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From research to healthcare: Your Pharmacist is at your service

From research to healthcare: Your Pharmacist is at your service

By Bakani M. Ncube

Pharmacists are and have always been the custodians of medicine and our extensive training makes us the most knowledgeable health care professionals when it comes to medicines and their use but that role is evolving with each passing day as we take up a more varied role in the healthcare sector.

The theme for this years’ World Pharmacists Day, “From research to healthcare: Your pharmacist is at your service” was selected and rightfully so by the FIP and the theme “reflects the numerous contributions the pharmacy profession makes to health. From research and development of medicines, to educating future pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, and providing direct care, we do all this in the service of our patients and communities” says FIP President, Dr. Carmen Pena.

The provision of direct care does not begin in a hospital when a patient has been admitted or in a community pharmacy; it begins in a laboratory with research. Taking care of our patients, our fellow human being, starts with the acknowledging and the recognition of health issues of populations and developing medicines, policies and education to tackle them. Currently, an emphasis is being placed on pharmacists as being the “backbone of health care in many different settings”.

“We the pharmacists are often there at the beginning of the process – when the first molecule that effectively treats a disease is identified” explains Dr. Pena and this is a fact that has been proved over the years, the statement brings to mind the biography of Eli Lilly and company (1876 – 1948). He was a pharmacist whose company was the third largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world on its fiftieth anniversary in 1926 owing to the research they were carrying out that led to insulin. The Lilly Company’s contribution was the movement from a small scale laboratory production of insulin to large scale manufacture after the research work carried out by a team from the University of Toronto. This was a genuine partnership between science and industry and pharmacists were at the forefront of this work. In 1924, J.K Lilly proudly wrote, “The days of Creek Indian remedies were gone, replaced by an expertise and a confidence that encouraged aggressive searching for sophisticated and efficacious new drugs and new ways to manufacture them”.

Research is the systematic investigation, including testing and development, designed to develop and contribute to generalizable knowledge. An increasing portion of human research is now becoming information based with clinical trials being the most common form of health research.. Research techniques and findings have evolved continually throughout the last century and we have had our part to play in this.

Ensuring research is an integral part of the healthcare system and it encourages all professionals to question and rationalize clinical management. It creates a culture of continual learning and development and assists us to learn more about our chosen area, to have confidence in the treatments we are offering and to learn from our patients. Evidence has shown that patients who receive care in research active hospitals have better health outcomes owing to research active institutions offering wider treatment options and more opportunities to be included in clinical trials. This highlights the importance of research to overall service delivery, to us as pharmacists being at our patients service.

A lot of work has been done and is still being done as far as research goes and the onus is on us to ensure that research and development continue to occur for the benefit of our patients who rely on us for medical interventions.

 ncubebakani@gmail.com

Role of Pharmacists in transformation of research to health care

Role of Pharmacists in transformation of research to health care

By Nyasha Mazorodze

Thoughtful contemplation of human morbidity and related mortalities elicited the interest of various members of the health care team to ensure human health. Since pharmacists focus on the safe and effective use of medication, they are important pillars of health care. Pharmacists exhibit their services in a wide variety of approaches ranging from being involved in research to the provision of health care directly to the population. Therefore, they play a crucial role in the transformation of research to health care.

In order to make proper clinical decisions pertaining drug research, pharmacists play an integral role. In the case of an outbreak of a certain unknown disease, pharmacists play a major role in research during the development of the medication necessary to eradicate that disease. For example in 2014, there was an Ebola outbreak in West Africa and research was prioritised in order to develop a vaccine which has an immune response against Ebola virus surface protein. As such, pharmacists are able to use similar clinical and biomedical research in order to control and prevent spread of diseases. Pharmacists are also involved in clinical tests during the drug development to ensure safety of the patients and monitoring for any side effects and unwanted reactions.

Dispensing drugs is also one of the areas traditionally taken care of by pharmacists. Drug abuse is tremendously becoming a problem nowadays and therefore pharmacists must only give certain medications to patients who really need the medications after they supply a proper prescription from a medical doctor. Pharmacists also carry out research on prescription of drugs and this will help them understand the impacts that certain drugs have on different individuals. This will help them to maintain health safety and reduce the effects of drug abuse and drug addiction. Pharmacists will also be in a position to counsel other medical practitioners on the expected side effects of some drugs and recommending counter measures thus ensuring the health care of the community. After research has been conducted some regulations pertaining prescription of drugs are put in place to ensure the safe use of drugs by the patients.

