West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) in collaboration with
the Pharmaceutical Society of The Gambia on Tuesday held its Annual General
Meeting and Scientific Symposium which saw the graduation of a 78 grandaunts.
The event held on the theme: Medicine and Wealth Creation was presided over by the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Aja Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang on behalf of The Gambian leader.
WAPCP, which is celebrating its 27 anniversary this year, started as an organisation of pharmaceutical associations/societies in the West African region in the mid-seventies. In October 1976 in Monrovia, Liberia, it was formally inaugurated as the West African Pharmaceutical Federation (WAPF) with Mrs. Clavenda Bright Parker of Liberia as its founding president.
Deputising for the president, Aja Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, congratulated the new fellows for their achievements, while acknowledging that the bedrock of any development is its human capital.
The vice president underscored the importance of health in the development of any nation.
“The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacist which comprises The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria, is a specialised agency of the West African Health Organisation, which is the arm of ECOWAS on health matters. I understand that one of the aims and objectives of the council is to advance the knowledge and skills of practicing pharmacists through postgraduate education and trainings”
This, she said, has been manifested in the high caliber of specialist and consultant pharmacists trained over the years, which have contributed immensely in the health care delivery in the region.
She described the theme of the meeting as quite apt, noting that it is not only evident that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation, conversantly and an unhealthy work force is quite detrimental to the economic, social development of a nation.
For his part, Prof. Emiritus Sir Kwame Sarpong, FPCPharm, president WAPCP, takes memory lane at the background of the council, recalling that pharmacists that were present at the inaugural meeting were from The Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
“However, the Francophone subsequently withdrew from the federation. The main objective of the federation was to develop and harmonise pharmacy education, laws and pharmacy practice across the region, to raise and expand the contribution the quality and healthcare and the life of the people in the region”.
Prof. Sarpong maintained that in the process of realising this vision, they indentified the need to establish a postgraduate professional training programme leading to Fellowship award in order to meet the expanding roles of pharmacists worldwide and the changing needs of the society in the pharmaceutical care.
“In 1991, the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) was established under the educational mandate of WAPF. The college was officially inaugurated in Accra, Ghana in February 1991 with the formal admission of Pioneer Foundation Fellows.”
The college, he went on, admitted its first batch of Fellows by examination in February 1997.
The minister for Health and Social Welfare, Saffie Lowe-Ceesay acknowledged that this year’s annual meeting came at a critical time as the country enters a new face in its political history.
She indicated that her administration is in its second year after a challenging and difficult period of over two decade of dictatorship.
“We are now in New Gambia with emphasis on good governance, democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law. It is in this light that the health sector stands out as a priority area that needs urgent and strategic actions. We are working strategically to build the require partnership to develop and implement a new health sector strategic plan, which will be in line with our national development plan” she added.