By Adebayo Oladejo
Pharmacists across the nation have been advised to see one another as brothers and sisters, whether community, hospital, academic or industrial pharmacists, adding that they belong to the same large family and that the future of the profession depends on how they handle their internal differences.
Pharm. Adebambo Akinbile, chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Osun State Chapter, made the call recently in an exclusive interview with Pharmanews.
Pharm. Akinbile, who is also the chief pharmacist, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Health Centre, Ile-Ife, also advised that the 86th PSN annual conference holding in Kwara State should not be a jamboree, stressing that all motions written should be debated and thrashed out. He added that the issue of allowing hospital and academic pharmacists to operate restricted community pharmacies should be thoroughly debated and an appropriate decision taken. He explained that dodging or suppressing an issue like that is a time bomb that may negatively impact the profession in the future.
Below is a full text of the interview.
Please, can you tell us a bit about yourself, including your academic background?
My name is Adebambo Akinbile. I am 41 years old and from Ikire, Osun State, Nigeria. I went to Baptist Primary School, Fatima College, Ikire, Nigeria. I graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile – Ife in 1994 and also went back for a Masters in Public Health and graduated in 2010.I am currently a chief pharmacist at OAU Health Centre, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
What are those things you hope to achieve before the end of your tenure as PSN Chairman?
As Chairman of PSN, I hope to be able to raise the bar in responsible and committed service to the society. I organised the best PSN week, so far, in the history of the state. The programme was graced by the presence of five traditional rulers led by HRM Oba OlatundeFalabi, Akire of Ikireland FPSN. The speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Oyeleke Ogunsola and the chairman, House Committee on Health for the State of Osun were also in attendance. I hope to replicate this in next year’s edition. I also hope to complete the PSN house by the end of my tenure.
After your election as PSN chairman, what are the changes you noticed in the society?
One of my members, Alhaji Pharm. Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, became the national chairman of ACPN. Two of our members also got elected as the vice chairman and PRO of NAHAP. Thirdly, Pharm. Mrs Omolara Ajayi became the permanent secretary of the Hospitals’ Management Board. Also, participation in activities of the society has increased.The Association of Lady Pharmacists has been reinvigorated by the election of Pharm Bose Ibikunle as the chairperson.
Presently, what are the major challenges facing pharmacists in your state?
The major challenges include the reluctance of some pharmacists in the state to register, due to their belief that they do not need the licence to practise. Many also do not see the reason why hospital and academic pharmacists cannot practise community pharmacy after closing from work, while people who are barely literate operate community pharmacies, masquerading as patent medicine shops.
In terms of membership participation, have you been getting the needed cooperation?
The cooperation has been massive. I want to thank the Fellows of the Society in the state for their support. Also, I give kudos to Hon. Leke Ogunsola for his support during the last conference in Abeokuta. He single-handedly bore the cost of transportation for majority of the delegates to Abeokuta. Also, His Royal Majesty, the Akire of Ikireland, Oba Olatunde Falabi, Lambeloye (III) FPSN, has been a pillar of support. I must not fail to mention numerous pharmaceutical companies who have partnered with us. Also, the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPS) has embarked on a radio programme to enlighten the people about public health.
What do you think pharmacists have been doing right or wrong that needs to be addressed in the campaign against fake drugs?
Fake drugs cannot be eliminated, as long as the open drug markets are still thriving. The distribution network has to be perfected for fake drugs to be eliminated. Also, I look forward to a time that drugs will solely be handled by pharmacists who are the true drug custodians, and nobody else. Drug manufacturing companies should resist the temptation of dumping drugs in open markets. Pharmacists should also come together to operate mega drug distribution outlets.
Many people have canvassed for stiffer penalties to be meted out to drug counterfeiters. Do you support the motion?
Yes, for it to serve as a deterrent, it is important to make the penalties stiffer. In some countries like China, it is the death penalty because a counterfeiter kills people in thousands.
What is your expectation of the 86th PSN annual national conference coming up in Kwara State this November?
The 86th PSN annual conference should not be a jamboree. All motions written should be debated and thrashed out. I am still hopeful that the issue of allowing hospital and academic pharmacists to operate restricted community pharmacies would be thoroughly debated and an appropriate decision taken. A hospital and academic pharmacist, who operates after closing from work, is a blessing to his/her community. Dodging or suppressing the issue is a time bomb that may scatter the profession in the future.
Are there ways by which this conference can be improved for better participation, if we are to use past outings as a reference point?
The conference can be improved by devoting a whole day for village meeting and Annual General Meeting (AGM); every motion should be debated and passed on merit and there should be no sentiment. Exhibition of drugs should be limited, as some people are only interested in buying drugs during the conference.
Finally, your advice for pharmacists (young and old) in Nigeria…
My advice is for pharmacists to see one another as brothers and sisters; whether community, hospital, academic or industrial pharmacists, we belong to the same large family. The future of the profession depends on how we handle our internal differences. I pray for the new president, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo FPSN, that God will give him the desired wisdom to pilot the affairs of the society. The time to tell ourselves the truth is now.
Pharm. Adebambo Akinbile