By Chioma Obinna
TOWARDS improving the skills of General Practice Physicians across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, not less than 5,000 physicians have benefitted from a special initiative put in place by Pfizer.
Known as Pfizer’s General Practitioners’,GP, programme, between July and August 2017, a total of 2000 doctors were reached through the use of technology.
The programme is a corporate social responsibility medical education initiative of the pharmaceutical company tagged: “Learning Exchange Advancement Programme”, LEAP.
According to the Marketing Director of Pfizer Essential Health, Winston Ailemoh, the objective which is two-fold aims to get closer to the GPs, who are the first point of call for patients, in order to get a deeper understanding of their peculiar practice-related circumstances and needs, as well as contribute to updating their knowledge and skills on current trends in medical practice.
“We believe that at the end of the day, if the patients get better care, Pfizer’s mission of saving lives will be achieved. But our primary target is to improve the knowledge of the GPs and make them better in diagnosis, management of the patients and recommending what is best for the patients.
“We have realised over time that this is one segment within the healthcare sector that had been neglected by a lot of pharmaceutical companies.”
Ailemoh observed that the focus of most pharmaceutical companies has been on specialists.
“They invest in cardiologists, oncologists, diabetologists, etc. But when an individual is sick, he or she usually goes to the general practice physician first. So, our focus is on the general practitioners.”
He said the programme has engaged doctors in all the geo-political zones of each country (Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya) and recently re-strategised on how to reach more doctors leveraging modern technology.
“We started asking ourselves towards the end of last year how we can reach more doctors, and we decided to leverage technology on a monthly basis to attain a wider coverage across multiple centres in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
“From May 2017, we started experimenting with a broadcast centre in Lagos and receiving centres in different parts of Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Four months down the line, it has been an amazing success story for us today”, he said.
He said participants are sourced daily from private and public hospitals across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
“Invitations are extended through the medical representatives and their managers, who engage not less than 50 hospitals weekly”, he informed. ”Barring any hitches, from September, Pfizer is looking to extend the reach to Benin, Calabar, Enugu and Kano.
Corroborating his views, the Brand Manager, Primary Care, Olakunle Ogunlowo, said the programme has achieved its objectives i.e.to get closer to the GPs, and also update their knowledge with latest world class medical education.