— As Lagos ACPN holds continuing education conference
Stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, including Dr NAE Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Kunle Oyelana, managing director, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc; Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State Branch, have emphasised the need to scale up pharmacy practice in the face of ever-growing challenges brought about by the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
While delivering his keynote address with the theme “COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need to Evolve Pharmacy Practice”, during the Continuing Education Conference, organised by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, Oyelana, noted that the need to evolve pharmacy practice with a view to repositioning the practice is important at this period than any other time.
The seasoned pharmacist, who has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with more than 14 years at the managerial cadre of GSK, said that to survive, community pharmacists must be willing to acknowledge the rapidly occurring changes in healthcare delivery and accept the reality that the changes will continue, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the strong catalyst for change.
According to him, when the environment changes, people are bound to change, adding that there is a need for the practitioners to evolve otherwise, they will be left behind. “There are inexorable forces changing human behaviour. Before the lockdown, only a few people were used to new technologies like zoom, virtual meetings and others, but during the COVID, everybody became used to them, so there is a need for the pharmacy profession to evolve as well.
“Change is upon us as professionals and we don’t have any other choice than to key into the vision. The COVID-19 has been the biggest agent of change in the last 100 years, so in the next six months from now, if any of you fail to change from what you are doing presently, then you are at risk. So, the only way forward and the next step is to create and imagine” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Gbolagade, noted that for pharmacists to survive in today’s world, they must be willing to accept the reality that Pharmacy is evolving and that the activities and practice of yesteryears are diminishing, adding that there is a need to build on the gain of the COVID transition by developing a profitable and agile business model, and as well collaborate with other healthcare professionals.
He added further that the pandemic has brought to the fore the role of the community pharmacists as a pillar in the healthcare sector and as a frontline during the heat of COVID-19, adding that it is time to consolidate on the gains of the pandemic and embrace capacity development. He also noted that the theme of the conference was timely, considering the wave of disruption being experienced in pharmaceutical practice, with community pharmacy considered the most affected.
Fielding questions from pressmen, Chairman, Lagos State ACPN, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, disclosed that the Continuing Education Conference with the theme: “COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need to Evolve Pharmacy Practice” was designed to promote professional skills, business strategy skills, and practice skills of community pharmacists, saying it would help community pharmacists to better understand current economic realities, move with the trend, and be better equipped for the coming year.
According to him, the motive for starting the programme was to constantly update members on current changes in the profession and keep them up to date. “Talking about the theme, ‘the need to evolve pharmacy practice’, and the sub-theme, ‘the effect of government policies in the current economy on pharmacy practice’ community pharmacy profession has both a practice and a business component and for one to be successful in the community pharmacy space, both aspect of the practice and business must be balanced”.
While speaking, Pharm. (Mrs) Edith Nwachukwu, who was the chairman of the occasion, noted that for pharmacists to survive in today’s world, they must be willing to accept the reality that Pharmacy is evolving and that the activities and practice of yesteryears are diminishing, adding that there is need to remain updated, better informed and be up to date in order to move with the current reality.
In its goodwill message, the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Dr NAE Mohammed, who was represented by Dr (Mrs) Ukamaka Okafor, director, Lagos Zonal Office, commended the Lagos State ACPN for the choice of the theme for the programme, saying it was very much in consonance with the reality on the ground for Pharmacy.
According to the Registrar, the Continuous Education Conference programme in Lagos has been consistent over the years because of the importance that the Lagos State ACPN places on knowledge and effective service delivery.
Other dignitaries at the event include Mr Bayo Rotimi, MD/CEO, Greenwich Merchant Bank, one of the guest lecturers; Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, chairman, Board of Trustees, Lagos ACPN; Pharm. Lanre Familusi, secretary, PSN-BOF; Pharm. Bolanle Adeniran, immediate past chairman, Lagos PSN; Pharm.(Chief) Yetunde Morohundiya, vice-chairman, PSN-BOF; Pharm. Ernest Okafor, chairman, PWDAN; Pharm. Josephine Ehimen, chairman, CPC; Pharm. Olabanji Obideyi, immediate past chairman, Lagos ACPN; Pharm. Madehin Gafar Olanrewaju, national treasurer, PSN; Pharm. Tony Oyawole, among others.