Who knew it would rain so much?
I certainly did not anticipate so much rain at my last writing to you. For 3 out of 5 days in Tamale we experienced rainfall in dramatic patterns, but that did not stop the Annual General Meeting (AGM) from being everything we expected it to be and more!
Tamale is a great city filled with vibrant people. On arriving in Tamale, I could not help but notice the vast lands filled with lush vegetation, the many motorcycles and “pragyas” conspicuous on the roads – driven by both men and women, old and young – a scene you would not find in many other cities. Our local organising committee guide told us, “There are a lot of business opportunities in Tamale” and moving through the town, you could see why. On arriving at the conference venue, the beautiful University for Development Studies, we were greeted with a large banner that read “Welcome to PSGH AGM 2022.”
AGM kicked off with a “storm” of Tamale on Tuesday to educate the public on topical health issues from the pharmacists’ perspective. If you did not catch that, you can catch up with “Operation Storm” on the “Ask Your Pharmacist show”, a PSGH cum DrugNet initiative.
Tamale offered the right platform, at the right time to discuss pertinent issues facing our profession. Many young pharmacists, myself included, had the chance to fraternise with senior colleagues and take words of wisdom to go with.
On Tuesday afternoon, which is when I arrived amid light showers, registration was seamless. The Kawula Cocktail was a beautiful feast of meats of several varieties and drinks, reconnecting with old friends and senior colleagues and highlighted by the wonderful cultural dances organised by the Northern Regional branch of the PSGH under the peaceful Tamale night sky, making for a pleasant evening!
Wednesday of the AGM had reports from all stakeholder organisations within the pharmaceutical space. Our thematic speaker, Mansa Nettey also gave us a rousing speech to dwell on, which you can read more on here(https://ghanapharmaceuticaljournal.com/news/pharmacy-schools-should-offer-dual-degrees-to-increase-career-opportunities-mansa-nettey/). However the first major highlight came with the president of Ghana’s speech, read by the Northern regional minister, where he mentioned that he has directed the Ministry of Finance to ensure the 203 PharmD house officers posted to various health facilities countrywide are paid within the shortest possible time. This was very welcoming and comforting, as the house officers have endured over 7 months of tireless work without appointment letters or salaries. Undoubtedly, the next major highlight was the maiden debate, on the motion: “LANDMINE OR GOLDMINE: THE RISING NUMBER OF PHARMACISTS IS THE PATHWAY TO OPTIMISING THE WORKFORCE IN GHANA”. Personally, I am resisting a strong urge to declare a winner for the debate. However, I must admit that the lovely analogy of the storey-building shared by Pharm Isaac Adupong & Pharm Dr Kwame Asiedu Sarpong was very telling, I also believe we are only on the first level of the storey-building – and the rising number of pharmacists is a goldmine. Colleagues, I am sure many of you may disagree with my stance, it will be great to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
Sandwiched between these major highlights was the lunch break, where there was a variety of food to choose from. Wednesday night was another night to remember. The night got kick-started with awesome performances by our very own Pharm Lois Papanko and Pharm Emmanuella Abassah-Konadu after which the Super Falcons Band lit up the hall with various renditions of classic songs amidst floating trays of barbecues and endless drinks. It didn’t end there as Samini came through to give us hit after hit after hit! If you didn’t lose your voice then you weren’t there.
Thursday started with rain, and the YPG session, followed by all the other practice group sessions. Did I fail to mention the stands at the AGM this year? From medicines and supplements to glucometers, the industry vendors came really generous – virtual participants, I’m sure at this point I’ll be seeing you next year? The learning tracks were educational and engaging and right after, there was a pre-cocktail (there were many cocktails, food and drink aboundeth much at this AGM) before we were held to a stunning two-person drama night by Ebo Whyte’s Roverman Studios. For the old folks it ended there, but for the young and young at heart – Wild Thoughts 2 followed, a party for the ages at King David pub.
Friday concluded the business, with a report from the governing board and announcements from the President of the PSGH. LAPAG session followed where funds of over GHS2000 were raised in the venue, showing what can be done when women gather together. If you weren’t there, then you could have been touring Tamale and visiting world famous art studios like Red Clay by Ibrahim Mahama and still making it in time for the stunning dinner graced by All4Real aka Ofori-Amponsah at Radach Hotel where prizes were won – from a brand new iPhone to microwaves and refrigerators – and we danced the night away in the main hall and the more vibrant party in the YPG hall. It was an excellent night by all standards.
Saturday was an excursion day. I went the Paga route! Due to time constraints we could not go to the Tengzug shrine, Tongo Hills or Zipline – however we did go across the border to Burkina Faso and visit the cultural centre. We also went to the Paga Zenga Crocodile pond – the oldest crocodile is 101 years old! – and the scenic Pikworo Slave Camp; a place I would recommend to any and everyone, where we heard the gripping songs of slaves and saw the burial place of some of the slaves! Those who went the Mole route also got to experience the reserve, seeing elephants, antelopes and baboons in addition to the Larabanga mosque and Mystic Stone. There were also fun games at The Magnolia AstroTurf!
From the bonds forged due to travel together, new friends made in Tamale, lessons learnt in organisation of this conference and during the conference, the food and entertainment, Tamale was a trip to never forget! You can still catch some of the sessions missed if you registered virtually here: http://bit.ly/AGM2022REPLAY (copy and paste in browser). Next year I will definitely be in Takoradi, and I hope to see you there too.