It is a fact today that Pharmacy profession has been dramatically changed from drug oriented to patient oriented profession around the world. As a response to that change, stakeholders in the country have been urged to embrace the new trend for the overall benefits of patients.
Handing down this call is Pharm. Akinniyi Aje, a lecturer at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration in the University of Ibadan. Aje made this comment in an interview with Pharmatimes in Lagos.
Speaking on what should be the role of Pharmacists in patient centred care, Aje noted that in developed countries around the world, people are more likely to visit community pharmacists rather than visit the hospitals.
“Nowadays, Pharmacists are being trained to administer, and be a part of the immunisation programmes across different health centres in the world. You find patients going to these health centres to consult with pharmacists. So, I do not know why we tend to shy away from this in this part of the world, especially when we talk about laws that really do not exist”.
Aje who recently presented a paper on the “Practice of Point-Care testing among Community Pharmacists in Ibadan metropolis” during the recently concluded 15th Annual National NAPA conference and Scientific meeting which was held in Lagos, stressed that pharmaceutical practice all over the world has gone beyond selling products.
He emphasised on the need for members of the public to always undergo regular health screenings and testing as this might help to detect early symptoms of any diseases.“I recall that, when we carry out free health screenings on patients during events, some of them were unaware that their blood pressure had reached hypertensive levels. Some patients only realised this at the point of testing. This is not ideal at all. So, I will want to advise that every member of the public should make it a point of duty to check their blood levels/pressure on a regular basis because it will go a long way to help you understand your health status.”
Meanwhile, Aje lamented that the cost of drugs in Nigeria will continue to soar unless the pharmaceutical sector in the country receives appropriate support from the government. He added that the government needs to improve the capacity of local drug manufacturing companies in the country.
“I believe that it is very important that drugs are manufactured locally. But, you and I are aware of the numerous challenges in manufacturing products locally in the country. One major challenge still remains the issue of power generation. The amount of resources that go into operating regular power especially for those operating factories is quite enormous. Honestly, the government still has a major role to play in all of this. The government needs to show commitment and support to the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria. This will effectively help the sector to grow,” he said.
While giving an insight on why some pharmacists after graduating from school, find themselves practising in other fields, he stated that it is all down to personal decisions. Aje stated that “Everybody has various reasons for taking certain decisions in their various fields of life. Some pharmacists are of course doing well in other sectors namely Telecommunications, Banking/Financial institutions among others. But I am still of the opinion that as a pharmacist, no matter what sector you find yourself, you owe that sense of duty and responsibility to your community to always ensure that you are in charge of their health concerns.”
He added that Pharmacists must always endeavour to put into practice all, whatever they have been taught in school, noting that this will help to curb the issue of quacks in the sector. “What you find out there today is that there are a lot of quacks in the sector. They pose around like nurses and doctors. So we need to stop this. Also, it is important to supervise what kind of drugs patients are buying. Because once a patient or any member of the public knows that you are a pharmacist or a health person, your advice on matters relating to drugs and health becomes like a guide for them. So, you should always try to offer your expertise whenever it is needed,” the pharmacy lecturer said.
By Gabriel Ifinnwa