Expert harps on pharmacists’ new roles in public health

PharmacistsA pioneer coordinator and chief executive of National Programme on Immunization in Nigeria, Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika, has said pharmacists nowadays had more important roles to play in the advancement of public health in the country than those of the olden days.

She said this while delivering the 2nd Ladipo Mobolaji Abisogun-Afodu annual lecture in pharmacy, organised by the University of Lagos, Akoka, at the College of Medicine of the university at Idi-Araba, last week.

She spoke on “Enhancing the role of pharmacists in public health in Nigeria.”

According to her, pharmacy is a dynamic and increasingly diverse profession, and it is only the knowledgeable, well-equipped and evenly distributed pharmacists that can contribute meaningfully to the country’s attainment of universal health coverage and sustainable development goals.

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Awosika, a PhD holder in pharmacy technology from University of Bradford, United Kingdom, however, explained that the paradigm shift for pharmacy practice which took a great turn in 1990 with the introduction of pharmacy care concept really transformed the profession to be more accountable in patient care, especially by ensuring that a patient achieves positive outcomes drug therapy.

She added that any functional and operational public health system would, therefore, require human resources that would promote the health and well-being of the target beneficiaries and that pharmacists are key participants in this regard.

“So, we all have collective roles as pharmacists to public health and we could effectively do this by strengthening and broadening our education, collaborating with relevant bodies,  carrying out responsive regulation and optimising research on new technology and innovation,” she said.

In his remark at the event, the chairman on the occasion and founder of Pharmanews Ltd, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, said he believes that the participants at the forum would make good use of the knowledge gained back home.

Speaking earlier, the vice-chancellor of UNILAG, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, thanked the family of the donor of the N36 million endowment, Late Mrs Frederica Abimbola Omololu-Mulele, saying the lecture series being organised in the honour of her late father, Frederick Mobolaji Benson, were designed to stimulate public discussion in pharmacy industry and were so far, yielding great results.

Ogundipe, who was represented at the event by the Director of Academic Planning Unit of the university, Prof Solomon Okunuga, called on other Nigerians to support not only the endowment drive of UNILAG, but also her research activities and the education sector as a whole so as to move Nigeria to join prosperous countries of the world.