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Pharmacists resolve to embrace traditional medicines to meet national drugs security, others

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) which just concluded its 94th annual general meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has resolved that traditional medicines must be leveraged upon to facilitate medicines security, supply chain production, and increase revenue generation through research aimed at product development.

The pharmacists say a practitioner must know aspects of traditional and alternative medicines to deliver better value in the healthcare industry.

The outgoing president of PSN, Mazi Ohuabunwa, who read out the resolutions at the Diete-Spiff Civic Centre on Moscow Road said complementary medicines (as they are so-called) should be developed as medicines for healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

The conference thus advised that the integration of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines into the health care delivery system provides an opportunity for patients/ individuals to access alternative healthcare services and facilitate the attainment of universal health coverage. “The modern pharmacist as an apothecary should have knowledge of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines in other to diversify their services.”

Pharmaceutical companies must look inwards to develop a viable movement from the value chain of agriculture through reliable and effective supply chains to production and finished product marketing hence ensuring that the farm-to-pharmacy objective is achieved in a way that adds value to the practice of pharmacy as well as ensures that a robust source of revenue is opened and effectively sustained.

The pharmacists frowned at some professional bodies acting as interlopers into the pharmacy space, and also noted the harassment some of their colleagues endured at the hands of personnel who they said had no jurisdiction to regulate pharmacy practice.

Explaining, Ohuabunwa regretted that the agreement already signed with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to work together has been stopped by the present NMA leadership.

The conference agreed that Pharmacists have ample opportunities to advance public health through immunization advocacy. “Pharmacists can facilitate disease prevention strategies because many potential victims of COVID-19 and pneumococcal disease, Paediatrics requiring vaccinations visit pharmacies and are seen by pharmacists daily. Pharmacists can lead local activities in observance of National Adult Immunisation Week each October. Working with local public health departments, state or national immunisation coalitions, and other groups, pharmacists can promote vaccination among high-risk populations.”

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The pharmacists agreed that it was necessary to establish, encourage and strengthen the relationship between pharmacists and other healthcare providers. Pharmacists must work to enhance the procurement policy to improve the availability of rare drugs such as anticancer drugs etc.

The PSN resolved the need for increased specialization in specific specialties and that every pharmacist practising within the clinical setting must choose a minimum of one area to build capacity on. “Pharmacists should ensure continued education through postgraduate programmes, The West African postgraduate college of Pharmacists provides this facility for continued learning, specialization, and research collaborations.”

Ohuabunwa explained that though pharmacy is already a specialised practice but the need has come for sub-specialties to come into practice.

The Society charged delegates to strengthen pharma practice through political action by maintaining a high standard of professional ethics in all spheres of pharmacy practice. “There is need to influence legislation for the enhancement of the image of the pharmacy profession and through monitoring policies of the government which may affect practice. Pharmacists must utilise potential, actual and latent power to achieve political influence. Pharmacists can be a pressure group and if properly organized can metamorphose into a political bloc. Conference charged delegates of all strata (young and old) to get involved in politics from the grassroots and must also have a political strategy/action committee.”

The Society took some measures to strengthen internal workings by making new rules. “From the first of January 2022, all payments including capitation and building levy shall be paid via accredited electronic channels. Manual payment will no longer be acceptable to facilitate data aggregation and ease of conference registration.

“For non-payment of capitation as at when due, Conference agreed that defaulters shall be made to pay 100% in default. All states are mandated to set up political and legislative action committees in their states with a mandate to report to the council about their progress every 6 months.

“The decoration and insignia utilised by State, technical and interest groups should be different from that used by Fellows of PSN to ensure that a clear distinction is seen and noted.”

The AGM concluded with elections of new officers into the National Executive Council to be led by a professor, Cyril Usifoh.

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