PCN to introduce pharmaceutical oncology into its training

Registrar, Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, Mr Elijah Mohammed has announced plans to include pharmaceutical oncology into its continuous professional training to increase safety of cancer treatment in Nigeria.

Mr Mohammed made the disclosure at the opening of a four-day workshop with the theme ‘Pharmaceutical Care in Oncology Practice’ at the University College Hospital (UCH).

It was organised by the Pharmacy Department of the hospital in collaboration with Centre for Global Health, University of Chicago, USA.

Mr Elijah Mohammed, speaking though Mrs Emily Olalere, said that it was important to ensure that pharmacists know more about these drugs and be able to counsel patients appropriately on their use.

The registrar, while commending UCH, Ibadan, for taking a lead in pharmaceutical oncology, said involvement of pharmacists in this field was still low.

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The vice chancellor, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Professor Chinedum  Babalola, in an overview of global burden of cancer said that cancer has a significant disease burden in low and middle income countries.

According to her, cancer causes and outcomes are very different between more and less developed countries, suggesting that there would be different cancer prevention and control strategies in directing resources into cancer research.

Babalola, who called for increased funding for cancer research in the country, said that pharmacists play critical role in increasing successful treatment and survival of cancer patients.

“Oncology pharmacists play very crucial role in cancer patients’ care, diagnosis and therapy.

As part of a multidisciplinary team, an oncology pharmacist has major roles in assuring safe and effective drug therapy.

“Cancer drugs are toxic with irreversible reactions; pharmacists are needed in cancer patients’ care to maximise benefits and reduce toxicity,” she said.

Earlier, the hospital’s chief medical director, Professor Abiodun Otegbayo, said cancer remains one of the top killer diseases in the hospital in the last three years.

The CMD, who was represented by the chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Dr Victor Akinmoladun, said that the other two top causes of death and ill health were infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke and HIV/AIDS.

Professor Otegbayo, however, declared that the hospital had recently acquired new cancer treatment machines and was planning to buy more for its use.

He stated: “The hospital management is in full support of this workshop because we know that it will help us in addressing some of the challenges that our cancer patients face.

“Pharmaceutical oncology is a critical part of cancer care. The Department of Pharmacy has paid a lot of attention to oncology cases and we hope that the department will become the hub and the foremost in pharmaceutical oncology in the country.”