Encouraging the proper use of medication and also promotion of health is one of the main roles of pharmacists. Perhaps, the leading cause of drug resistance is improper use of drugs. An example is not completing a prescribed course of medication. This will lead to adaptation of pathogenic bacteria to low dose medication and eventually a form of a population that is unresponsive to the medication no matter the dosage. To ensure that drugs are properly used, pharmacists must counsel the patients and encourage them to use medication appropriately as well as enlightening them on possible effects of not using the drugs properly. Research is therefore conducted by pharmacists on the reasons for some of the improper uses of medication so that they educate them basing on that information. In the event of drug resistance, research is carried out by pharmacists in order to develop new medication to replace the one available thereby ensuring the health care of the community.

Passing by a pharmacy is very common especially in urban settings. As such, there is a misconception with the majority of people that the profession of pharmacy is only concerned with the traditional way of dispensing drugs. However, “From research to health care: Your pharmacist is at your service.”

nyashamazorodze15@gmail.com

References

Dixon MG, Schafer IJ, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ebola viral disease outbreak--West Africa, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2014; 63: 548–51

AHSF drug information, 1999, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, 7272 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Meinolf Kuper and Helen Tata. Bamenda, Cameroun. (1989). Guidelines for Managing a Pharmacy (unpublished)

These are areas where Pharmacists apply their skills and knowledge

These are areas where Pharmacists apply their skills and knowledge

By Azeh Goodness

In the past, one’d think of a pharmacist as an individual in the retail pharmacy who fills his or her prescription. This traditional role of pharmacists was managing the production and dispensing of drugs. Pharmacists have only been considered dispensers, and not providers and thus their practice has been limited. Their Patients often viewed them as trade merchants and not as healthcare professionals.

Today, howbeit, this role has evolved to an individual who works side-by-side with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in highly, specialized practice settings to assure appropriate medical therapy management.

Indeed, effective medicine cannot be practiced in isolation with efficient drug management-- and that is not far away from what the pharmacist seeks to engender. Their contribution to healthcare is contingent upon their in-depth knowledge, their researches and their expertise in drugs and drug-related matters. From a basic education which has risen significantly over the years-- shifting from a bachelor of science (BSc.) degree to a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree-- to a formally designated period of supervised pre-registration practical experience, pharmacists acquire a broad understanding of the scientific principles and techniques of the pharmaceutical sciences and the ability to keep pace throughout their careers with developments in medicine and pharmacy.

Pharmacists can, therefore, apply these knowledge and skills in such areas as below

Diagnosis
This is done by performing or obtaining necessary assessments of the patient's health status.

Formulation of treatment plans​
Since disease treatment goes beyond drug intake alone to nutritional, psychological, and physiological curative efforts, the pharmacist can formulate a holistic remedial plan.

Optimal therapeutic function
With the development of specific and potent synthetic drugs, the emphasis of the pharmacist's responsibility has moved towards the provision of personalized therapies to meet unique medication needs.

Provision of follow-up services
By ensuring adequate monitoring and evaluation of patients, a comprehensive medication review is established to identify, resolve and prevent medication-related problems, including adverse drug events.

Education of patients
As custodians of drug-related information, pharmacists are able to provide informed advice on the use of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, as well as provide population-based care in Institution settings.

Education of other health professionals
The pharmacists can advise physicians, nurses and other health workers on medication therapy decision.

Drug formulation and quality control
The understanding of the principles of drug interaction and potential side effects, as well as the techniques in quality assurance, equips pharmacists towards ensuring the formulation of standardized pharmaceutical products.

Drug regulations and control
With the proliferation of hazardous and easily-abused drugs to public consumption, the pharmacists can help ensure that strict regulations are maintained.

Medical record management
They ensure proper documentation of the care delivered and also communicates essential information to the patient's other primary care providers. This eases future treatment engagements.

Strengthening health care economics.
Pharmacists help appropriate the intricacies of the distribution chain and the tenets of efficient stock-keeping and stock turnover. They are equally familiar with the pricing structures applied to medicinal products, and that puts them as important economists.

Policy Making
Given their wide knowledge-base, pharmacists can fit properly into national and institutional​healthcare policy formulation committees.

