Choosing less than 50 colleagues from the pool of over 5,000 qualified Community Pharmacists in Nigeria, apart from those who had automatic tickets as ACPN State officers, to attend this Summit took some interplay of wisdom and discretion. Therefore, to those who are even more qualified to be here but somehow missed our invitation, I sincerely send my apologies.

Indeed, nothing is new, not even the agenda we have primarily gathered together here today to set for our darling profession but, there is always God’s appointed time for the manifestation and fulfillment of any endeavour of man under heaven. Hence, for me, now is the time to make every Community Pharmacy investment a TRANS-GENERATIONAL deal.

What do I mean? I mean I have zero tolerance for the current phenomenon of averagely 20 to 30 years life expectancy for Community Pharmacy investments in Nigeria. The latter assumption may even be far from the true national average as revelation from certain studies indicate that majority of our Pharmacies do not achieve their 10th year anniversary hale and hearty. This is contrary to what is obtainable in several similar African, well-balanced climes, where there are supporting systems and structures for the sustainability of this same endeavour.

At this junction, I will like to acknowledge the efforts of our past leaders in this same quest of rescuing Community Pharmacy practice in Nigeria. From the ACPN archives,  the reports of the work done by Fellow Ike Ogwu’s Committee in 2015, reinforced my conviction in the build up to this Summit.

Esteemed Colleagues, our choice of Dr. Dumebi O. Mordi for the lead address of this Summit, is another demonstration of our total commitment to “Disruptive Innovative thinking”. She is an erudite young woman, a Community Pharmacist of note, consumed with passion towards striving for Community Pharmacy’s continuous relevance and sustainability.

Also gathered here, perhaps for the very first time at an event like this, are representatives of key development partners in the health Sector of our economy. I am highly humbled by your warm acceptance of our invitation.

I LOVE COMMUNITY PHARMACY…

The Community Pharmacy, by design will, based on our unique design of progressive steps to be taken, which will culminate in a model that will win again and again, in every location within and outside Nigeria, based on underlying principles with flexible modalities of implementation, become a reference point in retail as well as wholesale through “the magic formula” we will all be concocting together at this Summit.

Thus, the raw materials at this Summit are what you brought; your experience, your ideas, your challenges, your desires. The expected outputs are models for people, process and product management; winning operational procedures, structures and policies we shall be creating together.

As you and I deliberate over the next few hours, I want you to know that, we will be making history.  What you say will be very important, what you do not say, will be even more important. Together, you and I, are all geniuses. That is the reason we called each one of us to contribute.

As we rub minds, let us drop everything that will get in the way knowing that our goal is more important than each one of us. Let us decide to agree to agree, and disagree to disagree. Let us decide to speak with one voice for our common good and that of generations of Community Pharmacists yet unborn.

In our bid to drive this process, I will like to unfold our thoughts at the level of the  National Executive Committee and will naturally expect the various committees to critically appraise these proposals which we hope will become the fulcrum of building the Community Pharmacy practice of our dreams. They include:

  1. A National Prescription Policy (NPP).

  2. Proper labelling initiatives in Community Pharmacies.

  3. Access to safe medicines as a human right of the Nigerian citizenry.

  4. Boosting inspectorate activities of the PCN and NAFDAC.

  5. Corporate image for Community Pharmacists.

  6. Enhanced visibility and media presence.

 

  1. A National Prescription Policy (NPP): In 2013, the PSN had the initiative to drive the need for a NPP. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) acceded to this request by setting up a National Committee on the project. The President of PSN and the Acting Registrar of PCN were on that committee. I have echoed this same request for the NPP from the time I took over the reigns of leadership of ACPN. Fortunately, we have information that the FMOH is already working on this abandoned project, compelled by the unhealthy professional rivalry in our midst.

 

For effect however, especially in the Private Sector where there are palpable challenges with prescription and dispensing endeavours, we clamour strongly for the inclusion of ACPN and AGPMPN, its equivalent in the Medical profession, as these are bodies of stakeholders who will facilitate a successful mandate at the Private Sector level where there is no formal prescription structure in Nigeria. The need for the NPP cannot be overemphasized as it will afford us controlled and regulated access to medicines. This will ultimately reduce the ravaging menace of drug abuse and misuse in Nigeria.

