The 28th Annual Conference of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria on Wednesday held in Awka, Anambra State Capital, with the need stressed for tertiary institutions to invest in training digital pharmacists that will drive the use of technology in pharmaceutical practice.
The event with the theme, “Technological Revolution: Panacea to challenges in pharmaceutical practice in Nigeria,” had as its participants, pharmacists from within and beyond Anambra State.
It also provided the platform for interaction by practitioners on grey areas of the practice, with professional providing answers to the questions.
Declaring the event open, Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano who was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, said the health sector has a lot of challenges and the adoption of technology, can play a great role in addressing the problems.
He said his government has keyed into the availings of technology, to advance the pharmaceutical practice in the state.
“One of the things we have done as a government in the pharmaceutical sector, was to align the state with the realization of the 2012 Drug Distribution Guideline by way of establishing a Wholesale Centre in Anambra State. I am super impressed that the current leadership of the PSN in Anambra is working hard to ensure that is achieved in the next three months,” he said.
He said the centre is critical as the state harbours the largest open drug market in the world.
“With the problem we are having with drug distribution in the state, especially understanding that the state has the largest drug market in the world, the centre will help us control that. Working together and with the deployment of technology especially in manufacturing, quality control, drug distribution, prescription and even value to our retail pharmacy, we can be able as pharmacists, to deliver effective service to our people,” the governor said.
The State Chairman of the PSN, Pharmacist Josephat Obasi said the choice of the theme for the conference was carefully chosen, for the purpose of finding solutions to some of the challenges facing the practice of the profession in Nigeria.
According to him, there is the need for pharmacists to embrace the trend with technology, to meet the global needs of their roles as pharmacists especially in the 21st century, which is driven by technology.
He also spoke of the efforts of addressing the chaotic drug distribution system in the state.
“We have intensified efforts to end the chaotic drug distribution system in the state by partnering with Central Pharmaceutical Wholesale and Allied ltd, at Coordinated Wholesale Centre, Oba, the only approved CWC in Anambra State and we thank the Federal Ministry of Health and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, for the approval and their support.
“We are currently working with PCN to sop proliferation of illegal premises especially by quacks.
“One thing is sure, we promise Anambra residents quality pharmaceutical services to safeguard their lives,” he pledged.
In a keynote presentation, the National Chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists, Pharmacist Ken Onuegbu acknowledged that drugs in the Nigerian market will continue to be of low standard because of obvious challenges, saying while technology is key to addressing some of the issues, it is equally important to breed ICT-compliant personnel to drive the process.
“The primary purpose of any technological revolution is to create a new or improved product or process whose technological characteristics are significantly different from the initial one.
“A good technology-driven product or system innovation should keep people safe and healthy, maintain less error, promote simplicity and efficiency, enhance decision making, promote mobile working and achieve greater speed in delivery.
“It is therefore not in doubt that through technological revolution, we can find the solution to most of the challenges confronting our pharmaceutical practice,” he said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, ASHIA, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi said the theme of the conference was apt, considering the need for pharmacists to overcome the disruptions of the 21st century and still be relevant.
For the Chairman of the planning committee for the event, Pharmacist Benedict Nwaneki, the event was designed to create deeper insight that will help pharmacists improve in their service delivery.