The just concluded 41st Annual National Scientific Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria tagged: Never Waste a Crisis: Community Pharmacists Learning for Future Preparedness, is appended with the slogan: Ajumose Eko 2022, which connotes cooperation to achieve goals.
This seems to be the secret success of the 5-Day conference of the ACPN which held between 25th – 29thJuly, 2022 in Lagos.
The conference which was adjudged by participants and guests as impeccable was painstakingly organised to suit the challenging needs of the community pharmacists across the country.
Issues addressed at the conference ranged from training on clinical vaccination to empower community Pharmacists to vaccinate Covid 19 and other vaccines; Basic Life Support which is very imperative in moment of emergencies; socio economics issues of primary healthcare business and services; presentations on latest pharmaceutical drugs and discoveries, National Health Insurance and National Emergencies Management opportunities and Challenges, financial management, etc.
The conference kick started with preliminary visit to the Sagamu Plant of Emzor Pharmaceutical Ltd by the executives on Friday, July 21. Also, Jumat prayer was observed at the Mosque in Ikeja , Lagos.
Day 1 witness a novelty football match between Delta State and Edo state Chapters of ACPN. Delta State won with a cash price of N100.000.00.
Day 2 had the Association at the Church Mass at the Catholic Church of Nativity, FESTAC was observed accordingly. Community Pharmacists, like other medical workers believe they treat, while God do the healing. Hence, the need to put God first in everything they do. There was also presentation on Artificial Intelligence.
Day 3. The vaccination training workshop is one event that reposed more hope on the health sector as Community Pharmacists in their hundreds were trained by vaccination experts from the United States, under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in America (NAPPSA). The input of this to the society is the amazing fact that citizens no longer have to wait longer hours in the conventional hospitals to be vaccinated.
They have been empowered and given the great commission as ‘Apostle of Vaccination’ to go into the world and vaccinate male and female. The pharmacists in the community therefore have now been empowered to do so.
Commenting about this vaccination training development, the ACPN Chairman, Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu, tagged this development to the experience learnt from Covid 19 pandemic that caught the world unprepared. “Hence the theme of the conference: NEVER WASTE A CRISIS: COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE!”
Pharm. Oladigbolu, expressed his excitement over the vaccination training. He noted that the training is a special and a dynamic one that means boosting professionalism in the pharmaceutical industry.
According to him, pharmacists are faced with numerous challenges in the country; nevertheless, they are expected to sharpen their skills, remain qualified and active.
“Challenges are much but we must enhance our skills. We must do things differently to be able to survive in this environment. Everybody present here today, is privileged to be part of revolution in pharmacy”. He said.
He commended the training workshop as a good initiative to improve the nation’s primary healthcare.
The immediate past Chairman of ACPN and the current Programme Director of ACPN Transgeneration Pharmacies Development Foundation, Dr Samuel Adekola, who was not only elated about this development, he also expressed his satisfaction over the performances of the trained pharmacists.
While recounting the achievements of the previous year, he expressed hope that this year’s training would be more productive. “There is no gain in training people who would not put to practice what they have learnt”.
He challenged the pharmacists to take up their rightful position in the society.
Also speaking on this trend, Dr Ayotunde Fajembola, a US based clinical pharmacist and board member of NAPPSA confided to CEOAFRICA that the vaccination training programme will go a long way to increase awareness on the vaccination programme.
She said; “Previously Nigeria’s pharmacists unlike their counterparts abroad could not vaccinate because they are not allowed to do so. But with programmes like this, pharmacists are now empowered and recognised as capable hands.”
She further urged Community pharmacists not to stop creating further awareness of vaccination and immunization project.
Dr Chinyere Anyanwu, member of the NAPPSA, corroborated Dr Ayotunde as she encouraged all pharmacists to arise at this critical and challenging time, see it as opportunity to crisis by applying their skills to improve the health of the society.
One of the local trainees, Pharm. Olatunji Aloba, noted that the vaccination programme is an eye-opener for pharmacists to be recognized as a primary healthcare provider in the society. He explained emphatically that the training would not only bring recognition to individuals, it would as well bring opportunities to the pharmacy profession.
The vaccination training session focused on vaccination tools; and the techniques and guideline for application of vaccines. It is of essence to prepare participants for fieldwork vaccine clinic which demonstrated the proper use of Vaccines.
