5,000 converge on Ibadan for Pharmacists’ Conference, AGM

PSN President Ahmed Yakasai (middle) flanked by other exco members and project engineer and architect during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 8-floor PSN Towers at Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday
PSN President Ahmed Yakasai (middle) flanked by other exco members and project engineer and architect during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 8-floor PSN Towers at Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday

About 5000 pharmacists across the country and in the diaspora have arrived in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for the 91st Annual Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).

The week-long conference, tagged ‘Oluyole 2018’, will formally begin today with dignitaries discussing the theme, ‘Innovative Disruption in Pharmacy in Emerging Economies: A Roadmap for Nigeria.’

Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is expected to declare the event open as Special Guest of Honour, while the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, is the Chief Host.

The PSN President, Ahmed Yakasai, said Pharm. Clare Omatseye, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) and Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, JNC International Limited, is the keynote speaker, while the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, will be the royal father at the opening ceremony.

Yakasai explained that the theme has been carefully chosen to advance the national discourse on survival and significance in a time of rapid and turbulent change.

He said, “This unique conference will, therefore, exploit avenues for this much sought-after truism as it concerns the pharmaceutical sector of the economy.

“The PSN Annual National Conference is a peculiar gathering of close to 5000 pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists nationwide as well as the diaspora. So you should expect a new positive force of disruption to emerge, pharmaceutically speaking, after November 3, 2018.

“Our traditional programmes, including the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) programme, scientific poster sessions, panel discussions, seminars, Town Hall meeting, Annual General Meeting, excursions, social night and banquet will feature, with improved output.”

Pharmacists consider this 91st conference unique since it would feature the election of the new President of the society, who will take over from the outgoing President, Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai.

The conference is not just an annual ritual but a gathering of intellectuals deliberating on the pressing challenges confronting healthcare delivery with a view to proffering solutions from the point of view of pharmacists considered as major partners in healthcare delivery globally.

Since November 2015 when Yakasai became the President of PSN, the society has upped the ante in not only making its voice heard in the healthcare delivery value chain in Nigeria, but also in being in the forefront of championing the cause of quality healthcare in Nigeria.

One major issue that dominates the Council under Yakassai’s leadership is the menace of drug abuse, on which the Society has worked closely with other stakeholders to bring to limelight.

The implementation of the National Drug Policy by the federal government has also featured prominently in the agenda of the PSN in recent times. The policy, if well implemented, according to the PSN, would curb the menace of drug abuse and empower local pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“For medicines security, the government must, as a matter of urgency, take critical action to implement the National Drug Policy to promote local drug production, reduce dependence on imported medicines and implement without any further delay the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines,” Yakasai had said.

He added, “As experts in medicines, pharmacists have always been known as an accessible and trusted source of advice and treatment. Our role in the health care delivery is indispensable. Today, our contribution to healthcare is developing in new ways to support patients in their use of medicines and as part of clinical decision-making across the range of ailments.

“This is the major reason why the PSN continues to champion the dire need for a consultancy cadre in public service pharmacy practice. Professions exist to serve the society, therefore, our mission as pharmacists must address the needs of our society. Our duty is to work and ensure that the added value we bring to healthcare and our potentials is taken into account and respected by policy makers and other health professionals. We note here that there is a lot of competition, confrontation and distrust in the health sector.”

Again, the PSN has recently commenced moves to resolve the age-long inter-profession rivalry in the health sector by having several meetings with the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to forge a common front on how to foster harmony in the sector.

Yakasai, who spoke on the issue while briefing newsmen on the 91st Conference, said there was a new improved relationship between the NMA and PSN and, in extension, among healthcare practitioners in the country.

“We sincerely believe that as healthcare practitioners we must work together in the interest of patients in order to improve the quality of health of the nation. Together we are stronger,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PSN President last Friday performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the society’s multi-million naira eight-floor edifice tagged, “PSN Towers”.

The ceremony came after a long struggle by the PSN to retrieve its land located in the eyebrow area of Victoria Island in Lagos from land speculators.

The land, which is estimated at 1,430 square metres, was allocated to the society by a former civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, when he was giving lands to professional bodies which applied for it.

The Chairman of the Property Committee, Dr John Nwaiwu said, “This story is a long term story. It has been on and off. When we acquired it, some people had an arrangement with us. But they couldn’t keep their own part of the bargain and so on and so forth. In fact, we almost lost it.

“We succeeded to retrieve it due to the hard work and greater commitment of our President, Ahmed Yakasai. He almost touched the sky to make sure we got the land back. It’s kudos to him,” Nwaiwu said.

The PSN Secretary, Pharmacist Emeka Duru, also commended the rare show of leadership displayed by Yakasai during his stint as the President. He corroborated Nwaiwu’s assertion that the outgoing PSN President made it possible for the society to retrieve its landed property that it almost lost.

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