Nigeria: Yakasai Inaugurates Safe Medicines Foundation, Unveils Advocacy Book

31 January 2019

The pharmaceutical industry and healthcare sector came together to honour the leadership of the outgoing President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai for his transparency and accountability towards the growth and development of the sector, ensuring safe and quality medicines in the country.

The event had captains of industry honour and extolled the pharmacy icon, who they said had immensely placed the Pharma industry on the front burner in the country, and made Nigeria a safe haven from illegal manufacturing, distribution and sales of illicit drugs, as well as advocacy against abuse, misuse and addiction that has become great menace.

Speaking at the send forty party organised in honour of the pharmacy icon by friends and associates, the Chairman of the occasion, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidson Healthcare PLC, Fidelis Ayebae, said Yakasai has contributed immensely to the growth of the Pharmaceutical industry with his remarkable achievements in his three years journey as the president of the PSN.

He added that Yakasai, who is a fellow of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy and West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, had shown commitment towards his work and had distinguished himself in positioning the pharmaceutical sector to a greater height.

Highlights of the event include, the unveiling of the Safe Medicines Foundation (SMF), which is in continuation of Pharmacist Yakasai's quest to promote rational prescribing and use of safe medicine accessible to patients.

According to Yakasai, the Chairman of the foundation's board of trustees, substandard and falsified medicines are a global problem, which presents an equal threat to people of all races, classes and nationalities, with a report of over 10 per cent of global pharmaceutical commerce involved in the business, equating to 21 million USD.

He noted that, each year, lives are lost due to these illicit medicines as well as the organised pharmaceutical sector losing major revenue, with Nigeria as the largest African pharmaceutical market of over 70 per cent imported medicines used in the country.

"It really hurts to see fake or substandard and falsified products circulating in our country maiming innocent citizens. Every day, our children are killed, our pregnant women are murdered, our elders are giving up the ghost and our hardworking men and women are dying because of lack of access to safe medicines."

He maintained: "Improving safe access to essential medicines is crucial in tackling ill-health and reducing infant and maternal mortality rate, which, sadly is very high in our country. As we all know, essential medicines save lives and improve health when they are available, affordable, of assured quality and properly used.

Explaining the objectives of the SMF, the Executive Director/Secretary, Safe Medicines Foundation, Dr Ifeanyi Okechukwu said it is more or less a collaboration of stakeholders put together to ensure that "we rid our system of fake medicines and drug abuse."

"What we have done for the foundation is to be able to align both the legislator, industry practitioners, the patients and the entire community to be able to know where and how to get their medicines and also know the menace that drug abuse is causing in our society," he added.

Commending the unveiling of the foundation, the Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof. Moji Adeyeye, represented by Director, Registration and Regulation (R & R), Dr Monica Eimunjeze said the agency would extend its support towards the foundation in ensuing safe medicines find its way into the society and also reduce its abuse, misuse and addiction among youths.

Also, the event witnessed the unveiling of the book titled: "The Power of Advocacy", which chronicled the three years tenure of Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai as president of the PSN (2015-2018), as well as his leadership and achievement for the Pharmaceutical sector.

The reviewer of the book, Remi Adeseun, the Country Manager, West Africa, IQVIA, said the 97-page compendium is an embodiment of a transparent and accountable leadership, with focus on lifting the image of the pharmacy profession and boosting the status of the professionals.

He said the book typifies Yakasai who had put the profession ahead and ensured he positioned it to that of international standards.

"The first point of contact in the book will give readers an insight into what the PSN as a organisation stands for. The core values of the organisation as captured on the 10th page of the book are "responsibility and accountability, honesty and integrity, transparency, discipline, quality" and if you are to find one person who personifies these core values, it is Ahmed Yakasai.

"He is the embodiment of the core values of the PSN, and it was part of his private mission." He added.

The reviewer explained that the immediate PSN president showed many exemplary attributes such as obedience, teamwork, vision oriented among others, which he captured in page 16 of the book written by many authors.

Listing some of his achievements during the three-year journey, Adeseun said Yakasai brought to reality the execution of the PSN property, which had being an impossible project for years of his predecessors, as well as the PharmD programme for human and capacity development for the Pharmacy profession.

The reviewer noted that the book contained several of the advocacy initiatives undertaken by the Ahmed Yakasai regime that yielded very positive outcome, which beyond the immediate outcome will have lasting impact, not just to the Pharmacy sector but of the people of Nigeria.

Adeseun, however, stated that the compendium as compressed in the 97 pages is a must read for everyone in the leadership position, adding that the book should be made available in all sectors, schools among others for the benefit of mankind.

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