Ade Martin Abiola studies Pharmacy at Bingham University and has been greatly inspired by popular pharmacist, health practicioner and entrepreneur Stella Chinyelu Okoli, the founder and C.E.O of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company.
She is a passionate aspiring health practitioner with a strong conviction to restructure the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) politically as the future chairperson and to influence equal recognition of health practitioners in a broader scope.
Interview with Abiola On The State Of Health Practictioners In Nigeria
How’s the study of Pharmacy been for you?
It has been challenging. But it’s something I love doing.
What sparked your interest for Pharmacy?
I’ve passion for health, anything related to health. I love to save lives. I just want to always be in the way of helping people live healthy.
With the track record of insurgencies in the Northern region, can you practise in the North?
I don’t care about the area or the environment, West, East, or anywhere, I will practise, in as much as I’m given the opportunity to do so.
What’s your ambition like? What do you see from here?
I’m seeing big things from here (she laughs). It’s a very broad picture and my aims are high. Big time. I’m interested in the business part of my profession.
Before gaining admission to study Pharmacy at Bingham, I learnt hair making and had plans to own a salon and expand the business to include a spa.
Outside the business part of being a pharmacist like owning a pharmaceuticals store, I want to move into the political area. I want to have a say up there.
Looking at the state of the government in general, youths are clamouring to become that leaders of today, what would you say is the real reason why you want to dive into politics?
In the context of politics in Pharmacy at the level of PCN (Pharmacists Council of Nigeria [Pharmacy practice in Nigeria is regulated by PCN. It is a Federal Government parastatal charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling Pharmacy Education, Training and Practice in all aspects and ramifications]), I want to amplify the voice of pharmacists for pharmacy to have a say. I’m not saying other health professions shouldn’t; I’m just being specific. I want Pharmacy to be more than what it is.
When you compare Pharmacy and Medicine, people have this mentality that medical doctors do the whole job but that isn’t the case. In a lay man understanding, doctors handle everything. The “I want my child to be a doctor” says it all. There are countless health practitioners doing great. It’s not a must for your child to study Medicine so you could be proud of him or her. We’ve other branches like radiologists, medical lab scientists, physiotherapists, and so on. People tend to look down on these professionals.
Up there too, in government parastatals they tend to pay doctors higher. I’m not opposing, because we’re all medical personnels. We should be paid well. It shouldn’t be about just the doctors. Talk about people at the School of Health, they’re doing well. But the room for community health workers is quite small. We’re all in the field and should be treated equally. I get why medical doctors are rated high, but there should be some balance. I don’t really care about the salaries. As a pharmacist, when it comes to business, I can make 10x what doctors are receiving. So, I really don’t care about the salaries. Equal recognition is what I am concerned about. Only one purpose binds us together, saving lives.
What’s your story like considering that there’s an African culture whereby parents exact supreme authority on children in making career decisions?
Growing up, I actually wanted to become a medical doctor. I wrote the Commonwealth Scholarship and passed to study Medicine but along the way things didn’t work out as planned. At some point in high school, I desired to become an astronaut. It didn’t really work out too. My picture back in high school was “be a scientist”. Later, I was aiming to be a pilot (she laughs). It’s what it is. I think wherever you find yourself just try to be happy and do your best. We don’t get to get everything we want.
Thank you for speaking to us, Abiola 🙂
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.