Liberia: WAPCP Inducts 42 New Fellows



The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) has inducted 42 new fellows following the successful passing of the fellowship exam.

The 42 new fellows, drawn from the five member countries, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gambia, and Liberia, were inducted at the 35th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the college held in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

The conference runs from March 20-24, 2023, under the theme, “Substance Abuse: A Threat to the Future”.  It is being attended by participants from across the five states, top government officials, religious leaders, and presidents of tertiary institutions. 

WAPCP, formerly known as the West African Pharmaceutical Federation (WAFP), was established in 1976 in Liberia to promote pharmacy practice and research in the subregion through education and training.

Delivering the keynote address of the occasion, the Prof. Hasipha C. Tarpeh said substance abuse leads to physical or psychological problems.

“Drugs can be good, bad, or ugly. Substance abuse can lead to so many problems. It detracts from job performance and [causes one] to cease to be a productive member of society. Considering the associated cost of substance abuse in Africa, it is important to stress that the menace can be stopped from escalating with the concerted efforts of schools and religious authorities. This is why we have invited religious people to attend,” he said. 

He added that the roles of policies and the establishment of rehabilitation centers cannot be overemphasized, but do require political will and government funding. 

The professor, however, said despite the challenges in addressing the issue of substance abuse, there is hope for a drug-free society. 

“Where there is a will, there always has to be a way,” he told his audience.

He mentioned that the WAPCP as an organization has a meaningful role to play in stopping the substance abuse problem.

According to him, for WAPCP to become internationally recognized as a center of excellence that promotes research and postgraduates, there must be pharmacy education for the development of specialists to meet the challenge of health care.

He said in the future if nothing is done to remedy the situation of substance abuse in the region, there will be an increased loss of manpower to perform job duties. “In the absence of a sound mind among the youths who are the future generation there is bound to be a loss of productivity in schools, health care delivery systems.”

Tarpeh further mentioned the need to organize community outreach programs in members' countries to include substance abuse counseling for education, information dissemination for prevention.

“This must involve the relevant participation of the community structures such as organs of government, religious groups and universities. We must strengthen the mantle health and specialist areas. 

He further said there is a need to establish relationships with the donors partners to make more meaningful contributions to remedy substance abuse problems.

Speaking as guest of honor at the ceremony, the Health Minister of Liberia Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah welcomed all of the delegates to the country. She said that the theme of the conference was very important to countries of the region because it threatens the peace of the families and the region at large.

“I urged the various countries to lead the efforts to address the challenges of substance abuse,” she said.

Minister Jallah stressed the need for member states to be able to work with community health practitioners to tackle the manance. 

Speaking earlier, the President of the WAPCP, Prof. Cecilia Igwilo said that the annual general meeting is a yearly event where they deliberate on topical health issues to derive decisions that can promote health in the region.

Prof. Igwilo noted that it was disheartening to note that the report of WHO 2019 revealed that 35 million people worldwide suffer from drugs, which seriously affects the workforce. 

She said since her ascendancy as a leader of the fellowship, her administration had made numerous achievements.

She named the foundation of one of the college’s buildings at Jibowu Street, in Lagos, Nigeria, and the launch of the International Pharmacy Practice Residency program, as well as the conduct of the 2022 Fellowship Examination, as some of the achievements of her administration.

She used the occasion to call on the members to continue to promote the mission and vision of the college wherever they find themselves.

For his part, the Chairman of the Liberia Chapter, Rev. Dr. Tijii Tarty Tyee Sr., also welcomed the delegates to the country.

According to him, the theme of the conference was carefully selected and approved by the Executive Committee of the WAPCP.

He said substance abuse is a common phenomenon in the respective countries within the region and beyond.

“This is threatening the youth population of West Africa which, when left unchecked, has the potential to affect the future workforce of the region and beyond. It is against this backdrop that the theme was selected,” he said.