In a bid to complement government’s effort in the provision of healthcare for Nigerians, especially the security personnel, who are often occupied with the responsibility of securing the lives and properties of citizens, as well as fostering harmonious relationship with the police force, the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Chapter, has taken free medical screening and donation of drugs to all the 14 Area Commands of the Nigeria Police Force in Lagos State.
The event, which took place at the premises of the Area F Police Command, Ikeja Lagos, recently, offered an opportunity for the ever-busy officers to access free health counseling and screening of blood sugar, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, hepatitis, eye test, among others.
Speaking at the Area F Police Command, Ikeja centre, the Chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, explained that World Pharmacists Day is commemorated to honour the contributions of pharmacists to the world, as they were at the Police Command to show the public that pharmacists are at their service always.
According to the ACPN boss, the theme of the global event “Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health”, was chosen to reflect the beneficial aspect of pharmacy practice, as well as numerous contributions of pharmacists to the healthcare sector.
He said health screening is important because it has been discovered that a lot of people are coming down with chronic disease conditions and health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and other silent killer diseases as people are ignorant of their health conditions.
“We are carrying out screening on non-communicable diseases which we have discovered to be the commonest in our society and topmost among them are hypertension, diabetes, and others. We are also involved in high blood pressure, blood glucose, and we are going a step further to screen for hepatitis, as we know it has become one of the banes of healthcare in Nigeria”, the chairman stated.
Also speaking, Pharm.(Mrs) Vivian Ibeh, zonal coordinator, Ikeja Zone of ACPN, explained that the free medical screening and awareness was organised by the ACPN as part of the association’s contribution to improving public healthcare, saying ACPN recognises the role played by the officers and men of the Nigerian Police in protecting lives and maintaining law and order in the nation, adding that it initiated the move to foster an harmonious relationship with the premier security personnel, the Police.
“In 2020, during the unprecedented lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacists enjoyed a good measure of safety in their mandatory service to humanity because the officers and men worked tirelessly round the clock to guarantee security. Therefore, we have decided to provide a wide range of health checks and vital screening, ranging from comprehensive eye check-ups, HIV screening, hepatitis screening, lipid profile tests, deworming exercise, free drugs, free consultation and referrals, health education among others”, she said.
Corroborating the zonal coordinator, Pharm. Daniel Egwu, one of the elders of the profession in the zone, said the pharmacists have come for two things, advocacy and collaboration, adding that the two cannot work together unless they agree.
We are appreciating their enormous roles in securing our environment. We want to appreciate them for what they have done and also to inform them that we have a dual role to play, while we provide health for the environment, they provide security for everybody, so we have to find a common ground to appreciate them and also remind them about their duty to us and the society at large.
While thanking ACPN for the laudable programme, Ali Zongo, Area Commander, Area F Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos State, said he was delighted that an association like ACPN could come to their police station with such a beneficial programme.
Zongo, who was accompanied by other top-ranked police officers from the Command, commended the ACPN’s friendly disposition while promising that the Command would continue to relate well with the pharmacists in the state.
He said the Command has established a good relationship with pharmacists in the state and developed a way of handling issues between them without rancour, adding that the Police would respond to any issue that might arise between them.
“Police should be seen by every citizen as a force they can trust and have confidence in and be able to walk up to them and lay their complaints without any fear. If they see us as a threat, information that could be helpful in their duties will be kept away from them, so I want to reiterate that police is your friend and would continue to be your friend.”
Pharm. Ekhator, chairman, ACPN, presenting some of the donated drugs by the Ikeja Zone to the Area Commander, Area F Police Command, ACP Alli Zongo, with other members of the team.