 

  1. Proper labeling initiative in CPs: A value added service CPs must provide, in the unfolding dispensation, is proper labelling of medicines dispensed from Community Pharmacy premises. We must eradicate the practice of writing on product packs in manners which end up confusing the patient/client. One of the golden areas of our training was dispensing practical which must set the tone for carrying out this endeavor in our practices.

 

We shall approach this venture through a pilot programme early next year in selected cities. Ultimately, we shall push for bulk printing of prescription labels, for members to drastically reduce cost, as we urge all CPs to embrace this act through the instrumentality of the PCN.

 

  1. Access to safe medicines as a human right of the Nigerian citizenry: The ACPN will partner with some civil society groups with the aim of reaching out to the National Human Rights Commission (NHCR) to entrench the philosophy of access to safe medicines as a Human Right of Nigerians. This will boost the tenets of Consumerism and portray Pharmacists as patient-friendly. We shall consult further on this move and revert back to you, dear colleagues.

 

  1. Boosting inspectorate activities of the PCN and NAFDAC: Our membership has been severely affected by inadequacies and shortcomings in the totality of monitoring and control procedures in Nigeria. This has led many to believe that private sector players are over regulated in Nigeria though it is obvious that the necessary support packages that should be associated with such regulation are almost non-existence.

 

We shall work with the PCN and NAFDAC to strategize on how to make more resources available to boost a culture of ethically driven inspectorate activities. We shall specifically request for joint inspectorate teams from these Agencies to redress our challenges.

 

The Federal and State Task Forces on Counterfeit medicines must be made to work again. It is imperative for us to partner with PCN and NAFDAC to actualize the NDDG targets, goals and objectives. In particular, we shall encourage the PCN to take advantage of the manning levels approved for its new Enforcement Department by the office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSOF) in the bid for coordinated and effective monitoring and control.

 

In the spirit of the above, we shall amplify the noble gestures of our forebears who championed the agenda of at least 1% of our professional fees being dedicated to ensuring the usage of stamps and seals in practice.

 

These efforts will all be well managed to improve the lot of the Community Pharmacist which will rub off on better quality service to Nigerian consumers of healthcare.

 

  1. Corporate image for CPs: In recognition that the future begins today, we shall embark on the reflected ancillary measures which include but are not limited to:

 

a. A future package that will focus on standardized but uniform shelving pattern in registered CPs. The structure in these Pharmacies will emphasize concepts like Pharmacy based specialized clinics for care e.g. anti-natal, family planning, diet management regimens in our Pharmacies to meet the expectation of vintage Health Facilities. These programs will feature Home Service Care as well as other routine primary healthcare services.

 

b. CPs must embrace IT systems, Pharma-softwares and other innovations that enhance the practice.

 

c. In the quest for better recognition of our role and repositioning as Health Facilities, we must embellish group practice with other colleagues as a priority. A lot of our stand-alone Pharmacies are not viable and need to merge with others that are stronger with impactful outputs.

 

The group practice phenomenon must be expanded to collaborative healthcare practice with other healthcare workers for maximal effects. In these different settings, Pharmacists must excel in the Pharmaceutical Care Concept with premium emphasis on documentation of our various interventions at all levels.

 

Other critical advances will include full implementation of various expanded roles of Community Pharmacists that include point of care testing, immunization, which is consistent with the practice in over 80% of CPs in the USA, Canada, Portugal etc.

 

  1. Enhanced visibility and media presence: Dear colleagues and friends of Pharmacy, we shall embark on a ceaseless media blitz to enhance the visibility and corporate profile of the CP of today and the future. We shall make this cost effective by utilizing our goodwill with all who will assist to make this happen in the days ahead.

 

CONCLUSION

I must thank you all for finding time to be part of this agenda of new beginnings and fresh thinking. I assure you that our doors are open to suggestions and constructive criticism. With your support, we shall attain our modest target to move Community Pharmacy to the next level in Nigeria.

Thank you all and God bless.

Long live Community Pharmacy! Long live Nigeria!

 

Samuel Adekola

 

National Chairman, ACPN

 

 

 

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