A COVID-19 special committee comprising pharmaceutical professionals, associations, researchers, academia and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) was inaugurated by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM) on Tuesday.
Welcoming participants to the inauguration ceremony, which took place virtually via Zoom, Vice President of NAPHARM, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, applauded the contribution of the academy to national development since its inception in 2014.
“Since it was founded on June 26, 2014, NAPHARM has contributed to efforts leading to some milestones in the overall health delivery value chain in Nigeria.
“We started with 47 members and now we have 82 members of the academy. In those years, we have facilitated reforms in the tertiary institutions, hosted a pharmacy education summit and provided mentoring and guidance to young pharmacists through various programmes,” he said.
NAPHARM was established to promote scientific research and professional development in the health and pharmaceutical sectors to overcome challenges posed by sicknesses and diseases, and to fast-track social and economic development in Nigeria.
To this end, Sir Atueyi acknowledged the fresh challenge presented by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to the academy in keeping up with its mandate.
In his keynote address, President of NAPHARM, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, emphasised the importance of collaboration in the fight against COVID-19, hence the academy’s decision to enter into a partnership with the NGE.
“It is the first time that a non-health sector group has been chosen as partners to underscore the need to create awareness around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We strongly believe that much more can be achieved together if we pull resources together in such a way that we amplify the good and debunk the bad.
“Pharmacists have a role to play and have to be seen as playing that role, and one way to penetrate the public is to bring in the media.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi added that, although a global challenge, the pandemic had presented an opportunity for pharmacists to break new grounds.
“COVID-19 is a crisis and we have been exposed to it, but we must not let the opportunity waste away because this is our chance to break new grounds.
“We need to tackle the issues; that COVID-19 is real and that it is propelling the fear factor among a section of the population.
“We also need to look at the various conspiracy theories surrounding the virus and how we need to involve all in a national discussion about vaccination,” he said.
President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Isah Mustapha, in his vote of thanks, commended NAPHARM for taking a collaborative approach to its COVID-19 response mechanism.
He said the NGE welcomed the academy’s COVID-19 initiative and assured that ordinary Nigerians would benefit from the special committee’s effort at contributing to tackling the pandemic.
The NAPHARM/NGE Special Committee of COVID-19 has as its key officers: Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi (Chairman), Mr. Azubuike Ishiekwene (Co-Chairman) and Mary Atolagbe (Publicity Secretary).
Others are: Pharm. Chioma Ogbu (Secretary) and Pharm. Busayo Abolarin (Assistant Secretary). Dr Lolu Ojo, NAPHARM Director of Programmes, will serve as Director of Organisation on the committee.
The Committee went into its first session immediately after the virtual inauguration