OneHealth Nigeria Wishes All Pharmacists A Happy Pharmacist Day - Interview With The CEO, Adeola Alli
OneHealth Nigeria Wishes All Pharmacists a Happy Pharmacist Day
Interview with the CEO, Adeola Alli
1. Why did you decide to study Pharmacy? And at what point did you know Pharmacy was the path for you?
This is a really long story. Well, I never really wanted to be a pharmacist. I was known as the 'master defender' in secondary school, JSS3 to be precise, and loved to argue. So LAW it was for me, until one of my family friends said to me at church one day- Lawyers are liars, and that they’d go to hell. As a child I believed him, and naively changed my mind, and went to Science class. This was a win-win for me anyway, as most of my peeps were going to science class, and my teacher felt that was a better choice for me, as I could “handle” it. I’m sure by now you guys must realise that I talk too much ;-)
Pharmacy as a choice was strategic, one I made during my A-levels in the U.K. It afforded me the ability to really help people, a shorter course duration ( Mpharm at that time was 4 years) and of course, it was a well-paying, highly respected profession. I finished from the University of Manchester and I have since worked and very many establishments in three different continents. It really has been a rewarding experience.
2. What is life like as a Pharmacist in Nigeria?
Very good actually. Nigeria is home, and I am extremely passionate about my country and the importance of having an impact on my society. We all that live in Nigeria know the very many healthcare gaps, but rather than go on and on about what's not working, the question is, how to make it better? As a pharmacist, this is honestly my mentality, the patient is always at the heart of it all, and practising in Nigeria, and being able to uniquely use my knowledge to truly help, is very rewarding.
3. How important is the role of a pharmacist in improving healthcare?
Pharmacists are in a very key position to literally help change the course of a patient outcome, positively, as they are typically the first point of contact, from the very big problems to the little ones. Be it minor ailments, medication adherence, vaccination, and preventing medical errors, we are truly front liners.
4. Running a pharmacy in Nigeria - What inspired you to start your Healthcare startup, leveraging technology?
Due to the high out of pocket costs of healthcare, affordability of medication is a big issue. Markups by wholesalers and distributors make matters worse, as it sometimes is double or triple the price by the time it reaches the patients because of the heavy fixed infrastructure costs.
Also, according to the WHO by 2030, 42% of all deaths will come from long term chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Now, malaria and typhoid that once threatened us are no longer the big boys in town.
OneHealth Nigeria is a Telehealth company that digitizes Pharmacare, leveraging technology to provide quality health care that is accessible and affordable, and allowing us to remotely manage our patient’s healthcare. Using properly curated and analyzed data, we are able to track each patient’s health journey, and this translates into more effective and efficient service for all our patients.
With our Tele-Health online platform and our delivery service, our patients are not only granted access to quality healthcare, but they now have control and visibility on their health journey.
5. What’s the process of opening a Pharmacy Store in Nigeria?
It starts with the CAC registration. After that, location, location, location. This is very important for a pharmacy store, and can be a pain, as there is a minimum 200-meter rule for a new pharmacy to open next to another. Once you’ve chosen a good location (consider foot traffic), you have to register with the professional bodies, stock up… and you are set!
6. What inspires you to keep on pushing, given the challenges of starting a company in Nigeria? What has the journey been like?
Topsy Turvy. Yo, it's not easy at all. But there is a reason why I do this; The value I have to offer, my patients, my colleagues, my community. That is what keeps me going.
7. What are some of the major challenges you face running your startup?
For me, I'd say it's finding talent, and cash flows. Ensuring that I understand my niche in the market and as a business owner how to effectively delegate. This is what we are still figuring out every day, but each day it gets better.
8. Any discrimination faced in the industry?
To be honest none. I marvel at the many great pharmacists I look up to here in Nigeria. Their grit, their professionalism. Everyone is genuinely accommodating and looking out for you. This is an ecosystem, and it's important to have an abundance mentality and a win-win attitude. I’d say this is applicable with this industry for the most part- at least from my experience
10. How do you think we can empower more Pharmacists as a country? And improve the quality of care generally?
I’d say an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare. Pharmacists should be appreciated and rewarded for their expertise, and their role should not be diluted when in partnership with other healthcare professionals. Continuous professional development as personal and mandated goal should also be encouraged.
11. What's the most ridiculous encounter/experience you've had with a patient?
Ridiculous ke? There is nothing new under the sun. lol
12. Funny question, but how do you guys read doctor’s handwriting? Are you specially trained for that? 😁
We bring out a wand… and viola! Lol. Thank God for some notorious handwriting readers. I have the people I consult for such expertise if need be.
13. Advice for prospective Pharmacists and prospective health tech entrepreneurs?
Awesome profession, ever-evolving, ever dynamic. It is what you make of it. Try to be ahead of the pack. Think like a futurist. Research. Explore. Learn. Network. The world is your Oyster. Go for it!