-As Pharmacists Embark on Sensitisation Walk
As pharmacists all over the globe commemorate World Pharmacists Day, an annual event established by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) which is usually celebrated on 25 September, pharmacists in Nigeria took to the street of Lagos, to educate citizens on the roles of pharmacists in the country.
The sensitisation walk, which was organised by the World Pharmacists Day Committee, of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) national, saw pharmacists from the different alms of the Society participated in the walk from the main gate of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to Ojuelegba roundabout, displaying different placards on the roles of pharmacists in the community.
The PSN also seized the opportunity to call on the federal government to improve access to safe medicines for all citizens, as the welfare of the people is the obligation of the government.
Speaking with the Lagos State PSN chairman, Pharm. (Mrs) Bolanle Adeniran on the theme of the event : “Safe and effective medicines for all”, she stated that safe and effective medicines is indispensable for all because, just as it is impossible to do without food, so also it is impossible for humans to do without quality drugs.
On the circulation of fake and substandard drugs in the society, she urged patients to ensure that they get their medicines from the right and authentic source, to prevent falling victims of fake drugs. ”It is you the patient that should ensure that you get safe and effective medicines at all cost. The ball is in your court. Firstly, you should source your drugs from reputable outlets, ensure you get your drugs from a government hospital, a registered private hospital, and a registered community pharmacy. When you get there, ensure you talk to licenced professionals”, she said.
Asked whether PSN should be involved in the provision of drugs for the masses, Adeniran said PSN is an association, just like other associations in the country, and on its own, it’s reaching out to people in so many ways almost on a weekly basis to alleviate the sufferings of the people, they cannot do more than that. “The responsibility of provision of medicines is that of the government, because they have the obligation to cater for the welfare and security of the people”.
“The government should look at all ways to make sure that drugs are available for the people at cheapest price possible. So it is the responsibility of the government not PSN, but then, we collaborate in health outreaches by ensuring that our pharmaceutical companies produce quality products, we also pleading with the government to reduce tariff on drug importation and raw materials, so that these drugs will be produced cheap for the people”, she stated.
For the Chairman, World Pharmacists Day Committee, Pharm. Daniel Egwu, the day is about celebrating the pharmacist, bringing into the public domain, what he does, what he emphasises and practices. ”A lot of people do not know how to celebrate the pharmacist, they just see him as one that dispenses drugs. But beyond that, we are the custodians of drugs, manufacturers of drugs and distributors of drugs. We undertake the processing from manufacturing till the patient gets the drug. That is our profession, and we also ensure safe handling, safe delivery and safe taking of the drug”, he noted.
Asked on the popularity of pharmacists among the healthcare team, he said the public is getting increasingly aware of the role of a pharmacist, though pharmacists have not brought themselves to limelight in the past, but they are improving now by sensitizing patients on their obligations in the society.
“I must admit that in the past, pharmacists have not celebrated themselves and brought their services to the known of the society, because it is the way you project yourself that is how the society will accept you. So we are projecting ourselves, we are telling people this is what we do, this is what we can do and this is what we have been doing. Even though behind the scene, we are not content in staying behind the scene, because the pharmacist is equipped to do everything, even clinical pharmacy, from the basic role of drug dispensing, counselling, manufacturing” he explained.
Pharm. Kingsley Okwunife, vice-chairman, World Pharmacists Day Committee, emphasised on the message PSN is passing to all Nigerians, saying that pharmacists want every patient to get the best out of their medications.
His words: “As drug experts, we want all patients to get their drugs with advice from pharmacists, because if you get drugs without pharmacists’ advice, there is no way the outcome of that patient will improve”.
“That is why we are telling patients not to take medications without the advice of a pharmacist. If you have any issue with your medications, consult a pharmacist, because safe and effective medicines for all is the paramount concern of every pharmacist in Nigeria, and their goal is that every Nigerian taking medication must consult a pharmacist”, he reiterated.
The World Pharmacists Day celebration in Lagos, was not concluded without the free medical screening of patients’ at the Ojuelegba roundabout, as they were screened for hypertension, blood glucose level, and Hepatitis B.