In fulfilment of its pledge, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has launched the long awaited online platform for the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) Programme aimed at keeping pharmacists abreast of developments in current trends and practices in Pharmacy.
In a circular distributed to pharmacists in the country, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, registrar of the council, announced that effective from September 1, 2016, registered Nigerian pharmacists across the globe should endeavour to visit the PCN website to take their outstanding mop up modules 10, 11 and 12.
“You would recall that as part of my 4-point agenda on assumption of office, I had a dream to transform pharmacists in Nigeria from mere career professionals into intellectual practitioners with strong critical thinking skills.
“This objective I promised to achieve with the instrumentality of MCPD platform. However, I wish to admit that what we have developed so far is not the ultimate platform but it is a great start,” he enthused.
Speaking further, Mohammed noted that the council has built a seamless platform that can handle the end-to-end process from registering for the module to printing out the completion certificates. The registrar explained that the primary objective at this stage is to introduce convenience into the programme by leveraging on technology. “This therefore means that pharmacists from the comfort of their homes or offices can use either their laptops or mobile devices to access the online MCPD content.
It is however instructive that to state that the traditional classroom MCPD will run alongside the online platform. Colleagues therefore have the option of either running online or classroom option,” he said. The MCPD Programme is a three-year cycle of courses developed into three modules. Each module is to run for two days at a time. To qualify for re-certification, a Nigeria-licensed Pharmacist must obtain a minimum of 30 credit units.
In a given year, Pharmacists are expected to attend not more than two modules, given that each module carries a maximum of 10 credit units. It would be recalled that the need for Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) Programme in the re-certification of all health professionals was recognised at the maiden National Health Summit in 1995.
This recognition was followed by the directives of the honourable minister of health in 1996 to all professional regulatory bodies for health to discuss the modalities for the early take-off of the programme. The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), in line with the Federal Government’s directive, commenced the first and second cycles of the MCPD Programme (formerly called the Mandatory Continuing Professional Education, MCPE), for the re-certification of pharmacists in April 1998 and September 2005 respectively, and rounded off the initiative in 2003 and 2007 respectively.
The third and fourth cycles commenced in January 2008, and June 2013, respectively. The programme is designed to update the knowledge of Pharmacists by equipping them to keep abreast of developments in pharmaceutical service delivery and current international trends and practice in Pharmacy. As the name of the Programme suggests, all registered pharmacists in Nigeria must undergo all aspects of the Programme, to the complete satisfaction of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria.
“The next stage for us is quite an exciting one. Effective January 1, 2017, Module 13 will be released. Participants of the online platform will have the option of selecting practice specific courses to make the required module. “This introduction will satisfy the age long desire of Nigerian pharmacists to continuing education courses that have a direct bearing on their day-to-day practice. It is our belief that pharmacists will avail themselves of the opportunity with the expectation of making change agents out of us all in our various practice spheres,” Mohammed said.
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is a public corporation created by the Federal government in 1992, with the sole authority for registering, monitoring, regulating and controlling all aspects of pharmacy practice in Nigeria, including the education and training of pharmacists and pharmacy-related personnel.