Liberia: WAPCP Prioritizes Fight against Substance Abuse



-Ends symposium in Monrovia

The 35th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) recently ended in Paynesville, outside Monrovia with a call for member countries to fight against substance abuse.

This year’s conference was under the theme, Substance Abuse: A Threat to Future Workforce. It brought together pharmacists from Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as top government officials, religious leaders and presidents of tertiary institutions.

The communique of the college which was read at a dinner in Paynesville, underscored the dire need for member countries to present a united front in fighting the war against substance abuse by placing the emphasis on prevention through public enlightenment and educational programmes.

It states that substance abuse is a hydra-headed problem that requires a multi-dimensional approach towards mitigation in the region.

The communique recognized the need to include substance abuse modules in the curriculum, a move that is geared towards the training of all students in health discipline. 

“Note that substance abuse is a chronic non-communicable disease and sufferers should be treated with empathy and social support,” the communique read.

It further stressed the need for collaborations between academic/research pharmacists and the industry to ensure outputs that are contextual and applicable to various local scenarios as it relates to substance abuse.

The communique said it is crucial to curtailing illicit drug use through advocacy with governments of member states by encouraging the formulation of policies that are geared in the right direction.

“ We emphasised the need to fund research and development in relevant areas towards the production of newer drug molecules without addictive tendencies,” it added. 

Moreover, the communique noted the efforts of the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) across member countries in mitigating against the scourge of substandard and falsified medicines and urged that more concerted actions be taken to curtail the use and abuse of illicit drug substances. 

Meanwhile, the organisation document noted the enormous responsibility of building the proposed WAPCP secretariat and conference centre, which according to WAPCP foundation laying was performed in Lagos, Nigeria on the 16th May 2022,

The project called on governments of member countries and well-meaning corporate bodies and individuals to support this laudable project. 

At the same time, this year’s conference led to the election of a new president of WAPCP, Pharm. Alhaji Murtada Sesay, from Sierra Leone. Sesay succeeded Prof. Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo from Nigeria who served the college for the last 2 years.

Speaking during a dinner held in Paynesville following the end of the conference, Sesay  outlined a number of priority issues to accomplish during his tenure.

He named the headquarters building project, the review and update of the college strategic plan and the integration with Francophone countries by the college as some of the things he wishes to embark upon.

“How have we recognized that moving forward will be how we strategically organise and deliver on our mission.  I promise again to dedicate the next two years working with the executive committee to do what you expect from us as postgraduate college. I thank you for the trust you have invested in us and we will not let you down,” he said.

The outgoing president, Prof. Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo said she was glad to hand over power after serving successfully for the period.

“I am glad to be handing over to go. I know we have brought you some worth of experience to the college. And I am sure that our contributions were paramount to advancing the college,” the outgoing president informed her colleagues.

This year the West African Postgraduate college admitted 82 fellows from specialist disciplines at the close of the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Symposium.

The next meeting of the college is expected to take place next year in Gambia.