The NAPSSA president, Dr.Kunle Thometi, also expressed his joy to partner with Transgeneration Pharmacies Development Foundation – a subset of ACPN. He believed that the vaccination programme was established to empower pharmacists to do the best and be the best in the society.
He encouraged them to know their patients, talk to them and make them comfortable. “Try and develop relationship with your patients, give them the ability to speak to you and it will make your job a whole lot easier”. Kunle said.
Tobi Adegbamiye, a spokesman for the Vaccine Sector of the Emzor Pharmaceutical Group, stated that the success story of vaccine in the country cannot be overemphasized. The result in the past years has remained eminent.
He called on the pharmacists to arise at this critical stage and get involved. They should increase vaccine confidence in the country as they are in the best position to address certain misconceptions.
In addition to vaccination training, community Pharmacists were further empowered on Basic Life Support (BLS), which has to do with emergency and rescue guidelines on basic life support; that is basically about first aids and resuscitating procedure in event of accident.
In his chat with CEOAFRICA, the National Secretary of the Association, Pharm. Eze Igwekanma, expressed satisfactory over the efforts of Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu and Dr Sam Adekola.
He applauded them for their great contribution and achievements so far in the organisation. The encouraged the community pharmacists to take charge by equipping themselves with contemporary mechanisms; and also have a clearer understanding of how to administer vaccines.
In the evening, the Association embanked on a road show walk on the streets of Lagos - Pharmacists Awareness Walk, tagged: WALK FOR VACCINATION: Vaccines Work. To cap the events of the day, participants were treated to a pleasurable welcome cocktail party; pharmacists were made to feel relax; showing their dancing skills to warm up for the rigorous tasks of the conference ahead.
DAY 3: The Third Day of the conference was a the official opening ceremony which was beehive of activities with the presence of notable dignitaries graced the conference. Starting with more presentations by JOUF, Johnson and Johnson, Emzor, Assene Laborex pharmaceutical companies of their new products and drugs to the participants,
The grand finale of school debate on the subject matter of Social Lifestyle and Drugs Abuse was also in place. The session which was manage by Pharms. Ayo Badejoko, Tosin Adeyemi and Ikenna Mbata saw Kelechi Ebisike Levi came first and went home with a whopping sum of two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N250,000.00), and the second and third run off position had N150,000 and N100,000 respectively.
The plenary session of the day started on an elaborate note which was centred on the focal point: Community Pharmacists as Primary Healthcare Centres in Nigeria.
To set the ball rolling for the day’s session, Pharm. Agbomma Esom Ibe, Conference Committee Chairman read the welcome address; while Pharm. (HON.) Gboluga Dele Ikengbolu, Honourable Member, Federal House of Representative gave the opening remark of the conference.
The chairman of this session, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo FPSN was the past President of the PSN.
In his opening remarks, he commended the Association for organising a world class conference to discuss vita issues that are very germane to the relevance to the existence of community pharmacists as a profession.
Prof. Chimieze Anyakaora, the Chief Executive Officer of Bloom Public Health was the lead speaker of the session which harps on the urgent need for community pharmacists to step up their game to meet up with global standard as they are saddled with the treatment and management of communicable and incommunicable diseases. To achieve this goal, the what, how and why of primary healthcare delivery and it intricacies was dully examined by the panellists in the course of the session.
The need for adequate representation of pharmacists in policy making in health related issues was given priority attention at the national, state and technical levels so as to get first-hand information to react appropriately on.
Panellists at this session include: Dr Nneka Onwu, Director of Primary Healthcare System Development; Dr Isa Vatsa, Executive Secretary, Primary Healthcare Board, FCT, ably represented by Pharm. Abdulraman Abdulahi; Dr (Mrs) Dorothy Oqua, Country Director, Howard University Global Initiative, Nigeria represented by Dr, Ume; and Pharm. Abdulahi Galadima, Community and Public Health Pharmacist.
Other notable personalities at the session are Dr Faisal Shuaib, ED/CEO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency; Pharm. (Prof) Cyril Odianose Usifoh, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria who in his key note address urged on the need to strengthen community pharmacists to take on novel and innovative roles to help combat health emergencies.