The last 12 months of the new Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) leadership has been a period of learning about Pharmacy and its challenges and providing certain changes that will help take the pharmacy profession in the country to where it should be, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has said.
Speaking with Pharmanews in an exclusive interview at his office in Lagos on what he had focused on in the first year of his presidency, the PSN President said the last one year had been an opportunity to confront the major issues of Pharmacy, noting that it had also been a period of ensuring greater participation of pharmacists in the affairs of Pharmacy and that of the PSN.
Ohuabunwa further said that the greatest achievement of his first year as President of PSN was being able to mobilise support in and out of Pharmacy to shut down the National Association of Pharmaceutical Technicians & Technologists of Nigeria (NAPPTON) Bill which, he said, could have dislocated all that the PSN had been working on when the issue came to the fore early in the life of the new administration.
He stated that he was happy that that the PSN was able to rally the support of stakeholders which includes the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to oppose the provocative bill.
The PSN helmsman also spoke on the challenges he had had to deal with in his quest to ensure the Pharmacy Bill was signed into law by the President, noting that the PSN under his leadership will pursue the issue of the new pharmacy law to a logical conclusion during his tenure.
He also spoke on efforts of the PSN leadership to ensure the commencement of the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), adding that even though there have been challenges to its implementation, necessary steps are being taken to overcome them. Below is the interview.
It’s been one year since you took over the mantle of leadership as president of PSN, how would you describe these last 12 months?
Let me start by saying that it has been a period of learning. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot more about Pharmacy and its challenges. It is also a period of learning how the PSN is run internally and a period of understanding the dynamics of what we ought to be dealing with.
However, it is also a period that has enabled us to begin to provide certain changes that we need to take Pharmacy to where it should be. The first thing in this direction is ensuring greater participation of pharmacists in decision making. This is because hitherto, we had people who had the impression that the PSN and pharmacy issues were for some people. So, I’m trying to get people to know that Pharmacy is our profession and PSN belongs to us all.
No one is more of a pharmacist or has more investment in the profession than others. So, these last 12 months have also been a period of bringing in a greater involvement of pharmacists in the affairs of Pharmacy and PSN.
It has also been an opportunity for us to confront the major issues affecting Pharmacy, especially in dealing with the regulatory and legal issues we have. We have focused on the interactions and relationships between the regulatory agencies and pharmacists and Pharmacy. We have looked at opportunity to improve the output of the pharmaceutical industries, to move away from being over dependent on importation, to the point where we can reach some of the minimal targets set by the national drug law and national health policies.
It has also been a period in which we have looked into how we can reengage the government on how we can raise the status of pharmacists in the scheme of things and I believe people are embracing these ideas. For instance, for this present political dispensation, we have the largest number of pharmacists in political office and positions for the first time. We have quite a lot of pharmacists who are commissioners, secretary to the state governments (SSGs), senators, federal and state representatives and so on.