The Faculty of Pharmacy, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, has stated that its present priority is to embark on productive research and collaborations that will contribute to solving the various challenges plaguing the Nigerian health sector.
Dean of the faculty, Professor Musa Yerima, disclosed this in a recent interview with Pharmanews, stressing that the faculty is aware of the myriad of challenges facing the country’s health sector and thus making effort to produce students that will bring about the needed solutions.
Yerima noted that, although the faculty was established in 2008, the standard of training has been very high, in comparison with other schools of pharmacy in the country.
He said: “The faculty, with the support of the university management, is doing everything possible to comply with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National University Commission’s benchmark minimum academic standards.
“Our focus at the faculty is mainly to be improving research and collaborations that will be productive in solving pressing challenges in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry and the health sector. So, what we are focusing on is to keep producing quality pharmacists that will help in solving the health challenges in Nigeria and the world at large.
“Added to that is to further improve the standard and quality of pharmacy education both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“Our aspiration for our students is clearly defined – we want them to become the best pharmacists in the world in different areas of pharmacy practice: academia and research, industry, hospital and community practice.”
Also commenting on the nation’s overdependence on drug importation, Yerima disclosed that the faculty is equally striving towards new pharmaceutical product development, so as to bridge the gap.
According to him, “The faculty is doing a lot on drug development, especially from natural sources. The faculty is planning effective collaborations with relevant stakeholders, with the aim of providing necessary raw materials for local production of essential drugs.
“We have many grant-winning researches that focus on this area. Other aspects like pharmacotherapy, pharmaceutical analysis and dosage form development have also received much attention from many research teams in the faculty.
“The faculty has a world class, state-of-the-art Center for Advanced Medical Research and Training (CAMRET), where our researchers conduct most of their works. Discoveries are made regularly in the faculty.
“Various research groups in the faculty have grants and are working on cancer research, Biotechnology and antivenin activity of certain plants at the CAMRET. The faculty has 25 new offices and laboratories built and furnished by TETFund.”
The dean also told Pharmanews that the faculty is currently working on the establishment of a Drug Manufacturing Unit, with the support of the university management. He added that the faculty is already working hard on commencing its PharmD programme, stressing that the university senate had already passed the proposal.
Regarding the security of the faculty students, in view of the current challenges of insecurity in the northern part of the country, the dean stated that the school is a safe place to study and has never experienced any security threat to date.
“The faculty is located in the University Teaching Hospital, which is located in the heart of Sokoto town. Moreover, the university management has provided measures to improve the security on our campuses. The slogan of our university is “the most peaceful University in Nigeria”. This is no coincidence because we have never recorded any case of insecurity on any of our campuses,” Yerima said.
The dean further called on pharmacists in the country to rise up as a united entity to tackle the challenges bedeviling the nation’s health sector.
He said: “I want to appeal to pharmacists to use their training and competency in both the public and the private sector to help reduce the Nigerian health burden. We should all unite and see ourselves as one “Pharmily”. Also, our young colleagues should the avoid get-rich-quick syndrome which could lead to unethical practices.”