaker, Professor Chinedum Peace Babalola, pointed out that there is need not just to revisit the basics but to also cause a Disruptive Dynamics (DD) from the basics, saying that is the only way to go if the profession must move forward.

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According to the keynote speaker, disruptive innovation of basics preliminary courses that will include case studies and use of visual aids such as virtual laboratories, anatomage, short videos among others is vital.

She explained that sustainable development of a discipline such as the Pharmacy at the postgraduate level remains in the relevant education, pointing that the focus of postgraduate pharmacy education in advanced societies has shifted to paying more attention to scientific research and problem solving, program management, self-education and disciplinary integration.

The Chrisland University VC noted that Postgraduate pharmacy education in other part of the world is currently attending more to medical or investigational cases, which are critical to advanced training, skills and learning experiences suitable to tackle emerging challenges in a fast-changing world, hence Nigeria cannot be an exception.

Babalola averred that adequate funding is required to meet emerging trends in pharmacy education, adding that development of academic staff and infrastructure are among the key areas of investment required to advance pharmacy education in Nigeria.

She pointed out that there is already a paradigm shift in pharmaceutical research, noting that the slogan in research has now changed from publish or perish to publish, societal impact or perish.Emphasis is no longer only on number of publications but more on impact of publication, strength of journal. Research must be relevant to trending health challenge”, the keynote speaker said, adding that students must also be encouraged to participate in research and innovation endeavours.

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According to Babalola, one of the ways to revisiting the basics and causing dynamics disruption in pharmacy practice is to allow drug information apps to rapidly replace the sight of official books in pharmaceutical premises. “Electronic medical records of patients should be accessible in hospitals, community pharmacies and personally to patients via seamless connection”, she said.

The keynote speaker said “Now is an opportunity to disrupt learning, research and practice. We have to be proactive. Ideas for strategy is required on our part as academic pharmacists; there is a great need to collaborate with each other and other professionals and scientists in our job. New knowledge, new skills, new approaches are needed to teach both basic and practice-based courses. With the help of God and a positive mind-set, all things are achievable”.

Earlier in his remarks, Vice-Chancellor, OAU, Professor A. S. Bamire, pointed out that the role of pharmacists in Academia cannot be over emphasised, adding that there is need to revisit the basics so as to move the profession forward.

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Also, the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Professor Cyril Usifoh noted that pharmacists in academia are the engine room of the pharmacy profession, noting that the academic pharmacists are the producer of men of honour. He therefore stated the commitment of PSN to working with NAPA for a better Pharmacy profession.

“I look forward as your president to working with NAPA in achieving our collective goal of defending the course of pharmacy to be able to perform her leadership roles in ensuring medicine security for the health of our nation”, the PSN president said.

The Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Pharm. Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed stated that the council is interacting with NAPA and the interaction will be fruitful and beneficial to Pharmacy profession and Nigeria as a country.

The Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor M.O. Afolabi noted that if the Pharmacy profession must move forward, then there is urgent need to revisit the basics.

The event which was chaired by Emeritus Professor Festus Ogunbona, was attended by various professors of Pharmacy and academicians across the country.

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