By Felicia Imohimi
The United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), an NGO, says it will collaborate with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), to enhance training of pharmacists and quality of drugs in the country.
Dr Chimezie Anyakora, Chief of Party for Promoting the Quality of Medicine (PQM) programme of the United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), disclosed this when the organisation visited the PCN Registrar, Mr Elijah Mohammed on Tuesday in Abuja.
Anyakora said the partnership would include provision of technical support by way of bringing world experts to address the challenges currently bedeviling the nation’s pharmaceutical service delivery.
He stressed the need to ensure quality of medicines from manufacturing, storage, distribution and to the end users.
He noted that their visit was to identify areas of partnership with PCN to strengthen quality of medicine to ensure patients been the end users received the quality care at long run.
Anyakora said, “Most times people do not understand that it does not matter that even if the manufacturing process is right the impact of handling, distribution and storage is so huge that, the expected outcome or effect on patients may not be achieved.
“So, we want to ensure that every aspect of the practice is strengthened; we are quite aware that PCN is doing very well in this regard and we know that if this gap is filled adequately patients will be well protected in the future.”
Ayankora identified access to good quality medicine as the basic right of every patient.
He, however, noted that a lot of people were sometimes given poor quality medicines not because of criminal intent but due to inappropriate expertise in the handling, distribution and storage of such medicines.
He noted that the project would be carried out in six schools in the country, which included Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, University of Benin, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Jos to cover the six geopolitical zones.
Anyakora, who identified these schools as pilot centres, said that this effort would later be scaled up and extended to other Pharmacy Schools in the country.
According to him, the organisation wants to work together with PCN to fine-tune or improve the curriculum for pharmacists training.
“We intend to see how to bring real world situation to classroom so that when the students graduate they will be able to play a role in quality assurance system.
“USP being technical organisation, we are bringing global expertise, pool of experts to solve local problems,” Anyakora said.
Also, Mr Jude Nwokike, Director PQM programme of the United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), emphasised the need for advocacy on issues of quality of medicine by following the medicine along the supply chain in order to protect its integrity.
Nwokike identified lack of adequate funding for training of pharmacy professionals in the country as a major challenge bedeviling the sector.
He, however, noted that adequate funding of training of manpower in the field of pharmacy would enhance their skills, provide quality pharmaceutical services as well as ensure improved patients care.
The PCN Registrar commended the organisation’s interest in enhancing training of personnel in the field to improve pharmacy practice in the country.
Mohammed described their area of collaboration as part of his administration’s four point agenda, which include enhanced pharmaceutical care for the citizens.
Mohammed identified the goal of the council to include regulation of the education, training and practice of pharmacists and non-pharmacists in the pharmaceutical landscape of the country to ensure better service delivery.
According to him, the collaboration of USP is to facilitate improvement in our training curriculum and other related activities.
“They are to provide technical support to assist us in strengthening our training curriculum and institutions to ensure that service delivery of professionals are improved to enhance better health care service delivery to Nigerians,” Mohammed noted.