Stakeholders Task Community Pharmacists on Financial Discipline, Capacity Building

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As Lagos ACPN holds Continuing Education Conference

To sustain success in business, despite the prevailing economic circumstances, which arise as a result of several government policies and continued closure of land borders by the federal government, community pharmacists in the country have been advised to focus on financial discipline and capacity building, while striving to blend with the evolution of the practice from mere dispensing of drugs to patient-centered care.

These were the submissions of Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Samuel Adekola, national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Ramon Moronkola, consultant cardiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Pharm. Chris Ehimen, chairman, Nett Pharmacy, and other stakeholders at this year Lagos ACPN Pharmacists Education Conference, held recently at NECA House, Ikeja, Lagos.

According to the number one pharmacist in the country, the continuing education programme for community pharmacists was timely, as knowledge gained would help them keep their businesses afloat in course of the current economic imbroglio and thereafter.

: A cross-section of participants at the event
A cross-section of participants at the event

He added that the current economic policies of the government is not friendly and does not favour business owners, but advised that pharmacists should raise their games and improve themselves with more knowledges, and build capacity. “The more educated you are, the more knowledgeable and improved you will be, so all pharmacists should imbibe continuous and never ending knowledge, and they should utilize every opportunity to learn new things,” he advised.

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Ohuabunwa also seized the opportunity to address the issue of land borders closure which he said is restricting trade and further compounding an uncertain outlook for the country’s economy, adding that such a drastic move, which ostensibly aimed at stemming flows of smuggled goods such as rice and others, has not only severed trade with neighbouring countries, but also casts doubt over the continent’s wider push toward free trade and cooperation.

Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Samuel Adekola, national chairman, ACPN, commended the Lagos State ACPN for choosing the theme, “Business Survival in a Rapidly Changing Environment, saying if any pharmacist want to be effective and efficient, such a pharmacist needed to have his or her knowledge updated always through several seminars, workshops and continuing education programmes.

Speaking further, Adekola disclosed that the Continuous Education Conference programme in Lagos has been consistent over the years because of the importance ACPN places on knowledge and effective service delivery, adding that in healthcare sector, development is needed on daily basis, and for it to be achieved, there is a need for periodical update of knowledges, acquiring of new knowledge and refreshing of the old one.

Earlier in his address, Chairman of ACPN Lagos, Pharm. Olabanji Benedict Obideyi lamented that the economic situation in Nigeria was shrinking pharmaceutical business across the country, adding that, if there is any appropriate time for the practitioners to up their games, the better time is now, noting that many businesses are currently grappling with high production and operating cost which has made sustainability difficult for many of them.

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“It is an obvious fact that a lots of things is now happening in the business space and one has to be prepared. Most of the community pharmacies in Lagos are working assiduously to improve and move with the trend, so the programme is to sensitize us on how to thrive in the midst of these challenges. And that was what informed the theme for this year,” Obideyi said.

For the keynote speaker, Dr Ramon Moronkola, consultant cardiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), it is high time pharmacists woke up and got involved in the management of serious health conditions like hypertension, diabetes and others, adding that to achieve a goal oriented service in the managements of these ailments, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals needs collaboration and must work as a team.

“The world is changing, so also is healthcare practice; hence the need to consistently update our knowledge in order to meet up with what is going on around the world. It has been discovered that more than 68 percent of patients get to the community pharmacists first before any other healthcare provider, so it is high time you enrich your knowledge, so that you don’t become stale,” he advised.

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According to the chairman of the occasion, Pharm. Chris Ehimen, chairman, Nett Pharmacy, the passage of the Finance Bill which seeks to amend seven Acts of the National Assembly relating to taxes payable in the country, as well as the ongoing closure of the country’s land borders and other policies are making business environment very tense, adding that the upward review of the VAT at this time will hurt businesses, the economy and citizens.

Speaking further, the experienced entrepreneur advised the community pharmacists to be business savvy at this period, saying a ‘desperate situation require a desperate measure’. “We can turn the situation around for our benefit, so it is not time to sit down and lament, but rather a time to get to work and do it smarter.

Other dignitaries at the event included: Pharm. NAE Mohammed, registrar, PCN, who was represented by Dr Ukamaka Okafor, a director, at PCN; Pharm. Moyosore Adejumo, director, Pharmaceutical Service, Lagos State Ministry of Health, who was represented by Pharm. Moses Awolola; Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, chairman, Board of Trustees, ACPN; Pharm. Bolanle Adeniran, chairman, PSN, Lagos State; Dr Afoke Isiavwe, consultant endocrinologist, Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre, Lagos; Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh, immediate past chairman, ACPN, Lagos State among many others.

 

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