By SOLA OGUNDIPE
Pharmacists in the country have been prevailed upon to review their roles and prove their worth by exhibiting the deserved level of professionalism in their practice, despite the harsh nature of the terrain in which they operate.
A professor of pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacokinetics, Prof. Chinedum Babalola who gave the admonition last week at the 7th inaugural lecture of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, appealed to all pharmacists to practice more professionally by providing adequate information on drug usage to the patient, the public, other healthcare providers, and government.
Babalola, who is the first female Nigerian pharmacist to be elected and inducted Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, urged her professional colleagues to “Let us prove that pharmacy is a unique profession that provides unique medication and care to people.”
Quoting the pharmacy motto , she remarked: “I am proud to be a pharmacist because there can be no healthcare without drugs. Pharmacy students go through one of the most rigorous academic exposures because they simultaneously combine science with skill acquisition.”
Lamenting the hijack of the profession at all levels by non-professionals, she admonished fellow healthcare providers to understand and appreciate the roles of pharmacists.
“Let our goals be to work together to provide optimum care to our patients. Do not see pharmacists as encroaching into your positions when they want to do ward rounds.
“With their knowledge of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenetics, they can assist immensely in patient care in collaboration with you,” she noted.
Babalola who described pharmacy as an evolving profession, acknowleged the emergence of pharmacists who are specialists in cardiology, paediatrics, surgery, medicine, among others. She recommended that drugs used in hospitals and other facilities should be subjected to routine analysis in pharmacy departments.
“Government should set up a health institution such as the National Institute of Health, NIH, in the USA for provision of delegated grants for health research, noting that agencies such as NIPRD and NIMR should be better funded and monitored, while regulatory agencies like NAFDAC, should partner with pharmacists in the academia through training, contract analysis and other means to give the country safe and effective drugs.
She appealled to entrepreneurs to set up foundations to fund quality researches in universities just like Bill Gates, MacArthur, Carnegie and several others.
With over two decades of research experience, Babalola’s findings from pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and pharmacogenetic studies have generated a database for guide dose optimisation in Africans.