Last Friday, in a unique show of collaboration and care for the communities around Lagos Island – Igbosere, Simpson, Obalende and environs, the team at Bola Chemists, famous for its strong and vibrant pharmaceutical practice of about 50 years, and the innovative team of myPharmacy franchise chain, extended free healthcare tests and screenings to hundreds of people.
“The outcome was fulfilling”, said the GM of Bola Chemists, Pharm Dupe Balogun. She was delighted that the eye screening helped hundreds of people, some diagnosed with refractive errors and some were diagnosed with cataract. Some had significantly high blood pressure readings and were grateful to have access to such care. A 70 year old man had systolic blood pressure of over 200 mmHg. The pharmacists identified non-adherence to his antihypertensives as a probable cause. He was counselled to ensure he received adequate care. The attendees received necessary health information on hypertension and diabetes. The pharmacists also advised them on healthy living and medication adherence.
Bola Chemists appreciated the inclusion of DOT Glasses as a universal healthcare solution to the people in the community, some of whom may never seek professional care, as their health-seeking behavior typically triggers action only when ill and unproductive. The two optometrists who helped with the screening of various people using the DOT Glasses testing kit had their hands full, and one hour to the proposed timeout, they still had about 100 people waiting to be served.
The team at myPharmacy, led by the Operations Manager, Pharm Yewande Adekoya, emphasized the need for more of such hands-on community programmes, organized by the most trusted orthodox health practitioners in the communities, the pharmacists. In an emerging cross-professional collaboration drive, myPharmacy extends care via pharmacists, medical doctors, nurses and more recently, optometrists. “We just must get access to affordable and quality healthcare to the urban poor and hinterlands of Nigeria. Our other innovative services align with this dream, and we see ourselves repeating this feat with Bola Chemists. The crowd we saw last Friday really appreciated the programme. We offered free blood pressure checks, blood sugar tests, body mass index measurements, HIV tests and eye screening. So much can be achieved when we collaborate in addressing the health of Nigerians. The outreach was exhausting but was truly rewarding”.
The drive to extend such care to the bottom of the pyramid, using pharmacy premises, continues and other community pharmacies can key in.