Pharmacist Elijah Mohammed is the outgoing registrar/CEO of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the founder of ADI Healthcare Initiative, a non-profit and non-political organisation set up with aim of closing the gap between knowledge and action as it pertains to the health of the populace.
On assumption of duty on June 12, 2014, Mohammed presented a 4-point agenda which are repositioning of the registry for effective service delivery, institutionalisation of Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) in Nigeria, transformation of career professionals into intellectual practitioners and new partnership for progressive initiative.
As registrar of PCN, amongst other numerous achievements, he generated the memo to the former minister of health that led to the formation of codeine control and other related matters working group, which led to the mop-up of the codeine cough syrup from manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers in the entire country.
This brought respite from the scourge of the manufacturing, distribution, sales and consumption of codeine containing cough syrups in the country.
As a pharmacist, Mohammed has worked in various areas of pharmacy practice including community, industrial, administrative and consultancy. He served as a North Central Zonal Coordinator for the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) in 2007.
In 2019, he was involved in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Technical Consultation on Malaria Case Management in the Private Sector in High Burden Countries, as Temporary Advisor and also served as a resource person for the Review of Criteria of Excellence for Human Resource for Health in the ECOWAS region as a Member, of the regional Council for Health Professional Education.
Mohammed was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. While in primary school, he said, “I hawked every morning before going to school. I hawked items like boiled eggs, chin-chin etc for my stepmother. That was how I developed the entrepreneurial skill. The experience made me understand and appreciate what money is all about and how to generate it. I learnt from my early childhood that money is not easy to come by.”
Mohammed got his Bachelor in Pharmacy degree in 1984 from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Edo state. In 1997, he had his MBA from Ambrose Alli University (now Edo State University, Ekpoma) and in 2008, a Master of Science in Health Management from the University of Lagos. In 2020, he bagged his PhD in Public Health Policy, Walden University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Mohammed’s academic background, job experience, services in the marketplace of the Pharmacy Profession and Practice both in Nigeria and Internationally, experience in health-related policy development and implementation coupled with his various consultancies and training experiences in management and manpower development, are the major influencing factors for his effectiveness as the CEO, PCN.
His friends at his book launch and end of tenure ceremony said his regime created stability and established certain rules for engagement within the pharmacy profession, adding that the ethics of the profession has now been elevated to a point whereby the young ones know what to do when it comes to ethics.”
Mohammed disclosed that his secret to his success was that he is strategic in his thinking, acts and deeds. “The philosophy is that you need to understand the strength and weaknesses of those you are working with. Leverage on their strengths, so that you can move the system forward and help them out of their weaknesses so that they can be able to key into whatever project you have. You don’t continuously deal on the weaknesses of people. if you do that you won’t be able to proceed.
“When I entered into PCN, there was a lot of disconnection and division among pharmacists. I know that this division won’t move things forward, so I ensured that I build a bridge across ethnic, religious and tribal divide. That has really strengthened us and made us one big family,” he explained.
With his four points agenda already in place, Mohammed said PCN, in the next few years, will be very outstanding in its activities that has to do with regulation, education, training and practices of pharmacists and other pharmaceutical stakeholders in the country. “The next registrar will take off from there and continue with what we have started,” he assured.
As he retires, Mohammed said the next step is to go home to his family that he has left for eight years. “After resting, I will restrategize and see how I can move the pharmaceutical industry forward,” he added.
He is married to Rev. Adizetu Omoshoke Mohammed, who has stood like the rock of Gibraltar behind his successes and the union is blessed with three daughters.