By CHIOMA UMEHA
The Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria (PSN) recently launched the PSN Foundation and inaugurated its Board of Trustees in Abuja, to support research, development and tackle growing challenges in the country’s healthcare delivery system.
Speaking at the inauguration, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, said that such new partnership like PSN Foundation will help in achieving optimum health, especially for the vulnerable ones within the society.
Adewole,who bemoaned the disease burden in the country, identified maternal and infant mortality, low uptake of contraceptive, Tuberculosis diagnosis, immunisation as some of the challenges in the health sector.
The Minister explained that without collaboration with non-governmental organisation (NGOs) among other stakeholders, no government can solely address all existing disease burden.
“One of the purposes of setting up this foundation that strike me most is to support and collaborate with other organisations in the field of human health development.
“Nothing has dramatically changed in the past five years but to provide the needed change and create changes we need new partnership, we need to do things differently and diverse ways which is one of the surest ways.
“To drastically reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria we need new partnership, we must do things differently.
“To really increase our ability to diagnose TB where we can really diagnose one in every six cases we need partnership, to increase contraceptive uptake we need partnership.
“We need partnership to prevent our young ones from dying,” the minister said.
Adewole, who described the PSN Foundation as first of its kind, commended Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, its President, for the laudable initiative.
On his part, Ahmed Yakasai, President PSN, at the event said the PSN Foundation will promote research and development, promote education in the expansive field of pharmacy practice in Nigeria, it will also carter for the welfare of pharmacists and Nigerians at large and provide scholarships to deserving pharmacists and their children, and promote national development.
Yakasai said the PSN Foundation will have the mandate to impact on the welfare and well-being of all Nigerians. He said the impact on the general public shall be delivered through well articulated public health campaigns and programmes, fight against fake, substandard and falsified drugs, drug abuse, emergency response (humanitarian assistance), advocacy for childhood and family health diseases, like nutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea, routine immunisation, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), malaria prevention and treatment, non communicable diseases and maternal and child health.
Yakasai said the Board of Trustees shall be chaired by the former President of PSN, Mohammed Yaro Budah; while Lere Baale (Vice Chairman), Remi Adeseun (Secretary), Ike John Igwu (Treasurer) and Margaret Ebigwelu-Ibru (Public Relations Officer). Other members of the Board of Trustees include Ibrahim Umar Babangida, Clare Omatseye, Joke Bakare, as well as the National Treasurer of PSN and the President of PSN.
Also, Yakasai, at a press conference ahead of the Society’s 90th Annual National Conference schedule to hold Umuahia, Abia State, from November 6 to 11, 2017, said the event is an opportunity to showcase the organisational capacity of the PSN widely perceived as one of the oldest and best organised professional bodies in Nigeria.
The theme of the conference is “Medicines Availability and National Security.”
The PSN President said to enrich the plenary session, Prof. Isa Hussain Marte, of University of Maiduguri and Professor of Cancer Pharmacology will talk on “Nigerian Medicinal Plants: Sources of Anticancer Agents.”
Yakasai said the PSN shall also continue to promote its relationship with the distinguished Fourt Estate of the realm through the Ben Ukwuoma Memorial Award instituted two years ago.