*Seeks PSN’s partnership on local vaccines manufacturing

*We can’t keep relying on import of about 70% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, it adds

*As new PSN’s president,Usifoh is inaugurated

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA–THE federal government has challenged pharmacists in the country to actively engage in search of new methods and systems to improve the use of medicines.

The government also tasked the pharmacists to acquire needed skills and knowledge in order to remain relevant with advancing technology as it relates to Pharmacy.

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This was even as it sought the collaboration of their umbrella body, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, on local vaccines manufacturing, saying the country cannot keep relying on importation of about 70% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients.

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, who stated these in his goodwill message at the inauguration of the new president and investiture of new fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, held Thursday night in Abuja.

Noting that, “Medicine remains the bedrock of healthcare delivery services, without medicines most diseases are untreatable,” the minister said, “I, therefore, urge you (pharmacists), to actively engage in search of new methods and systems to improve the use of medicines, acquire needed skills and knowledge in order to remain relevant with advancing technology as it relates to Pharmacy.”

Mamora,who said,”The Federal Ministry of Health is seriously working to acquire capacity for local vaccines manufacturing”,solicited for partnership from the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

“This is an area, I understand, the PSN President is keen to support. Please, partner with the ministry to ensure we realize this objective,” he begged.

He said, “Currently, the ministry is partnering with May & Baker Nigeria PLC in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), which birthed the Biovaccines Nigeria Limited (BVNL)- a special purpose vehicle towards local vaccines manufacturing.”

“We must work towards making Nigeria a regional hub for vaccine manufacturing at the minimum,” he said.

Noting also that, “The Covid-19 Pandemic has shown that we cannot as a nation, continue to rely on the importation of about 70% of our gross domestic need of finished and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)”, he said:” We must collectively change this narrative by making Nigeria self-sufficient in the production of finished Pharmaceuticals and APIs.”

“The ministry is determined to achieve this and looks forward to your partnership,”the minister added.

“Through its appropriate agencies, the Ministry will continue to support your efforts toward encouraging Pharmacy education, Research & Scholarship, and promote high ethical standards of the Pharmacy Profession.

“Medicine remains the bedrock of healthcare delivery services, without medicines most diseases are untreatable.

“This is why the Pharmacy profession is such an important Human Resource for Health and Government will continue to create a conducive working environment for the practice of pharmacy regardless of the field of Pharmacy you chose to practice: Hospital, Administrative, Academics, Industry, Community, etc” he added.

Speaking to the Fellows of the PSN, Dr. Mamora assured them that the “Federal Ministry of Health stands shoulder to shoulder with you to advance the Pharmacy profession for the health and social welfare of Nigerians.”

In his speech at the occasion, the newly inaugurated president of PSN, Prof. Cyril Odianose Usifoh, called for the cooperation of all pharmacists with his administration to move the pharmacy profession to greater heights.

He appealed to members of the organisation to eschew bitterness and embrace “genuine dialogue, listen to each other and forgive one another despite our differences.”

According to him,”If we want a united and progressive Pharmaspace where Pharmacists are increasingly relevant and respected for their invaluable contributions, then we need to work as a family.”

” Let us strengthen the bond of unity, as men of honour.
We should reconcile knowing you may be right today and wrong tomorrow. We must forget our ‘carry overs’ especially those of anger and bitterness.

“I encourage all Pharmacists to embrace genuine dialogue, listen to each other, and forgive one another despite our differences. In this dispensation, we will always listen and act appropriately. Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable.

“Hopefully we can then improve the visibility of pharmacists, properly network with the healthcare team and other professionals for the growth and development of Nigeria,” he said.

According to the new PSN president,”We can also ensure an enabling environment for Pharmacists and the implementation of responsible use of medicines by building constructive partnership through effective communications with the following core operating principles of accountability, professionalism and transparency.”

He pledged:”I will, with the cooperation of my Colleagues in NEC and Council provide a purpose-driven leadership for all technical and interest groups of PSN.”

Quoting Dean Waitley as saying,”There are two primary choices of life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them”, Usifoh begged his colleagues thus:”Join me as we change Pharmacy and indeed the Pharmaspace positively for the patient, pharmacist, healthcare team and indeed Nigeria.”

Earlier, in her keynote address, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, described the new PSN president,Pharm. Cyril Usifoh,as “a senior and distinguished Professor of the University of Benin who has been a source of pride not only to the University of Benin but also to the Pharmacy profession and indeed Nigeria.”

Noting that the,”Fellowship of a professional body is the highest recognition for the services that have been rendered by specialists over many years”,she prayed that:”May those being invested today use their new status to the betterment of the Pharmacy profession.”

Prof. Salami,who described pharmacists as experts in drugs, as they “discover them, manufacture them and are the repository of knowledge on how they should be handled and used”,added that,”Pharmacist counsel on the adverse effects of drugs and play clinical interventional roles that bring huge positive outcomes to patient treatment.”

“Pharmacists are not just the custodians and fabricators of drugs, they are also great administrators. A nation is as strong as its medicine security. In many ways, Pharmacists secure their nations and contribute to developing the economy. Pharmacists are simply great people! Congratulation President of PSN! Congratulations new Fellows of PSN! Congratulations Nigerian Pharmacists”,she said.

She expressed deep gratitude to the organizers of the event for asking her to be the keynote speaker on the topic ‘’Igniting our Society, Connecting the Dots’’.

“This topic is apt particularly now that all developmental indices place our dear Nigeria as one that is struggling; we must therefore, ignite our society by connecting the dots if we are truly serious about overcoming our current challenges,”she said.

According to her,”Our dear country has fallen short of its attainments despite the resources, both human and material available to it.”

” We are all familiar with the numerous problems confronting us today as a nation. I wish to state, however, that we can positively arrest the situation if we ignite, and dot the positive values in our society through conscientious, dedicated and patriotic reorientation of the values in our society. From the historical perspective, it can be seen that while our traditional and post-independence societies were not perfect, things have since taken a negative turn for the worst,”she said.

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