An Article on Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Oncology Pharmacy Unit

By Ramatu Masud Alabelewe, The Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH)


The Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) is located in a town known as Shika along Zaria-Sokoto road in Zaria, Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.

It is a tertiary and a referral hospital where cases beyond the primary and secondary health facilities are being referred for proper management. The Hospital is a teaching hospital where the training of student medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses and laboratory technologists, laboratory technicians, pharmacy technicians, radiographers, opticians etc. are taken place.

The hospital houses professors in all areas of medicine and medical practices which include medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, oncology and radiotherapy, maxillofacial, ear, nose and throat, ophthalmology, surgery, dermatology, haematology etc. the whole clinical services and department are strongly complemented with a well-established pharmaceutical services department.

The pharmaceutical services department promotes accessibility, availability and affordability to all the necessary drugs needed by all the clinical service areas/departments. The pharmaceutical service department is also involved in the clinical training of undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy students.

The Pharmacist preceptors are staffs of the pharmaceutical services department with varying degrees such as B. Pharm, M. Pharm, MPH, Pharm. D, Ph.D., etc.


ABUTH Oncology Pharmacy

The ABUTH oncology pharmacy became well established in the year 2012. Hitherto, cytotoxic agents were being mixed together with all other drugs in the facility.

In the year 2012 and 2013, two pharmaceutical companies; Roche Nigeria Limited and Sanofi Aventis Nigeria limited, assembled some pharmacists in Lagos, Nigeria for training in oncology pharmacy, the training was done by Elizabeth Carien Van Merwe from South Africa and a professor Sunday Adewuyi (A professor of radiation and clinical oncologist in ABUTH, Nigeria). After the training, ABUTH pharmacy established three units:

1. The oncology pharmacy dispensary where patients can access their cytotoxic agents and oral chemotherapy.

Oncology Pharmacy Dispensary

2. The oncology pharmacy store and cold chain maintenance room, where these drugs are stored at optimum temperature. Also, forecasting and quantification for the chemotherapy needs of the hospital are being done in the store.

Oncology Pharmacy Store and Cold Chain Maintenance Room

3. The oncology reconstitution room is where chemotherapy mixing takes place. The reconstitution and mixing are done by a well-trained pharmacist with interest in oncology. This has brought about:

  • Precision in dosing,
  • Monitoring of adverse drug reaction and toxicities,
  • Reduction in the cost of drugs,
  • Proper disposal of cytotoxic wastes.

The room houses the bio-safety cabinet that had recently been purchased by the hospital for this purpose.

Oncology Reconstitution Room

4. The oncology pharmacy staff also act as preceptors in the training of undergraduates and postgraduate clinical pharmacy students in clinical oncology pharmacy training. They are responsible for bedside training when on rounds with the clinical oncologists, paediatric oncologists, surgical oncologist, gynaecological oncologists and haematooncologists.