Pharmacists Encouraged to Participate in Partisan Politics in Order to Influence Policy on Community Pharmacy

Fred Iboi
Fred Iboi, a renowned Benin-based pharmacist and Managing Director of Flowell Pharmacy, Benin City

Pharmacists in Nigeria have been advised to get involved in partisan politics in order to have a voice in policy formulation. Fred Iboi, a renowned Benin-based pharmacist and Managing Director of Flowell Pharmacy, Benin City, who spoke as chairman of the 2023 Summit of the Edo State chapter of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, (ACPN) also encouraged pharmacists to mobilise and support any pharmacist contesting for political office since “those in government make the laws and we need to be represented.”
Iboi noted that since policies were formulated by political office holders, it was important that pharmacists got involved in politics so that they would be able to influence policies that could enhance community pharmacy, stressing that it was only when they were involved that their interests would be protected.
According to the pharmacist, “Pharmacists should go into politics as one of the emerging opportunities. If you don’t have anyone in government, nobody will speak for you. As one of the emerging opportunities, it is your responsibility to see that whenever any pharmacist is contesting an election, we must mobilise to support him or her. Those in government make the laws and we need to be represented.”
While commending Governor Godwin Obaseki for his efforts at revamping primary healthcare delivery in the state, Iboi noted that with the government policy, “every ward in the state is earmarked for one primary healthcare centre. New ones are being built, and the old ones are being renovated.”
“Pharmacists are needed in the rural areas. Community pharmacy is another emerging opportunity. The current policy in place on community pharmacy needs to be fine-tuned if pharmacists are to take their clinical experiences to the rural areas”, Iboi submitted.
Welcoming participants to the summit with the theme, “Emerging Opportunities for Pharmacy in Healthcare Delivery: Community Pharmacists’ Preparedness”, the state’s chairman of ACPN, Dr. Allen Iboi, said that the theme was “carefully chosen to proactively espouse the new frontiers for community pharmacists in 21st-century healthcare delivery, and also stimulate commitment from our colleagues to explore same.”
Dr. Iboi disclosed that over the past few years, the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the ACPN at the national levels, had had several engagements with various health sector stakeholders with a view of expanding the roles of pharmacists in healthcare delivery, adding that such engagements had led to “pharmacists, particularly community pharmacists, being considered in the conversation with respect to primary healthcare services including vaccination/immunization, contraception and family planning services, health insurance provision, consultancy cadre and more.”
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of, Organising Committee of the summit, Dr. Nwachukwu Idemili, noted that with the summit, members of the Edo ACPN were “at the forefront of an exciting and dynamic period for the pharmaceutical industry”, adding that “the discussions, ideas, and insights that will be shared here during the course of this event will undoubtedly shape the industry for years to come”.
Delivering the keynote address on the theme of the summit, Dr. Joseph Madu, National Chairman, of the Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria (CPAN), said that “pharmacy practice in Nigeria should be on the same level as other countries of the world and with commendable health indices too”.
“It is important to clarify that every Pharmacist can practice clinical Pharmacy and pharmaceutical care to some extent, but every Pharmacist is not a Clinical Pharmacist. This is analogous to the scenario whereby every physician is trained to perform surgery to an extent, but every physician is not a surgeon. To be a Clinical Pharmacist, certain qualifications or certifications are necessary, and they include PharmD, Mpharm/MSc in Clinical Pharmacy, Ph.D. in clinical Pharmacy for generalist clinical Pharmacists, while Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacy, Residency or Board certification in an area of clinical Pharmacy produces specialist clinical Pharmacists.”
“As a Community Pharmacist, what emerging opportunities have you been passing over repeatedly? The ever-growing and complex variety of medications, medication information, and non-adherence to prescribed medications, have compelled the Pharmacist’s position as a health professional to evolve into a more patient-centered strategy (pharmaceutical care). The concept of Pharmaceutical Care and Clinical Pharmacy Practice has no doubt created a vast number of opportunities for community Pharmacists, and more opportunities are still emerging. It is refreshing to observe the evolving roles of Pharmacists in disease and medication therapy as well as in wellness and disease prevention. Community Pharmacists need to review their practice model to accommodate service offerings in a manner that advances patient care and yields revenue for the practice.
“Overseas, there are medical complexes, physicians’ offices, and clinics, nursing or geriatric homes where Pharmacists render Community Clinical Services by monitoring and reviewing the use of drugs in these medical facilities. In Nigeria, certain new roles for community Pharmacists have legally emerged and more are still emerging. Community Pharmacies are now approved as vaccination centres for COVID-19, and efforts are underway to capture more of the routine vaccines”, Dr. Madu said.

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