Pharm. Adeboye Olusoji Richard is a practising pharmacist based in Calabar, Cross-River State. In this interview with GABRIEL IFINNWA, the community pharmacist who graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria spoke on the need to create awareness on the effects of drug use in Nigerian schools.
What are some of the challenges you faced in becoming a pharmacist?
Finance was a major challenge for me. When I got admission into the university, my father’s business was having some challenges, so assessing funds to purchase books and other items in school was very difficult. Aside that, as any undergraduate in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, impressing lecturers academically most importantly at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences was not easy. Though, in all it was a good experience; that has helped me a lot in life.
In what ways are you contributing to the Pharma sector in your community?
As a professional, all our activities are contributions to the Pharmacy sector – in any area you find yourself, whether in Hospitals, Community, Industry, Academic, and or in Medical representatives. As a community pharmacist, the fact that we are the most accessed health professionals by patients has positioned us for great influence on them. The profession has been changed from drug oriented to patient centred care. We are not only dispensing, but we do a lot of counselling, and provide drug information centres – where patients come around to ask questions about the drugs given to them in hospitals.
Most importantly, we are partnering with NGO’s (FHI 360, HUGIN among other agencies) in public health issues like HTC, CPARP (HIV testing and counselling, Community Pharmacist ART Refill programme). These and many more programmes, we are undertaking in cross River State and it has proven to be successful.
How would you assess pharmacy practice in Nigeria?
Pharmacy practice in Nigeria can only get better. The practice is not the same as years ago. Today, Pharmacists interface better now with other health care professionals. Some years ago, pharmacists were not included in the clinical teams for ward rounds in hospitals but now this has changed. Pharmacists collaborate and take part in public health. We are now an important instrument unlocking puzzles in public health sector. Community pharmacists are now patient oriented as I said earlier. In conclusion, we are hoping for the best in pharmacy practice in Nigeria in years ahead.
How do you see the fight on fake drugs in Nigeria?
Due to the late appointment of a substantive NAFDAC DG, it has not been functional because the right personnel were not employed for the job. However, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has been trying their best in the fight against fake drugs. We should not forget that the fight against fake drugs is a battle against powerful cabals in drugs business in the country.
What is your advice to Nigerians on the abuse of drug?
Nigerians should know that all drugs are poisons and there is a need to see a health practitioner before taking any drug, most especially the addictive drugs. Also, more awareness should be created on the adverse effects of drug abuse, most especially in our schools – in our secondary and tertiary institutions in the country.
What is your opinion on the new NAFDAC DG?
As a professor of pharmaceutics, Prof. Moji Adeyeye will do well in that office. Her experience is an added advantage. I think the President has done well with the appointment. Putting the right person in a crucial position like NAFDAC at this point in time is a good decision.