To win the war against communicable diseases and entrench a culture of innovation in pharmaceutical care, pharmacists must adjust their expectations and remain focused, as they proffer solutions to the healthcare challenges of the society. This was the submission of the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Moji Christiana Adeyeye, who was special guest at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Annual International Conference of the National Association of Foreign Trained Pharmacists (NAFTraph), with the theme “The Burdens of Communicable Diseases in Africa-Nigeria’s Perspective and the Need for Robust Healthcare Professionals Interventions”, on Thursday, 14 October, 2021, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.
Calling on NAFTraph to fix its eyes on the goal, Adeyeye went biblical with the story of Nehemiah who, in spite of all the opposition and resistance that he faced, successfully rebuilt the fallen walls of Jerusalem. Likening the myriads of healthcare challenges in Nigeria and around the world to the fallen walls of Jerusalem, she urged pharmacists to take up the challenge of fixing things in the healthcare sector just like she did when she assumed office at NAFDAC.
According to her, she had met NAFDAC in a state of coma, crippled by debt and lacking operational vehicles. Against all the odds, she surmounted the challenges with the cooperation of her directors who bought into and shared her vision. “As pharmacists, there is a lot of building we have to do because in the midst of all these challenges, there are also opportunities. Look for a niche and carve it out and make it your own. Be a star in terms of vigilance”, she said.
While welcoming guests to the conference, NAFTraPh President, Dr John C. Ejezie, explained that his association was in the forefront of enhancing the general health outcomes of the society. “NAFTraPh is a professional organisation that educates, sensitises, trains members and others. It creates health awareness, promotes community capacity building and effective utilisation of pharmaceutical products in collaboration with other stakeholders in providing safe, efficacious and cost-effective drug therapy to the larger society to enhance general health outcomes”, he said.
In his address titled “Pharmacy Practices Available to You”, Chairman, Governing Council of the PCN, Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora, represented by Dr Amaka Okafor, urged pharmacists to be actively involved in the eradication of communicable diseases, share their knowledge and skills while bringing innovation to the table, bearing in mind the fact that the pharmaceutical sector ranks high in Africa and requires improvement in innovation. According to him, PCN has put in place measures to improve regulatory activities which will in turn strengthen the quality of pharmaceutical practice in the country and beyond.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Leo Egbujiobi, medical director and chief of service, Hendricks Family Heart Hospital, Beloit Health System, Beloit Wisconsin, USA, called on Nigerians, including pharmacists, to have the mindset of productivity. According to him, the productivity-oriented mindset is the gateway to innovation and problem-solving. It is one of the things needed to curb the spread of communicable diseases. “It is the productivity of two or more pharmacists, coming together to build pharmacies in each state that will make it possible for us to have chains of pharmacies in the foreseeable future”, he said.
Day One of the conference which ends on Saturday, 16 October, 2021 also witnessed a presentation titled “The Path Forward in Opening a Nation in a Pandemic” by Dr Terrance L. Baker, John Hopkins community physician, Department of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.