Newswatch Health Editor wins PSN’s Ben Ukwuoma Memorial Health Award

… Akintayo meets 13-point agenda, bows out as President

Chioma Umeha, Health Editor Newswatch Times has won premier award of the Ben Ukwuoma Health Awards instituted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in honour of late Mr. Benjamin Chima Ukwuoma who was until his death the Acting News Editor and Health Editor of The Guardian Newspapers.

Umeha won the maiden award which subsequently would be an annual one given to the best health correspondent in the country and would be determined by a panel of assessors set up by the society.   The inaugural award was given out Tuesday, at the opening ceremony of the 88th Annual National Conference of the Society tagged “Unity 2015,” which began at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Monday and ended today.

Mrs. Chioma Umeha, Health Editor Newswatch Times receiving the Ben Ukwuoma Health Awards instituted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) from the President of PSN, Mr. Olumide Akintayo, during the opening ceremony of the 88th PSN annual conference at the International Conference Centre, Abuja
Ukwuoma died on February 20, 2012, at the age of 50, after a brief illness suspected to be complications of Type 2 diabetes. The late Ukwuoma was described as a thoroughbred and versatile journalist and a leading light and doyen of healthcare reporting in the country.

The Uratta-Owerri of Imo State native and graduate of Biochemistry from the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Joined The Guardian on September 25, 1989 as Health Reporter.

Extolling the sterling qualities of the late journalist during the occasion, the President of PSN, Mr. Olumide Akintayo said: “We at the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria believe that Mr. Ukwuoma was a big blessing to journalism and he surely added value to numerous programmes of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and its appendages.

Akintayo, whose tenure would end this week was unanimously elected at a full capacity AGM of the PSN at the modern Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library on November 8, 2012. In his valedictory speech at the conference he said has met the 13-point Presidential Manifesto branded with the sobriquet ,“Synthesizing structures of the greatest possibilities.”

The manifesto itself was structured as a 13-point agenda with a prime motive to oil the PSN machine for improved performance.

The 13-point agenda include: Setting up of the Pharmacy Academy; fee based practice and use of professional seal; PSN I.D Directory, I D cards and certificate of membership; pricing of drugs; professional studies; judicial redress of offensive development; establishment of the National Postgraduate College of Pharmacists; the routine programmes; World Pharmacists Day; World Disease Days; welfare of pharmacists; relationship with professional bodies, global platforms and other affiliate groups; and advocacy and media relations.

Akintayo said: “As at the 2014 Annual National Conference, I had reported to the AGM that we had effectively delivered in 12 out of the 13 major areas of deliverables.“In pursuance of our progressive agenda to orientate the national conference as the platform of a grandeur of luxurious boom, we have invited Prof. Oparah, who is a Fellow of PSN (FPSN), to give us insight into the choice of theme: “Advancing Pharmacy through Strategic Workforce Development in Practice Settings”.

Prof. Azuka Oparah, who is thoroughly equipped to do this as I am too sure most of you remember him as the very successful immediate past Secretary General of West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.

“It is my conviction that after a quality keynote address at this conference, lives will change and destinies will attain overflowing greatness. Colleagues would have observed our consistent reforms in information technology processes to drive this conference.”

The VIP forum of the PSN conference recognized all key government functionaries who have assisted the society in the last three years. The PSN boss further said: “As we appreciate them and give them insight into new projections, do take advantage of the Social Night on Thursday November 12, 2015 and the refreshingly packaged closing banquet where we hope to feed you until you are “fed up.”

“We shall have more energized MCPD sessions and I urge colleagues to utilize this forum to earn credit points as the re-certification process beckons. “Colleagues, I have deplored all my skills, talent and wisdom to take this profession to the next level in the last three years.

“It is time to take a bow for a new lease of life. I thank you all for the immensity of your liberality which obviously nurtured and sustained my PSN career in the almost thirty years I have been a player at state, national and international levels,” Akintayo added.

He also said: “The PSN is great not just in quality of persons, but in spirit and I appeal that in the years ahead, we need to improve in the areas of discipline and core values in order to cope with the pace of development on all frontiers of our environment.

“Do enjoy yourselves at the conference because I am sure you reckon there are conferences and there is the conference, Unity 2015. “Thank you, even as “Unity 2015” brings out the change mantra.”

Other main high points at the occasions of the opening ceremony of the convention are: The presentation of the Evergreen Award to one of many legends of pharmacy – Pharm. (Prince) Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and presentation of award to the Overall Best Graduating Student, 2013/2014 Session, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Miss Nkiruka Ozioma Ibeanu.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on November 14, 2015.


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