According to the Pharmaplus CEO, pharmacists in academia and pharmacy practitioners must band together to positively transform the Nigerian healthcare system. 

Pharmaplus CEO Urges Pharmacists To Collaborate For Healthcare Improvements

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pharmaplus Nigeria Limited, Pharmacist Ahmed Yakasai, is seeking for a collaboration between pharmacists in academia and pharmacy practitioners to create a positive transformation in the Nigerian healthcare system.

He made the call at the opening ceremony of the Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA) Annual Scientific Conference, “Harmony 2023” held at the Auditorium, University of Ilorin, recently.

Pharm Yakasai, who chaired the conference themed, “The Gown-Town Approach: Nigerian Pharmacists Working as a Team,” believes that both cannot work in isolation of each other. Yakasai who is a former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) stressed, “Only a harmonious relationship between the two will enhance patient care, and elevate the role of pharmacists in shaping the future of medicine in the country.”

“This year’s conference theme, “The Gown-Town Approach: Nigerian Pharmacists Working as a Team,” holds significant importance as we collectively strive to bridge the gap between academia and practical pharmacy applications.

“In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, where innovation and collaboration are paramount, it is imperative that we foster a harmonious relationship between the “gown,” symbolising the academic realm, and the “town,” representing the real-world pharmacy practice. By working together as a united team, we can bring about positive transformation in the Nigerian healthcare system, enhance patient care, and elevate the role of pharmacists in shaping the future of medicine.”

“As pharmacists in academia, you hold the key to advancing pharmaceutical knowledge, conducting groundbreaking research, and nurturing the next generation of healthcare professionals. Your contributions go beyond the classroom; they extend to community health, policy development, and fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

“The “Gown-Town Approach” signifies the synergy between your academic pursuits and the pragmatic challenges faced by pharmacists in the field. It emphasises our responsibility to translate research findings into commercial and practical solutions, to share expertise with practitioners, and to work hand in hand with healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public to promote health and well-being. In essence, it’s important for academics to understand the needs of those in practice and do so on a regular basis and take on a “business-like approach.”

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While noting that the conference offered practitioners and stakeholders in the health sector opportunity to brainstorm on the way forward for the pharmacy profession, the Pharmaplus CEO stressed the need to support pharmacy students in having close relationships and involvement with innovation

“During this conference, we have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions, exchange ideas, and collaborate on initiatives that will drive the pharmacy profession forward. Let us explore innovative ways to leverage our academic insights, research findings, and clinical experiences to bring about positive change.

“Today, a lot more funding is targeting entrepreneurs and innovators. There is no way our pharmacy students can be their best without a close relationship and involvement with innovation.

“NAPA has to identify incubators and accelerators that can develop more programmes that students can key into. The students are doing a lot right now, but many are distracted from their studies and research in pharmacy, becoming bakers, traders, tech developers, etc. They are yearning for innovation but finding minimal pharmacy-related ones.

“We need more collaborations with innovation right from school otherwise, we will lose our young pharmacists right as they graduate,” he explained.

Pharm Yakasai also urged the federal government and University authorities “to review the allowances of pharmacists in academia, as well as provide infrastructure, equipment for teaching and research, create internship spaces in more pharmacy schools to be able to retain brilliant graduates in academics, train future professionals for the benefit of the nation.