Wins 2019 Shalina Young Talent Award
By Sola Ogundipe
Shalina Healthcare, is set to promote pharmacy as a profession in Nigeria by engaging tertiary health institutions in the country in the professional development of young pharmacists.
The Managing Director, Mr. Somnath Malakar, who spoke in Lagos during the grand finale of the 2019 Shalina Young Talent Award, SYTA, said the Award would be a sustainable project and we will keep investing in people who matters the most. This is one of the ways our company is reaching out to its community.
“I agree that most companies start and back out of projects but that will depend on their perspectives too. We have seen a lot of the benefits that it would make more sense to keep this project in place for the future,” Malakar said.
He noted that at the regional level, Shalina connected directly with about 365 contestants in the 2019 edition of the contest, with nine emerging at the grand finale.
In his earlier address, Folorunso Alaran, regional marketing manager (West Africa), Shalina Healthcare, explained that SYTA initially began as an idea conceived with no particular direction but with a clear objective of purpose.
“Several trips were taken to seek opinion across many schools on how best to organize an objective and flawless competition. The result of those effort is what we have today.
“It involved zonal rounds in various competing schools where each zonal champions were duly recognized and celebrated amongst their classmates. I am glad that we have eventually discovered the ‘Best Pharmacy Brain’ for the 2018-2019 Maiden Edition,” he said.
The students competed for the coveted prize money at the grand finale of the competition, described as the biggest hunt for the best Pharmacy brain in Nigeria.
Folashade Salako, a final year student of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, clinched the award to emerge the best pharmacy brain in the country.
She beat two other contestants from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan – Temiwunmi Akinmuleya and Adeboye Bamgboye to second and third places respectively.
There were debates, case studies, open presentations, clinical and pharmacological quizzes, among a host of other criteria to pick the eventual winner.
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, in an address read by Pharm. Okame Okah-Arae, applauded the initiative and declared that it is the dream of every parent to see their children excel.
“I know if your parents were to be here, they will be proud of what you have achieved today. I must commend the lecturers for moulding these young brains in preparation for their future career. Kudos must also go to Shalina Healthcare for putting up this innovative programme,” he said.
The National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria, AHAPN, Dr Kingsley Amibor said Shalina had set the pace and called on other pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria to follow suit.
“It is a talent hunt. The idea is to challenge our students to become sound and to realise that there is reward for the hard work they put into their studies. The event is also quite versatile in terms of knowledge base.
“It is not only restricted to one arm of pharmacy practice. It encompassed all aspect of pharmaceutical care and outside the scope of pharmacy.
“I think it is a worthwhile programme. From what I have seen today, the students were challenged and I have no doubt that they will be encouraged to take their studies serious from now,” he noted.
Amibor said the contest also served as a career guidance for the students adding that many now know more about the various aspects of pharmacy they can veer into after graduation.
In his own views, the National Chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Pharm Samuel Adekola, Shalina Healthcare had created a laudable initiative.
“I have witnessed something like this in the past in my final year (Part 4) then. A company held a similar event, which talked about black hypertensive story. However it wasn’t as detailed and robust as the one we have here today.
“Competition like this will always stimulate interest. Through this initiative, these young pharmacists would have a level of motivation and confidence that would impact a sense of excellence in them. Invariably, this would contribute significantly to quality of graduating pharmacy students,” he remarked.