Conclusion
The phrase "ask your pharmacist" is increasing becoming common-- and with good reason. Pharmacists are integral part of the health care community and serve as an important source of knowledge and this is evident in their flamboyant presence in healthcare delivery.

ezehgoodness@gmail.com

From research to health care: Your Pharmacist is at your service

From research to health care: Your Pharmacist is at your service

By Ekpoh Mfonobong

Pharmacy is the art, practice, or profession of preparing, preserving, compounding, and dispensing medical drugs. Howbeit, this noble profession has evolved over the years with its development and expansion resulting in a profession more diverse than was previously seen. Its areas of expertise span a great width. Thus, the robustness of the profession buttresses the need for diversification, in order to facilitate provision of better services to its populace. Different fronts of the profession include:

  • Research and Development Pharmacy
  • Industrial Pharmacy
  • Hospital Pharmacy
  • Community Pharmacy
  • Social and Administrative Pharmacy
  • Pharmacists in the Academia etc.

The choice of a specialty gives more knowledge, helps one to contribute extensively and maximize all opportunities available for self-improvement.

Furthermore, the paradigm shift of the profession from product-oriented to patient-oriented with researches and modifications of already existing policies has led to the current Pharmacy philosophy- Pharmaceutical Care (PC). PC is the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient's quality of life (Hepler and Strand 1990). This philosophy has greatly improved rendered services, as such, in whatever specialty, improving the patient's quality of life is the focus. So in case you are wondering, "Why strive to do better?" "Why the quest for more knowledge?" "Why enact policies to improve already set strategies?” The answer is not far-fetched- "We are at your service!”

Pharmacists play key roles in clinical research. In this era of collaborative practice terms, these researches may address important questions that facilitate improved patient care or service delivery, without specifically advancing Pharmacy practice, but still contributing to the scientific literature as a whole and may add little to the entire health care system (Sheri et al 2011). These research results are harnessed to improve the quality of life of patients. Pharmacists have been exposed to science and according to Bertolt Brecht, "The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom but to set a limit on infinite error." With the knowledge obtained, both from new medical researches and those peculiar to practicing environs, pharmacists persevere to facilitate its application in healthcare. This shows the usefulness of enacting new policies and continually assessing strides achieved in a given time to seek further ways of improving healthcare.

From research to healthcare; a lot of work is required. Rendering service to anyone requires diligence; no wonder Iroquois Maxim says; "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." With this, Pharmacists have a duty towards self and the populace despite varied responsibilities among the different areas of expertise. Saddled with the responsibility of achieving the best medication treatment outcomes for patients, ensuring cost-effectiveness and safe therapy, Pharmacists are medication experts. Services such as Clinical researches (Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes, Global Health Issues); Pharmacogenetic therapy (individualization of therapy according to genetic makeup of a person); Modified release forms of tablets produced by Industrial Pharmacists for concordance; training future health professionals; Pharmacists involvement in creating awareness for the existence, treatment and prevention of diseases; Patient education, counseling and provision of expertise information about drug composition and posology; Pharmacists involvement in policy making and actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) etc show our values.

Conclusively, the holistic view of the pharmacy profession reveals the different aspects that are paramount for an all rounded practice. Notwithstanding that diversities of this practice exist, the efforts of each aspect of the profession is channeled towards meeting the health care needs of the society and to which end we can proudly say, we are your pharmacists and at your service.

mfonobongekpoh@gmail.com

References

Sheri L Koshman and Joseph Blais (2011). What is Pharmacy Research?. Can J Hosp Pharm.; 64(02): 154-155

Based on logistics: Who wants to spend summer in West Africa?

By Aniekan Ekpenyong

Oya, here’s the plan. You would touch down in Abuja (Nigeria) from the 25th – 30th of June for the 1st West African IPSF Trainers Development Camp (TDC)! Immediately after that, you would take a long bus ride from Abuja – Kumasi for the IPSF Leaders in Training (LIT) event where you may get to train leaders from different parts of Africa as well as attend the 6th African Pharmaceutical Symposium AfPS (Go for Gold!).

For those having phobia for long trips and buses, worry not! It’s less than 2 hours by air from Abuja to Accra (sounds good huh?)

You’ve been watching lots of videos regarding “Naija jollof” and “Ghanaian jollof.” Biko, come and have the real taste in Abuja so that when you arrive in Ghana, you can be the judge! (Omo, see bad belle...). Jollof  is a one-pot rice dish popular in many West African countries.

