The Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria chapter was founded in 1970. As an active students’ association on the campus of one of Nigeria’s foremost higher institutions, it is also a leading advocacy association for pharmacy students – with the aim to promote improved pharmacy education and students welfares through provision of information, education networking as well as a range of publications and professional initiatives. At the moment the association represents over 800 pharmacy students.
Recently, the Association planned and successfully executed a community project to sensitise the locals on the harmful effects of drug abuse as well as the need to put a stop to irrational use of medicines. And of course, the immediate beneficiaries who were the target audience were mainly the staff and students of the university in Samaru Community, and Sabon Gari of Kaduna State.
On the road to actualising this onerous task the association put heads together with Pharm. Ahmed Mohammed Gana, Head of Drug Manufacturing and Compounding Unit of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, who sold the idea of conducting drug test in the course of the programme.
According to the Association’s leadership the project is aimed at “making a definition of Pharmacy students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to the global community as well as to the immediate Nigerian populace as prospective Pharmacists with exemplary integrity”, while equipping and demonstrating to students how to dispense patient-centered care in the most ethical way through various programmes.
The sensitisation programme according to health watchers is coming at a very apt setting as the regulatory authorities such as NAFDAC, etc. have renewed strength and strategy in a bid to curtail the menace of drug abuse in the society. Drug abuse especially among the youth has in recent times assumed an alarming proportion in the northern part of the country, and the PANS of ABU must be commended and supported in their genuine efforts to help sanitise the community about them.
For this reason the students have taken campaigns to the right places – the youth population and their families, alerting them of the dangers of irrational drug use and substance abuse. With this, PANS-ABU Zaria is hoping to help prevent addictive behaviours among youth in the university community and its immediate Samaru neighborhood, and beyond to as far as Sabon Gari local government area, and Kaduna State at large.
Participants and facilitators at the events included speakers like Pharm. Ahmed Gana Mohammad, Head of Compounding Unit Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano, and Barr. Ahmad Musa Umar, Executive Director, Society for Drug Abuse Enlightenment and Control (SODAEC) who led a discussion panel. Also, a major highlight was a question and answer session led by the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai, who was also the special guest of honour at the events.
By Sammy Adaba