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NAPHARM says PHC could be used to improve health outcomes, inducts 15 new fellows

By Abigail Ikhaghu
28 October 2021   |   3:58 am
Medical experts have decried persistent poor health indices in the country and warned that the situation is expected to remain poor in the near future due to insecurity and poverty.

Medical experts have decried persistent poor health indices in the country and warned that the situation is expected to remain poor in the near future due to insecurity and poverty.

The medical experts at the investiture of new fellows by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM), however, said primary health care could be used to address Nigeria’s poor health outcomes.

A clinical pharmacist who doubles as President of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and the Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas, who was the special guest of honour, Dr. Teresa Pounds, revealed that Nigeria’s health indices are very poor with infant mortality rate of 75.67 for every 1000 births, under-five mortality rate of 100.2 for every 1000 births, maternal mortality ratio of 917 for every 100,000 life births and life expectancy of 54.49. According to her, these indices are expected to remain poor in the near future especially as a fall out of the severe insecurity in large parts of the country, as well as rampant poverty.

Pounds spoke on the topic, “Expanding the Roles of Pharmacists in the Critical Area of Primary Health Care.” Pounds said one of the factors responsible for Nigeria’s dismal health indices is poor Primary Health Care (PHC) strategy.

She said that diligent implementation of a PHC strategy that seeks to address the healthcare and wellness needs of some societies has seen many countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh, Botswana and Ghana, rapidly overtake Nigeria in the area of healthcare.

Revealing the roles that pharmacists can play to help correct this situation, Pounds said: “Community pharmacies are widespread. You may conveniently access a pharmacist without an appointment. Indeed, pharmacists are regarded as the most accessible of the healthcare providers. Utilising community pharmacies to provide primary health care services, therefore, can help to significantly enhance access to primary healthcare by the community.

“Community pharmacies are typically less prone to the red-tape and bureaucracy of clinics and hospitals and less-burdened by crowds. Members of the community are therefore guaranteed more convenience and quicker response times.

“Members of the public who may not be particularly keen to visit a clinic or hospital are availed the choice of accessing primary healthcare services from pharmacies

“Community pharmacies can also help the society by providing guidance and follow-through for patients during their therapy. Provide advice and support on a wide range of issues including vaccinations, blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring, family planning services, among many others.

“Many developed countries have steadily witnessed the evolution of the roles of pharmacists and can count this as a contributor to the improvements that have been recorded in their health indices. The United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and Germany are but a few of such countries.”

Also, NAPHARM with the mission to using pharmaceutical research and development to break new grounds in human progress inducted 15 new fellows into the academy and honoured 10 distinguished Nigerians with lifetime achievement award and honorary fellowships.

President of the academy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, in his remarks said: “ These pharmacists are drawn from a diverse array of disciplines. They are, however, united as a quest to propel mankind to new frontiers of wellness and good health, on the back of pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences.

“I congratulate all the new fellows and also congratulate the ten fellows of the academy who are also being ceremoniously elevated to the status of life fellows. We must continue to strive to enable pharmacy deliver unhindered value to society.”

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