Nigerian Jollof Rice (Internet Photo)

What more can I say? In a span of 5 days, you get the chance to experience the Nigerian culture, cuisine and the warmth of her people. You get to engage with different participants through different sessions and unique training styles especially crafted for you.

I hear someone ask what the benefits of the TDC are. Oga Sir, I am at your service:

– Lifetime opportunity of being an IPSF trainer gbam!

-Opportunity to develop the IPSF training program by effectively delivering soft skills trainings at IPSF event both home and abroad gbam!

-Personal development on soft skills gbam!

-Attend first, every other things shall be added (full stop!)

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about the stress associated with payment transactions as you get to pay on arrival! Simple enough? I love that smile!

If you haven’t tasted the Nigerian ‘Kilishi’ or ‘Suya’, you are still a learner! (Ooops, did I say anything 🙊). Oya, if you know what is good for you eh, better don’t miss our ‘Kilishi evening of joy’

I talk too much. I know. You made me do so. I won’t say anything again until you drop what you are doing and look at this document.

In the meantime, thank you for your attention. Let me come and be going 🚶🏽🚶🏽🚶🏽🚶🏽🚶🏽.

Disclaimer: This post is mainly for IPSFers passionate about fostering professionalism in others and are willing to contribute to the IPSF training program by sharing knowledge gained through organization of trainings and development of training programs.

————————————————

Here are a few words to learn from the Igbo, the third dominant Nigerian language.

Biko – Please

Oya – Let’s get it on.

Bad belle – To hold a grudge

Omo – Buddy

Gbam – A loud bang usually made in agreement.

Oga – Informal for boss

These are the most Important Things you’ll need to organize a Successful Medical Outreach

By Temitope Ben-Ajepe

Just before you proceed: This post is a month late.

I had the opportunity to work on a community health project in the past month. It was exhilarating; in the sense that I had never before been charged with organizing a medical outreach and I was just so excited to get to the job done properly, it was also quite educative; I learned more about myself as a person than I ever have in the past decade combined and added to the growing skill set as I went along and the best part? It was fun.

More importantly, I learned lessons that every Pharmacy student could use if ever faced with having to organize a medical outreach at (what seemed to be) the drop of a hat.

The first and most important thing to get sorted when you first get started is the team you’ll be working with. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized and here’s why: It might come across as a tad cliché but you’re only ever as good as your team (Read: the people you’re working with to the actualization of a goal). They affect things in every way and form imaginable. They are the combination of skills you lack and affect the quality of decisions to be made by way of the information brought to the table. Also, since there’s no way you can possibly be everywhere at the same time, you will need to have to rely on the eyes, ears, hands and even intellectual prowess of other team members to get jobs done and tasks completed.

Having said this, in drafting a team, you should be on the lookout for competent, reliable and self-motivated people to work with. It is with this team that you can conquer the world. Sure, having friendly faces around sounds nice but you want people who are able to meet up with deliverables and understand how delegation works to avoid petty tirades and undesirable outcomes. (Disclaimer: There might be slight disagreements between team members. Be honest enough to acknowledge that we are after all humans and not Kryptonians).  

Once I had my team together, it was a lot easier whilst communicating with our sponsors. Our sponsors, a mobile platform that helps expectant and young, nursing mothers keep a tab on the growth of their children had their own ideas on how they wanted things done as regards to the medical outreach even down to the social media hash tag. Communication is a major key alert, in the words of the great DJ Khaleed, one you can’t ever go wrong with. Communicate with your team members and sponsors/partners. It was our job to communicate reasonably why some of our sponsors’ ideas weren’t feasible and propose even better suggestion in replacement. Having quite the intimidating profile and giant partners stationed behind them (the United States Department of State) heightened the motivation to do a thorough job and in order to do that, we had to be open and receptive to everything they were saying and smart and alert to articulate our responses.

Of course, there’s more to organizing a medical outreach but with these two on lockdown, you have everything else covered. Great communication skills – written and oral come in handy whilst preparing a budget, sensitizing the locals on all the event’s details, negotiating good deals on logistical issues such as securing a hall and renting a public address system and you’ll never know, someone on your team just might be BFFs (Best Friends Forever) with the president of the medical students’ association chapter in your school! Because: what outreach is complete without doctors and their upcoming generation?

