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Improving quality of pharmacy graduates, practice in Nigeria

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•PSN, ACPN endorse Shalina Young Talent Award as OAU student wins maiden edition
As part of efforts to improve the quality of graduating pharmacy students and enhance the practice in the country, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Association of Community Pharmacist of Nigeria (ACPN), as well as other pharmaceutical bodies have endorsed the Shalina Young Talent Award (SYTA).

A final year student of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Folashade Salako, outshone others to win the 2019 competition.
The maiden event saw nine final year pharmacy students locking horns in the battle of wits to emerge tops at the grand finale held at Ibis Hotel Ikeja, Lagos, as Temiwunmi Akinmuleya and Adeboye Bamgboye, both from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan (UI) came second and third place respectively.

The SYTA event, described as the biggest hunt for the best pharmacy brains in Nigeria tertiary institutions, had 365 students enter for the competition, which was narrowed down to nine finalist who jostled for points in the different rounds that included debates, case study, open presentations, clinical and pharmacological quiz, mode of dressing and comportment that formed parts of the criteria that decided the winner by the judges.

PSN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said it is an avenue to recognise and celebrate the best pharmacy brains in the country, while urging the company for its continued support to improve the pharmaceutical sector.Ohuabunwa, who was represented by Okame Okah-Arae, also commended the lecturers for their strong effort and support in developing young brains in the pharmacy department of tertiary institutions, as well as preparing them for a future career.

He charged the students not to rest on their oars, but should strive to be the best in their career pursuit as they meet up with their counterpart in the developed countries.Also commending the SYTA initiative and the level of knowledge displayed by the students, the ACPN National Chairman, Samuel Adekola, who was also one of the judges said: “Competition like this will always stimulate interest. Through this initiative, these young pharmacists would have a level of motivation and confidence that would impact a sense of excellence in them. Invariably, this would contribute significantly to quality of graduating pharmacy students.”

Also speaking, the National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Dr. Kingsley Amibor, said the pharmacy industry will benefit greatly from the Shalina Healthcare initiative as the contest also serves as a career guidance for the students, who now know more about the various aspects of pharmacy they can practice after graduation.He, however, urged other pharmaceutical companies to engage in such initiative to help grow the sector in the country.

Explaining the aim of the competition, the Managing Director, Shalina Healthcare, Mr. Somnath Malakar, said while the community of pharmacist is an integral part of the pharmacy industry, the company, as part of its investment plan in Nigeria, put up the SYTA initiative to build a promising future for the industry through the young graduates churned out of the tertiary institution.He said three schools participated in the maiden edition of the event, which include, University of Lagos (UNILAG), UI and OAU, adding that the competition, which was only held for final year students of the faculty of pharmacy would help build their capacity in the industry. He also noted that the initiative would be sustainable and held yearly with more schools engaged, while he emphasised that Nigeria has young talents that should be harnessed.

“It would be a sustainable project and we will keep investing in people who matters the most. This is one of the ways our company is reaching out to its community, the scope of this initiative would be much wider in the coming years, which is for certain,” he said.

According to Folorunso Alaran, regional marketing manager (West Africa), Shalina Healthcare, SYTA initially began as an idea conceived with no particular direction but with a clear objective of purpose. “Several trips were taken to seek opinion across many schools on how best to organize an objective and flawless competition. The result of that effort is what we have today.

“It involved zonal rounds in various competing schools where each zonal champions were duly recognized and celebrated amongst their classmates. I am glad that we have eventually discovered the ‘Best Pharmacy Brain’ for the 2018-2019 Maiden Edition,” he said.Meanwhile, other contestants are: Ekeh Ogechi Joedicta, UNILAG; Akinola Samson Omolola, UI; Akanmu Olusanya, OAU; Akande Azeez Alao, UNILAG; Hassan Ibrahim Adebayo, OAU; Fatoye Oluwatimilehin, UNILAG and Bamidele Zainab Abiola, UNILAG.

The judges include: Dr. Kingsley Amibor, National Chairman, AHAPN; Samuel Adekola, National Chairman, ACPN; Prof. Oluwatoyin Odeku, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UI; Dr. Gbola Olayiwola, senior lecturer, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, OAU; Prof. Bolajoko Aina, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNILAG; and Dr. Rahul Mandlik, Head, Medical Marketing, Shalina Healthcare, Dubai, who expressed satisfaction and confidence in the students’ level of knowledge of the profession.


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ACPNFolashade Salako
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