To expand COVID-19 vaccination centres as well as empower pharmacists on vaccines administration, Pharmalliance Consulting Ltd, in partnership with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, has trained about 120 pharmacists on COVID-19 vaccination.
The training, which recently held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, was facilitated in conjunction with the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, UNILAG.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, dean of the faculty, Prof. Bello Adepoju, emphasised the need for more pharmacists to be trained on vaccination, due to the degree of acceptability and accessibility of pharmacists in the communities, in comparison with hospitals and health centres.
According to Adepoju, “The percentage of people that are vaccinated in Nigeria against COVID-19 is very low, compared to the population and the government too discovered that, which explains the rationale behind the approval of pharmacies as vaccination centres.
“Pharmacists are accessible and the people believe in pharmacists. There is a kind of belief and trust that the people have in pharmacists. There are so many pharmacy stores around and they are very accessible; so people can easily go there and get vaccinated against any pandemic situation that we have. It is just like in preparation for any unforeseen pandemic that may come upon the nation in the future.
“Even now as we speak, it is not everybody that is vaccinated. Some people don’t even believe in it but by the time that they come into the pharmacy, and the pharmacist is now taking them through a kind of discussion and enlightenment on vaccination, they will have proper knowledge about it.”
Participants at the programme were trained by lecturers from UNILAG’s pharmacy faculty, who had previously undergone a Training of Trainers programme, facilitated by Taneja College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida.
In ensuring effective training of the participants, Pharmalliance supplied the imported injection models and other vaccination equipment used at the programme. Project Catalyst for Pharmalliance, Adeshina Opanubi, said this was done to ensure that the training would not end with the participants, but rather spread to as many pharmacists in Nigeria as possible.
Also speaking at the programme, Grace Ikani, founder/CEO, Cutting Edge Pharmacy and chairman of the Pharmalliance Management team, said the current state of pharmacy practice in Nigeria shows that the future of community pharmacy lies in the rendition of value added services.
“For us in Pharmalliance, we have identified about five of such services we want to build our competency in and vaccination is one of them. Coupled with the recent approval given by NPCHDA for pharmacists to be approved as vaccinators and pharmaceutical premises as vaccination sites, we believe it is most expedient for colleagues to quickly scale up to take advantage of these positive developments so that we can better serve the Nigerian populace,” Ikani said.
Opanubi specially appreciated Pfizer and lecturers from UNILAG who made the training a possibility. “The quality of the content delivered was truly world class as attested to by the participants. Our unreserved appreciation also goes to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for supporting this laudable initiative. We are very positive about the future of community pharmacy in Nigeria and look forward to playing a part in making this dream a reality.”
Ayorinde Akanbi, country brand lead, Pfizer, also thanked Pharmalliance for the opportunity of the partnership.
“We are pleased to associate with Pharmalliance once again. We have worked actively together with them in the recent past to raise clinical competence in selected disease areas and look forward to doing more with them in the future”, he stated.
Pharmalliance is a network of retail pharmacy businesses with a vision to help its members raise the bar of practice through capacity building programmes and provision of support services such as insurance, accounting and auditing.
Pharmalliance member businesses are located all over the country including states like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, Edo, Benue, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom among others.