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Nigerian Pharmacists embrace technology to boost profession, service delivery

As part of efforts to boost the pharmacy profession and pharmaceutical services to patients, pharmacists in the country under the aegis of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), have keyed into various opportunities and platforms provided by today’s world of Information Technology(IT) to enhance their practice. Reeling out the potency of technology in every facet of life, especially its efficiency in doing business, the pharmacists revealed that when effectively deployed into their practice and service delivery to patients, it would significantly impact in the drug distribution chain.

The pharmacists who spoke at a one day workshop in Lagos recently with the theme, “Convergence of Technology and the Impact on Pharmaceutical Practice”, organised by the PSN Education Committee, concluded that they would leverage on technology to create a better practice and training for all practitioners. Declaring the workshop open, President of PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai said, “In our digital age, technology is shaping our world in a big way and its impact in any profession can never be underestimated.”

Yakasai pointed out that technology is taking people and organisations from the lowest depth of frustration to the highest pinnacle of achievement, stressing that the pharmaceutical sector must not be left out. His words: “It is a known fact that most professions, businesses, organisations and indeed government globally have started to incorporate digital technologies in their strategies, hence the need for pharmacy profession to be alert and in tune with the current trends in order not to be caught napping.”

He went on: “No doubt that we need to harness the power of digital technologies and data transformation to create value and offer better services to the public.” According to him, the workshop seeks to create a platform to streamline the drug distribution chain in Nigeria and to develop an application that would provide manufacturers with robust information so as to manufacture quality pharmaceutical products in Nigeria. “Let’s develop something that will readily give information to patients, physicians and manufacturers for better service delivery,” Yakasai said.

In his remarks, Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Dr. Okey Akpa, said the workshop was relevant and timely because the impact of technology is far reaching in everything that we do today. Akpa, who is the Managing Director, SKG Pharma, explained that an important profession as pharmacy should not be left behind in the use of technology because it is a very positive thing. “It creates opportunity in the way we do things.

“Nigeria should be responsive to how we use technology and then develop a new model of training for our upcoming pharmacists and retraining of practicing pharmacists on how to use technology that is relevant to our environment.” According to him, technology promotes the quality of medicine produced as well as the level of information and feedback that patients get from pharmacists. “Technology will boost patients-pharmacists interaction, quality control and efficiency in manufacturing which reduces cost”, he added.

Also, Prof. Cecilia Igwilo from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos and Chairman, PSN Education Committee, said there was need for information technology platform that would encompass all areas of pharmacy practice. She urged pharmacists to use and update themselves on technology for quality service delivery. “Many Nigerians are knowledgeable in information technology, with their phones; they do online banking, twitting, reading newspapers online etc, and so pharmacists should develop a platform for engaging and interacting with patients for better health outcomes,” she said.

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