Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have intensified activities to upscale their Medicine Information Centre (MIC) to a National Drug and Poisons Information, Emergency Response and Research (DPIERR) centre.
President, PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said the centre would be a specialised facility for the dissemination of information on the management of medicines and poisons; assistance in emergency response to toxic chemical incidents and coordinate research across networks. Ohuabunwa stated that the centre would offer hope of survival to victims exposed to the negative effects of drug substances of abuse and poisons, through counselling, referrals and mobilisation of appropriate response team.
He made the remarks at the Ground Breaking & Debenture Opening Ceremony for the Pharmacy Tower Project.
The PSN boss added that the project would serve as a major resource centre for the pharmaceutical industry and indeed the entire healthcare system. The pharmacist said:
“Words may fail me to express the joy I feel as I witness this historic day, the day we flag off the construction of the Pharmacy Tower, an eight-storey building that will house a national DPIERR essential for the fight against drug abuse and misuse of drugs and other harmful substances.”
Ohuabunwa stressed that amongst other things the Pharmacy Tower would create jobs for a different cadre of Nigerians, from professionals to lay personnel, create a window for new businesses to spring up, and promote cultural integration. He also disclosed that the centre would house personnel from every state in the federation across staff cadre and health-financing burden on states and federal government will gradually reduce over the years as the impact of mass education and enlightenment of the populace gain grounds.
The president continued: “The Pharmacy Tower Project seeks to raise seven- year 20 per cent per annum fixed rate debenture worth 1.98bn through cooperative fundraising. The debenture is issued at N1000 per unit with a minimum of 100 units giving most, if not all practising pharmacists opportunity to be part of the milestone.”
Ohuabunwa disclosed that the centre would serve as a training and research facility with the intention to improve the life expectancy and foster strong inter-professional collaboration with health workers in the emergency response chain.
Also, Chairman, Project Committee, John Nwaiwu, said the centre, once up and alive, would change the narratives about pharmacists and pharmacy in Nigeria. Nwaiwu urged all pharmacists to commit a reasonable amount of their resources to fund the project by way of subscribing to the debenture scheme.