The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) Lagos State Branch has decided not to rest on her oars as she recently held her 2017 Community Pharmacists Education Conference tagged “Community Pharmacists: Healthcare Interventions for National Development” at NECA House, Ikeja, Lagos. The conference was geared towards improving the knowledge of community pharmacists, so that they can provide better services that would change the national landscape for good.
The auspicious event was attended by an impressive number of community pharmacists from all over Lagos State, and quite a number of highly placed stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector including the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai FPSN who was the Special Guest of Honour, represented by Pharm. Mrs. B.F.O Adeniran FPSN, Chairman PSN Lagos; Pharm. N.A.E Mohammed, Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) represented by Pharm. Peter Iliya and Pharm. Yohana Adamu; Prof. Bolajoko Aina, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, who was the Chairman of the Occasion. Also in attendance was Dr. Albert Kelong Alkali, ACPN National Chairman, and Pharm. Osaretin Jaiyeola, the keynote speaker. The event was hosted by the Chairman ACPN Lagos State Branch, Pharm. Mrs. Biola Paul-Ozieh.
Other speakers at the event were Pharm. Mrs. Claire Omatseye MBA, MPSN, MHFN – Managing Director JNC International Limited (JNCI); Pharm. Abimbola Adebakin, CEO, Advantage Health Africa; Pharm. Ijeoma Ubosi, CEO Kontessa; and Pharm. Gbenga Ayanleke, Managing Director – Pharmabyte.
In her welcome address, Pharm. Mrs. Biola Paul-Ozieh described the event as “the flagship programme of the association”. She advised all pharmacists to put all hands on deck in order to improve the nation’s health indicators through carefully integrated interventions that will impact on the communities, and ultimately lead to national development.
Pharm. Prof. Bolajoko Aina congratulated the ACPN Lagos State branch on its continued education, which she described as “unparalleled nationwide”. She stated that “community pharmacists are an important aspect of the pharmaceutical profession, and updating information and skills will no doubt lead to improved performance.” She also sighted community pharmacists as being the most important window to contribute to health via the many services provided to patients and clients many times at no cost to the patient. She went further to say that the theme for the education conference was especially apt as it will provide some empirical information that will enable the establishment of appropriate policies and guidelines for a more uniformed health care service, not just across the state but across the nation.
The keynote speaker challenged all community pharmacists to keep looking for new ways to remain relevant in national discourse. She stated that the community pharmacist is extremely important, but not adequately recognised in the nation, hence, the need to up their game by going into research and ICT, in order to improve the health indices of the nation and become relevant in national discourse.
Dr. Albert Kelong Alkali encouraged the Lagos State Chapter to keep up the good work as they can change the nation once they have knowledge.
Pharm. Iliya who represented the registrar, PCN, expressed his gratitude over what the community pharmacists in Lagos are doing. He reiterated that community pharmacists are trusted, because they operate under full disclosure, and are the closest touch to the people in the country. He encouraged community pharmacists to embrace ICT as a paradigm shift has occurred, and ICT is there to make everything easier and close a lot of gaps. Although, the turnout of participants was impressive, Pharm. Ilya expressed his concern over the marked absence of young pharmacists. He stated that more needs to be done to bring them into the fold, so that there can be people to pass the baton to when the current players are old and weary.
The event was also well attended by different pharmaceutical companies, who came around to showcase their products and support the community pharmacists.