Pfizer boosts CME in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya through GPs’ Academy
Medical skills and education of general practice physicians across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya has been boosted through Pfizer’s General Practitioners’ (GP) programme, a corporate social responsibility medical education initiative of the pharmaceutical company tagged Learning Exchange Advancement Programme (LEAP).
The initiative, which began three years ago, has reached an estimated five thousand doctors, with two thousand doctors being reached in July and August 2017 alone through the use of technology.
Marketing Director of Pfizer Essential Health, Winston Ailemoh, told journalists that the objective is two-fold: “Firstly, we want to be close to the GPs, who are the first point of call for patients, in order to get a deeper understanding of their peculiar practice-related circumstances and needs, and secondly, contribute to updating their knowledge and skills on current trends in medical practice. Of course, we believe at the end of the day, if the patients get better care, Pfizer’s mission of saving lives will be achieved. But our primary target is to improve the knowledge of the GPs and make them better in diagnoses, management of the patients and recommending what is best for the patients.”
On the reasons why the company focuses on general practice physicians, Ailemoh said, “We have realised over time that this is one segment within the healthcare sector that had been neglected by a lot of pharmaceutical companies.
“The focus of most pharmaceutical companies ison specialists. They invest in cardiologists, oncologists,diabetologists, etc. But when an individual is sick, he or she usually goes to the general practice physician first. So, our focus is on the general practitioners.”
While explaining the importance of general practitioners in the medical ecosystem, Ailemoh stated that when a patient goes to the hospital, the first doctor he/she will usually encounter is a general practice physician, who conducts initial checks and tests and makes a provisional/preliminary diagnosis.
The programme, which started three years ago, has engaged doctors in all the geo-political zones of each country (Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya). However, the company recently re-strategised on how to reach more doctors leveraging modern technology.
Speaking on how the initiative began, Ailemoh said, “Three years ago, we started this programme with two or threemeetings in a year; one in the north, one in the south and one in the west. But now we are doing it differently”.
On how to achieve the target of reaching more doctors, considering the logistics and resources involved, Aliemoh said, “We started asking ourselves towards the end of last year how we can reach more doctors, and we decided to leverage technology on a monthly basis to attain a wider coverage across multiple centers in Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya.
“From May 2017, we started experimenting with a broadcast centre in Lagos and receiving centres in different parts of Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya. Four months down the line, it has been an amazing success story for us today.”
Corroborating the position of the marketing director, the Brand Manager, Primary Care, Olakunle Ogunlowo, saidthe programme has achieved its two critical objectives that is to get closer to the GPs, and also update their knowledge with latest world class medical education.
On how the participants are sourced, Ailemoh said “We have medical representatives engaging the GPs on a daily basis in both private and public hospitals across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
“Invitations are extended through the medical representatives and their managers, who engage not less than 50 hospitals weekly”, he informed.The marketing director emphasized that the impact has been tremendous, adding that the main objective is to reach more GPs with the medical education programme by continuous innovative approach leveraging technology. “In terms of impact, it has been tremendous. For instance, the impact of over 2000 general practitioners well equipped with such knowledge could bring about a great improvement in health care delivery to patients”, he stressed.Ailemoh said barring any hitches, from September, Pfizer is looking to extend the reach to Benin, Calabar, Enugu and Kano.
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