And don’t forget, when your event is wildly successful, celebrate those who worked alongside you to. make it happen because they rock. In other words, food!

temitope.benajepe@gmail.com

The write is an aspiring pharmacist and wordsmith. Interested in mobile health, big data and tweets from @temi_benjamin.      

Millions predicted to die from noncommunicable diseases in Africa by 2020: Here’s how we can fight the scourge

By Bakani M Ncube

I remember a friend of mine sending me a meme that said: “Get your change stuck in a vending machine? Don’t mess with it. Vending machines kill more people per year than sharks do!” This was hilarious. However, along with the words of one of my influencers, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, this meme got me contemplating on the severity of noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs).

According to PubMed, a noncommunicable disease (NCD) is a medical condition or disease that is by definition non-infectious and non-transmissible among people. They claim 38 million lives per year. This simply means that it is a disease or condition that if I have, I cannot pass it onto the next person and it is mine and mine alone. The four main types of NCDs have been highlighted to include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes. With this in mind, the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region Office has stated that millions of people are predicted to die from NCDs by 2020 and by 2025, 55% of all deaths will be attributable to NCDs and injuries. Most of the African adult population has at least one of the NCD risk factors which increases the chances of developing an NCD. It is due to these findings that these death threats can be predicted. Worldwide, deaths from NCDs are to reach an estimated 44 million within the next four years (a 15% increment) and this will be an increase from the WHO’s 2010 estimates. WHO African Region Officer Director states that “In recent years, much of the world’s attention and resources have – deservedly – been directed toward the immediate threat posed by emerging viruses, including Zika and Ebola. What this report serves to highlight, however, is that amidst these emergencies we cannot lose sight of the enormous health dangers posed by non-communicable diseases, especially since many of these can be prevented through changes in behavior and lifestyle.’’

In Africa, we mostly focus on the communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and the longest and most severe epidemic known in human history, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which was successfully eradicated in West Africa in December 2015. However, the NCDs do need attention too as these are diseases that can be life-threatening as well as debilitating. They place a significant hardship on the region, robbing people and families of those who otherwise should be enjoying their most productive years. We find ourselves as Pharmacy students in a very unique and important place. We can work together across the continent as the IPSF AfRO to raise awareness about NCDs as we have been doing in past years so as to combat the diseases and ensure that the next time we read the WHO Report of the Regional Director, these terrifying numbers may have significantly decreased. We must do everything we can to reverse these disturbing trends.

The prevention of NCDs is largely dependent on 4 major behavioural risk factors and these include:

  1. Tobacco use which is one of the most serious health risks globally, causing more than 70% of lung cancers, 40% of chronic lung diseases, and 10% cardiovascular diseases. In the African region, the prevalence of daily tobacco use among adults ranged from 5% to 26% (12% across the Region). Fortunately, some achievements have been made in the region with Botswana being the first country to introduce an additional levy on all tobacco products.

2. The harmful use of alcohol which most people consume for one reason or another.
3. A poor diet especially in Africa where some people are malnourished as a result of poverty and low income.
4. Low levels of physical activity within the region that have seen us being ranked worldwide as having the highest prevalence of hypertension, with about 46% of adults having high blood pressure.
Overall, there needs to be a paradigm shift within our beloved region where we become more conscious of the prevalence of NCDs and be bold enough to act on it, such that the alarming stats may decrease and we live long, healthy lives.

Mr. Bakani is a second year student at the University of Zimbabwe and has an interest in Public Health issues. He also serves as the Student Exchange Officer for the Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Students Association.
zpsaseo@gmail.com

IPSF Story of Patricia Nyokabi- 2014/15 Best Contact Person in AfRO and 5th AfPS Chairperson

By Patricia Nyokabi

I was first introduced to the exemplary work of the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF) during a Leaders-In-Training workshop organized by Kenya Pharmacy Students Association (KEPhSA) in November 2013. I had been invited together with some colleagues in our capacity as officials of the pharmacy students association in the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) chapter.

The training was intense yet seamless. It was deeply enlightening especially for an individual who was budding in this thing we call leadership. Just a month earlier, I had organized an ‘Induction to Pharmacy’ conference at my university. I was badly in need of some training especially in an environment where every participant can identify with the struggles of leadership.

In the course of the training, a presentation was made about an upcoming IPSF African Pharmaceutical Symposium (AfPS) in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. I knew I had to be there, if not for anything else, for the wonder of the world venue for this symposium.

