By Nkiru Odinkemelu
The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAP) has reiterated its commitment to helping the society unravel better, safer, more convenient and affordable treatment ads well as approaches for managing endemic diseases in the region.
To achieve this, NAP said it would continue to draw attention to the essence of research, which it described as the much-neglected aspect of our lives, in hope that pharmaceutical and scientific research would be availed of increasing government and societal support.
To further her value for research, the society recently inducted six distinguished professionals into its esteemed ranks, as fellows, at an investiture ceremony in Lagos. They include Director-General, Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel; former deputy provost, University of Lagos, Prof. Herbert Coker; one-time national pharmaceutical advisor, World Health Organisation, Dr. Ogori Taylor; first African woman to bag the fellowship of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) in the US and Professor of Pharmaceutics, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; Pharmacy Residency Director, Mercer University College at Atlanta Medical Center, Dr. Teresa Pounds and communications management consultant and CEO XLR8, Calixthus Okoruwa.
Speaking at the investiture of the new fellows, President, NAP, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, noted that the “individuals we are today inducting into our ranks are those with a strong passion for scientific research. These are tested professionals who appreciate the value of research in fast-tracking the social and economic progress of societies.”
He described pharmacy as the bedrock of effective healthcare delivery in the country and the most trusted healthcare provider as well as a driving force behind the discovery of new drugs.
According to Adelusi-Adeluyi, “pharmacy is the key that unlocks all you need to know about medicine. Pharmacists are with you in sickness and health, counseling the patients and we serve with integrity. The academy is exploring ways by which we can collectively convert the massive footprint of visitors to hospital pharmacies into real value for the profession and its practitioners.”
On his part, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai, said the body was committed to making Nigeria the hub of pharmaceutical production and research in Africa.
“Through a well-tailored plan, which we have broken down to short, medium and long-term plan, we are looking to promote pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria and examining the possibilities of producing about 70 per cent of what the industry needs especially the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients while importing the remaining 30 per cent.”
Yakassai also announced the establishment of the PSN Foundation, which would be launched in Abuja on October 17, 2017, while noting that the 90th celebration of the PSN scheduled to hold in Umuahia would be a grand, epoch making occasion for all pharmacists.
Professor Isa Marte Hussaini, a world-renowned cancer researcher and professor of pharmacology at the University of Maiduguri, in his keynote presentation, called for greater commitment on the part of the government to the funding of research in the country.
“Inadequate funding is still a big challenge for research and development (R & D) in Nigeria, as well as lack of constant power supply and non- availability of reagents which we have to buy from US and UK. We need more research grants in our country; it is not about the personnel but the tools to work with. All over the world, there are Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the field of medicine,” Hussaini lamented.
Prof. Hussaini, whose cancer research is exploring the use of local herbs in cancer therapy, reminded the audience that “cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, the first being cardiovascular diseases with 8.2 million deaths reported worldwide as at 2012.:
He added that a lot of the research grants in Nigeria were focused on deaths arising from preventable diseases like Malaria, TB “when we should really be funding ground breaking research on cancer. We have seen fruitful evidence of the use of local herbs in the management of cancer in Nigeria.”