By Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi
EXPERTS have shown direct links between efficient health system governance and promising health workers outputs, which ultimately have positive effects on overall health outcomes. However access to poor investments in research and development, quality drugs, distrust, dissensions and recurring conflicts among different professional groups in the health sector are some issues that have conspired to ensure that poor health outcomes still persist throughout the country.
As a collective that brings together distinguished pharmacists across different spheres of life, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy drives thought leadership and provides expert opinion on matters pertaining to the pharmacy profession and health outcomes in general. The Academy has championed the cause of interdisciplinarity, by working steadfastly to promote harmony and team spirit among all members of the health team and other relevant professions, so that every patient enjoys wholesome and beneficial health care. Our mentorship programme in which we provide mentoring and support to young pharmacists is also progressing well, with several eminent pharmacists sacrificing their time to mentor and motivate these young professionals.
As I stated at one of our Investiture ceremonies, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy owes a debt to society. We owe society a duty to help unravel better, safer, more convenient and more affordable medicines and treatment regimens for diseases that afflict mankind, especially those that are endemic to our region of the world.
It is for this reason that research is central to our operations, one of the major reasons, indeed, that the Academy came to being. We want to complement local and international efforts that support scientific research and research activities. Much of the work we have done in this regard has been in the area of advocacy, in engaging government and policy makers on the essence of scientific research and why it is critical to provide better funding and other moral support to scientific research focused institutions as well as individual researchers. We have also, by thought leadership, striven to bring these issues to the fore of public consciousness as a way of shoring up interest by the public and systematically pressurising government to avail scientific research of more support.
In championing the cause of transformational change and innovation by encouraging industry, Research and Development and seizing the several technology advancement opportunities open to Pharmacare, we have birthed the Olu Akinkugbe Research and Innovation Centre of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy. This is a vehicle we have created to give enduring impact to research and development in Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical space.
Among other things, a pharmacy-driven Research and Innovation centre would serve as an enabling resource for Nigeria investigators involved in lead discovery and development even as our desire is to see pharmacy professionals increasingly engage and lead at multi-disciplinary research forums with a view to generating high quality medicines related research that in turn will provide insight and inform key policy and operational decisions across a wide portfolio of medicines-related issues.
It goes without saying that in a clime such as ours, the pharmaceutical sector has a special role as its products, safe and efficacious medicines are important in providing effective health care for the population. In pharmaceutical industries across the world, medicinal plants have now become an integral component of research as they represent an unparalleled source of molecular diversity for drug discovery and development.
Our recent bestowal of a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy on Chief Oludolapo Ibukun Akinkugbe is a token of our appreciation of his enormous strides not only in the Pharmacy profession but indeed in all other aspects of human endeavour. As he turns 90 in December, it is only fitting and proper that his number one constituency, Pharmacy, kicks off the celebration of an illustrious role model whose legacy of love, sacrifice and service would be forever etched in our hearts and minds. It is in the same vein that we induct General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma as only the second ever Honorary Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, following in the footsteps of another respected statesman and General, Dr. Yakubu Gowon. He remains one of the most passionate supporters of the Pharmacy profession and a most generous benefactor of scientific research.
As an Academy, we will continuously create paradigms to elevate the relevance of the practice of the profession at all levels, particularly in the areas of improved patient care and international best practice. There has never been a more important time for pharmacy professionals to provide evidence of the contribution they make to the health and wellbeing of the nation than now. Whether we work in hospitals or the community, in academia or the high street, we’re all pharmacists and we need to work together to develop and enhance the standing of the profession.