I put my mind to it,  worked so hard and sure enough June/July 2014 found me in Zimbabwe. I was thoroughly impressed by the professionalism in the activities scheduled, the social cultural events, the General Assembly and the elections and of course the excursion to the mighty Victoria falls.

I knew deeply within myself that I had to plug into the work of the IPSF. I had experienced first hand the vital role that Contact Persons play in the running of the Federation.  I would vie for the position of the IPSF Contact Person to Kenya during the upcoming elections.

Serving in this capacity was thrilling. It was my year of firsts. Running public health campaigns, responding timely to all the emails that needed my attention- sometimes up to 20 per day, communicating professionally online and in person, Skype meetings, using Google docs, forms, spreadsheets were skills gained. All important skills for any individual in this digital age, yet no school quite teaches you these skills, you learn on the job.

My highlights were; having 30 Kenyan delegates attend the 4th IPSF AfPS in Rwanda, organizing the first ever forum that brought together pharmacy students from all the 6 universities in Kenya that offer a Bachelor Degree in Pharmacy (the annual event is now in its 3rd year) and receiving the IPSF Development Fund Grant to attend the 61st World Congress in Hyderabad, India. For the outstanding achievements, I got the award for the Best IPSF AfRO Contact Person in the year 2014/2015.


I had discovered my life’s purpose in leadership and IPSF was giving me a platform to live it out! I was on such a leadership roll; passion and zeal almost palpable.

My next role would be the most fulfilling yet. I had prepared a bid for KEPhSA, Kenya to host the 5th IPSF-AfPS and upon winning I applied to be the Chairperson for the committee that would organize an event of such magnitude.

Previous hosts had been Algeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Rwanda. It was coming to my homeland, finally! First task was to get team members, then to identify a venue, get speakers, funds, delegates etc. It was such an intricate process for a period of almost a year.

I would look at everything through an AfPS set of glasses. All my friends and family were dragged into the AfPS planning process. I would be randomly walking in town, then I come across something that would feature in the symposium like speaker’s gifts, delegates notebooks etc then I frantically click away and bombard my team members with pictures of the ideas I had. I was in such an AfPS trance and I loved it! Plus with such dedicated team members that journey was truly worthwhile!

The event was held in June 2016 in the coastal city of Mombasa. The theme was: ‘Rewriting the African Narrative in Healthcare :Access, Quality and Innovation’.130 delegates from 10 countries in Africa took part. We had such a great variety of lectures, workshops, social cultural activities, an excursion to Mamba Village and a mentorship session at Allidina Visram High School.

Around that time I was also preparing for my final exams. I completed successfully and graduated in November last year.

IPSF has truly enriched my pharmacy school experience. The 15 semesters didn’t feel too long because I was always doing something on the side – organizing events, traveling etc. It gave me great exposure to pharmacy training and students from across the World. I made so many friends, some of whom now feel like family. I travelled the World from the Country of a thousand hills, Rwanda to the Wonder of the World, Victoria Falls, the Pharmaceutical city Hyderabad, India and finally to one of the few cities that bring together all the nations of the World- Geneva, Switzerland for the 69th World Health Assembly.

Towards the end of last year, I felt I had completed that part of my service to IPSF as I had pharmacy school and as with all the positions I’ve held, I passed on that baton too, to allow for the many other batons that will be passed on to me in various other capacities. I serve subtlely in an advisory role, when called upon to especially by individuals within AfRO.

Looking forward to what the future holds, especially within the healthcare provision space.

Heartfelt gratitude to all my mentors within IPSF, to all the individuals that I got to work with; the 5th IPSF-AfPS Reception Committee, the Regional Working Group 2015/2016, KEPhSA executive 2014/2015 and to everyone that I got to meet through IPSF. We made such great memories that I’ll reminisce for a lifetime!

pnnyokabi@gmail.com

Editor’s note: Feeling inspired and you want to share your IPSF story with the world too? Write to rmpo@afro.ipsf.org

4 February 2017: World Cancer Day

By Our Regional Projects Subcommittee 

Introduction
Currently 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year. Out of which 4 million people die prematurely between the ages 30 to 69 years. A report which relied on more than 100 cancer registries in 68 countries from 2001-2010, indicated that approximately 300,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed in children and teens under the age of 19 every year.

