PPhA 2024 National Convention in Iloilo: Empowering Pharmacists for the N.E.X.T. in Healthcare

BRINGING EXPERTISE TOGETHER. The powerhouse committee, guests, and attendees of the Philippine Pharmacists Association shine brightly during the national convention held in Iloilo City on April 11–13, 2024.
BRINGING EXPERTISE TOGETHER. The powerhouse committee, guests, and attendees of the Philippine Pharmacists Association shine brightly during the national convention held in Iloilo City on April 11–13, 2024.


AMID the rich national tapestry fusing culture and innovation, the Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA) Inc. unfurled a grand event, the PPhA 2024 National Convention at the Iloilo Convention Center. From April 11 to 13, 2024, pharmaceutical professionals from across the country congregated under the guiding light of PPhA president Prof. Dr. Aleth Therese L. Dacanay to delve deep into the future of the practice with the theme: Empowering for the N.E.X.T. in Healthcare.

Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA) Inc. president Prof. Dr. Aleth Therese L. Dacanay

The convention kicked off with a flurry of enlightening sessions aimed at shaping the future trajectory of pharmacy, combined with collaborative discourse on refining standards to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare landscape.

Dacanay emphasizes the importance of continuity from the previous theme of transformation to the current theme of Empowering N.E.X.T. in Healthcare. She underscores that in the process of transforming, there should be a clear vision of what is to come. N.E.X.T. embodies the expectations for pharmacists, particularly in the Filipino context, reflecting the evolving landscape of healthcare and the role pharmacists play within it.

Ang theme ngayon na Empowering N.E.XT. in Healthcare, ito dapat ay continuity ng NatCon theme na transformation. Pag nag-transform ka, dapat makita mo kung ano ang magiging resultaKaya nakita ko na very meaningful yung term na N.E.X.T. Dito pinapakita kung ano ang expectations natin ngayon sa mga pharmacists, most especially the Filipino pharmacists,” she said.

Dacanay stressed the importance of updating pharmacists’ areas of practice and reinforcing their knowledge of current practices, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, where the role of pharmacists as essential members of the healthcare team has been further highlighted.

“The objective is to update areas of practice, ma-reinforce ulit natin yung mga knowledge ng mga pharmacists sa mga current practices, na ano ba ang mga dapat nilang gawin ngayon. Mas lalo na ngayon na kakatapos lang ng pandemic, na-highlight lalo ang kahalagahan ng pharmacist bilang essential members of the healthcare team,” she added.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chair of the Senate Committees on Health, Demography, and Sports, delivered his keynote address, focusing on legislative measures aimed at ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare for all.

He provided updates on the Universal Health Coverage implementation vis-à-vis the Department of Health’s programs. He emphasized the integral role of pharmacists in innovative programs and policy interventions to achieve better public health outcomes.

Following this, PPhA’s vision and strategic goals took center stage, providing attendees with a roadmap toward professional excellence and service advancement. Best practices and success stories echoed through the halls, showcasing the transformative impact pharmacists wield in healthcare delivery.

Maria Gilda Sebua-Saljay, RPh, the overall organizing chair of the PPhA National Convention 2024, underscores the pivotal role of the event in bridging the divides within the field.

Maria Gilda Sebua-Saljay, RPh, overall organizing chair of the Philippine Pharmacists Association Inc. 2024 National Convention

With a theme centered on empowering pharmacists, the convention aims to chart a course toward the realization of its vision and mission. However, navigating through the aftermath of a pandemic presents formidable challenges. As the lead organization for Filipino pharmacists, the PPhA is committed to addressing these obstacles head-on.

 “The 2024 PPhA National Convention is aimed at bridging the gaps in education, practice, science, and development, as well as technology. So our theme for this year is to empower every pharmacist. What would be the next step toward the achievement of our mission and vision? It’s not easy because, right after the pandemic, we have seen a lot of gaps and challenges. We are taking it as the lead organization for Filipino pharmacists,” Saljay said.

The heart of the convention lay in its plenary sessions, where luminaries of the field convened to explore critical themes. Discussions on regulations as catalysts for innovation illuminated the regulatory landscape, highlighting its pivotal role in fostering a culture of progress. Delving deeper, the convention shed light on the symbiotic relationship between patients and pharmacists, emphasizing the pharmacist’s potential as a frontline healthcare provider.

Mylene Rodriguez, general manager of IQVIA, provided a comprehensive analysis of the Philippine pharmaceutical landscape, shedding light on emerging trends and insightful perspectives. Meanwhile, Yolanda R. Robles, RPh, PhD, shared invaluable insights gleaned from her experience with the Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA), offering profound learnings on navigating the dynamic pharma market landscape. Together, their lectures undoubtedly enriched the audience’s understanding and stimulated meaningful discussions within the industry.

Cherry Ann Baruis, RPh from General Santos City, expressed her anticipation for the PPhA National Convention 2024, hoping to gain insights and looking forward to receiving updates that will illuminate the path ahead for both current and aspiring pharmacists, eager to stay abreast of the latest developments shaping their field.

“My expectation during this convention is that we will be provided with more updates regarding the pharmacy profession and what is next for pharmacists and also for future pharmacists,” Baruis said.

Jose Fernando G. Elpa, RPh, emphasized his expectation of gaining extensive insights into various pharmacy practices. He highlighted the significance of exploring different avenues within the field, especially emerging trends like Pharmacovigilance.

Elpa stressed, “For example, yung mga keynote speaker nila is from Pharmacovigilance; first time nag-invite ng speaker about Pharmacovigilance, I expect na ma-explore pa yung different avenues ng pharmacy, particularly new trends.”

In a world striving for universal healthcare, the role of pharmacists cannot be overstated. The convention fervently addressed this, emphasizing the indispensable role pharmacists play in achieving equitable healthcare access for all.

Dacanay also highlighted the convention’s dual purpose: to offer updated knowledge and breakthroughs while fostering continuous learning among pharmacists.

“This convention aims not only to give a trajectory for the pharmacy profession but also to provide them with updated knowledge, breakthroughs, and current trends. As a whole, this will be a lot of learning avenues for the pharmacists,” she remarked.

As the convention progressed, the focus shifted towards continuous professional development. Plenary Session 4 underscored the importance of ongoing training and skill development, ensuring pharmacists remain at the forefront of evolving healthcare practices.

Sa aking mga colleagues, whatever practice you may have been to, continue doing your work with dedication, with integrity, and with the utmost professionalism. Embrace lifelong learning.” Dacanay underscores the importance of dedication, integrity, and professionalism in the practice of pharmacy. She encourages colleagues to continue their work with these values and to embrace lifelong learning.

Throughout the convention, insightful discussions and thought-provoking insights permeated the air, empowering attendees to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The PPhA 2024 National Convention in Iloilo served as a beacon of inspiration, uniting pharmacists in their collective pursuit of excellence and innovation in healthcare.

As the curtains draw on this momentous event, the echoes of empowerment and enlightenment reverberate, guiding pharmacists toward a future brimming with promise and possibility./PN


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