…. As Heads of Pharmacy Unit in Lagos Public Service Holds Three-Day Summit
The Summit of the Heads of Pharmacy Units in the Lagos State Public Service convened at Orchid Hotels, Lekki, a pivotal platform for stakeholders to delve into the complexities and opportunities surrounding pharmacy practice in the pursuit of universal health coverage.

With a diverse array of attendees, including policymakers, regulators, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals, the three-day summit which commenced on Wednesday facilitated robust discussions and exchanges of insights aimed at addressing challenges and harnessing the potential of new trends in pharmacy.

Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Kemi Ogunyemi, in her keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Summit themed: “Achieving Universal Health Coverage through New Trends in Pharmacy”, highlighted the critical role of pharmacy in healthcare delivery and its evolution in the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). She emphasised the need for collaboration, innovation and excellence in pharmaceutical practices to attain this goal.

She underscored the transformative potential of new trends in pharmacy, including digital health technologies and e-pharmacy solutions, in enhancing healthcare access, particularly in remote areas. Dr. Ogunyemi noted the importance of pharmacists in providing essential medicines and services, regardless of individuals’ social or economic status.

Furthermore, the Special Adviser emphasised the evolving role of pharmacists in promoting preventive and holistic healthcare approaches, urging collaboration with other healthcare providers and community engagement to empower individuals and communities.

Dr. Ogunyemi, therefore, urged stakeholders to embrace new trends, emphasising the commitment of the Lagos State Government to achieving universal health coverage through its THEMES Plus agenda with a focus on health and the environment.

Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye also advocated collaboration and tighter regulations in the pharmacy sector, emphasising the need for local solutions and tighter regulations to address challenges facing the pharmacy sector.

Dr. Ogboye highlighted the importance of the State Drug Revolving Fund (SDRF) and the need for its survival. He emphasised the simplicity of the system, which aimed to leverage economies of scale to keep prices low.

He, however, noted that challenges have arisen, including the majority of stock in hospitals being sourced independently, leading to concerns about authenticity and undermining the system’s integrity.

Moreover, Dr. Ogboye addressed issues surrounding prescription practices, emphasising the importance of adherence to the essential drug list and discouraging the arbitrary prescription of medications not stocked by the hospital. He called for hospitals to become one-stop shops to eliminate the need for patients to seek medications elsewhere.

In addition, Dr. Ogboye emphasised the need for enhanced monitoring and enforcement to combat the proliferation of fake drugs and unlicensed pharmacies. He urged pharmacists to play an active role in regulation, stressing that the State Government has rejigged efforts to address these challenges effectively.

Speaking on the lingering issue of consultant pharmacists, Dr. Ogboye expressed hope for a resolution through continued engagement between leadership and stakeholders. Dr. Ogboye encouraged open and frank discussions amongst stakeholders and participants to generate meaningful outcomes that would enhance the work of pharmacists in Lagos State.

In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Ibrahim Mustafa, who was represented by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services at the Board, Pharm. Shakirat Adeosun underscored the pivotal role of pharmaceutical services in primary healthcare delivery.

Celebrating the achievements of the Board, particularly in implementing the Sustainable Drug Revolving Scheme (SDRF) across numerous Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) in Lagos State, Dr. Mustafa restated the commitment of the board to equitable healthcare access and quality medicine provision for all residents.

Earlier, Director of Pharmaceutical Services at the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Pharm. Oyebisi Omolambe highlighted the importance of the summit as a platform for meaningful engagement, idea exchange, and networking. She emphasised the significance of collaboration, learning, and growth in addressing pressing issues and seizing new opportunities in the pharmacy profession.

Furthermore, Pharm. Omolambe underscored the alignment of the summit’s objectives with the T.H.E.M.E.S Plus agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, noting the shared commitment to achieving universal health coverage through innovative pharmacy practices.

Encouraging active participation and fruitful dialogue, Pharm. Omolambe urged attendees to leverage their collective expertise to inspire change and make a lasting impact in the pharmacy sector.

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