February 4th each year the world commemorates the world’s cancer day. Since 2016 it has been running under the tagline: ‘We Can, I Can’ and as IPSF AfRO, this year we will focus on cancer awareness by highlighting the types of cancer, possible causes, signs, and symptoms, and how everyone as a collective individual can be part of such a movement to help reduce the global burden of cancer.

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and abnormal cells. Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named according to the location in the body from which they originate. Eg. lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

Types of cancer and their awareness colours

Signs & Symptoms

Type of Cancer Signs & Symptoms
Lung Cancer New cough, hoarseness, haemoptysis, dyspnoea, non- resolving pneumonias, chest wall pain and tracheal obstruction.
Breast Cancer Breast lumps, nipple retraction, dimpling, discharge and skin changes.
Cervical Cancer Abnormal vaginal bleeding and discharge, pain during sex and pain in the lower belly or pelvis.

 

Colorectal Cancer Occult bleeding, constipation, obstruction, and stool caliber.
Liver Cancer Loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, jaundice, pain or swelling of the abdomen, itchy skin,feeling very full even after eating a small meal and general body weakness.
Prostate Cancer Urinary hesitancy, nocturia, poor urine stream and terminal hematuria.
Ovarian Cancer Abdominal pain& discomfort or enlargement, postprandial flatulence, virginal bleeding, early satiety,constipation, dyspepsia and nausea

Risk factors leading to cancer

How you can help to reduce the global burden of Cancer

  • Improve access to cancer care by closing gaps in access to affordable cancer care.
  • Create healthy cities and working environments for example by prohibiting smoking in all indoor workplaces, increasing movement in workplaces through the use of stairs, so as to help build a healthier workforce.
  • Prevent cancer by educating individuals and communities with the latest knowledge of the links between lifestyle and cancer which will in return empower people to adopt healthy choices.
  • Challenge perceptions in societies where cancer remains a taboo and help improve knowledge of cancer where people are misinformed thus overcoming stigma and discrimination among cancer patients.
  • Shape policy change by implementing policies that can be used to minimize exposure to cancer risks including to tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods, as well as environmental exposures.
  • Understand that early detection can save lives since it has been shown that increasing awareness of signs and symptoms and the importance of timely treatment helps to improve survival from cancer.
  • Ask for support by mantaining social networks which can be an important coping mechanism for cancer patients and their loved ones for both in the short and long term.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices by choosing to quit smoking, become physically active and eat healthy food and drinks.
  • Love and be loved by working together with family and friends through the challenges of cancer and never be alone in facing this “giant.”

There’s hope
Though cancer remains one of the leading causes of death and disability globally where it impacts more than 14 million people each year, most of cancer cases can be cured by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy if there is early detection.

Mgambi Gamba Gideon, Mutabazi Claude, Anesu Adilwayo and Geofrey Beingana contributed to this article.
rpo@afro.ipsf.org

Technology in Healthcare System, the 8th RPSA Annual Symposium Focus

By Fabrice Humura

Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students Association (RPSA) is organizing its annual symposium slated for 17th-18th March 2017. This year’s inspiring theme falls into the world’s updated system known as technology. The theme is: “Navigating through a technological Healthcare system.”

The symposium happening for its 8th time,  will be held at Galileo Hotel in Huye District. Participants will convene to exchange ideas on how to incorporate technology for an improved health care service delivery.

Unlike other previous symposiums, this one will give room to all health care providers as technology captures everyone’s interest and quicken delivery of the expected service irrespective of the area one may be working at.

Side events will be a top innovation in this upcoming symposium. Participants will choose an event to be part of deep discussions on the topics of interest. This will undoubtedly enhance discussions and interaction among participants.

Participants at the 7th RPSA Symposium.

Moreover, such symposiums gathering multitude of participants does not end with only presentations, but also offering a privilege of networking where people get to know each other through sharing life and career experiences. Networking is normally charmed by the tea break as participants enjoy while getting relieved and a quite delicious food.

In the ICT century, being a student, professional, local or international participant is of less concern when one is eager to be smarter. This symposium will be an opportunity to sharpen knowledge in technology as Rwanda’s developing rate in embracing technology and innovation is loud.

On 14th October 2016, Rwanda became the first country in the world to launch drone delivery programme to transport medical products to remote parts of the country [Zipline Photo].

You can register for the symposium here.

Mr. Fabrice is the 8th RPSA Symposium coordinator.

humurafab@gmail.com