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Eko’ni baje: Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the IPSF African Regional Office

Eko’ni baje: Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the IPSF African Regional Office

By Aniekan Ekpenyong.

7th AfPS will take place from 17th to 22nd June

If you ask a mother what makes her most grateful, she is likely to tell you when she gave birth to her first child or when her child was 10. Age 10 signifies a steady progress from childhood to adolescence. It is usually a moment that calls for celebrations. You can only imagine the joy of mother IPSF.

The IPSF African Regional Office also known as IPSF AfRO was birthed in August, 2008 at the IPSF General Assembly in Cluj-Napoca, Romania to allow for the decentralization of the Federation into regions. Creation was aimed at extension of the work the Federation was doing in public health, professional development and advocacy, providing a region-specific approach. The creation of the African regional office followed that of the Asia Pacific and Pan American regional offices in 1999.

The International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) is the oldest faculty-based organization founded in 1949 and represents over 320,000 individuals in more than 80 countries with more than 100 different representative pharmacy students association. The federation is engaged in pharmacy education, public health, professional development, advocacy, cultural awareness and partnerships developing pharmacists worldwide. The federation aims to provide opportunities for professional development, education and international exchange, advocates for improvements to pharmaceutical education strategies and health systems as well as present a platform for member organizations to exchange knowledge, experience and ideas. Activities organized by IPSF include world congresses, regional symposia and different projects in public health, professional development and student exchanges.

From being a region with less than 5 countries in the early 2000s, AfRO has grown to accommodate members from more than 18 countries with representation from all regions of Africa, excluding North Africa. Currently, members include Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso (West Africa), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania (East and Central Africa), South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Zambia (Southern Africa)

The region has engaged in numerous projects and activities since its inception, advancing the aims of the federation while providing an avenue for networking between members. Amongst the many achievements recorded by the federation include the 62nd IPSF World Congress held in Zimbabwe and the 2017 World Health Scientific Symposium in Kigali, Rwanda which all turned out to be a huge success. Typical projects engaged in are student exchanges, public health campaigns and professional development events such as the Trainers Development Camp (TDC) and the Leaders-in-training LIT event. Every year, the region organizes the African Pharmaceutical Symposium (AfPS). The AfPS was first hosted in 2012 at Algiers, Algeria. Subsequently, the event has been hosted in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Kenya and Ghana.

The African Pharmaceutical Symposium (AfPS) brings together pharmacy students and recent graduates from all over Africa in an African city for about a week. The delegates engage in educational and scientific symposia, workshops, industrial visits, public health campaigns around the host city and a great variety of social and cultural events. The 7th AfPS which would be held in the city of Lagos is hosted by the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students (PANS) and aims to unite both  old and new IPSFers in a spectacular reunion party, provide a forum where the future of the region can be discussed and offer valuable mentorship opportunities for young pharmacy leaders across Africa. It promises to be a fulfilling and rewarding time of learning and networking as it blends the traditional approach to the AfPS with the exciting anniversary celebrations. The event also serves as a unique opportunity to discover LAGOS, the largest megacity and the 4th largest economy in Africa. From the hustling and bustling of day time activities to the bliss of night time, the city has everything it takes to deliver that spectacular Nigerian feel you have always been expecting.

Everyone on the Reception Committee led by Ms. Akudo Alli is all ready to provide an unforgettable experience. I am excited and only counting months left to being a part of this unique gathering of IPSFers from all over Africa and beyond. It would be a history making event!

Wouldn’t you rather feel the Naija spirit with us this year?

Eko’ni baje! (Welcome to Lagos) and Feel the #9jaSpirit

 

Aniekan Ekpenyong is a member of PANS, Nigeria the hosting association of 7th IPSF AfPS.
aniekanpearl@gmail.com

Interview with Hon Dr Jean Damascene

Dr JEAN DAMASCENE NTAWUKURIRYAYO IS OUR PERSONALITY OF FEBRUARY

By Fabrice HUMURA, Regional Media and Publications Officer.

 

 

Hon. Dr Jean-Damascène Ntawukuriryayo (Courtesy Photo)

The name, Dr Jean-Damascène Ntawukuriryayo, is illustrious in the health sector. He appears on various decision-making boards in Rwanda, but only a handful of people know of his unwavering passion for the pharmaceutical sector which is undeniably unmatched.

Dr. Ntawukuriryayo is not an ordinary man. He has held several eminent political positions including the State Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Minister of Infrastructure, Health Minister, Vice President of Chambers of Deputies and, in 2011, he was the President of the Senate of Rwanda. It is, therefore, not surprising that I was a little bit nervous about meeting and interviewing him.

You can easily understand why he postponed our interview appointment a number of times due to his tight schedule and unexpected urgent events that arose. Nevertheless, he continued to acknowledge my attempts to contact him and ultimately, we met. As I arrived at the Rwandan Parliament in Kigali city where he is currently serving as a senator, he stared at me in a welcoming way. After we exchanged pleasantries, our interview began.

Q: I’ll start with your educational background and, more specifically, with pharmacy. How did you start in pharmacy and did you ever dream of being a pharmacist?

Thank you for your question. Back then, I had no clue what pharmacy is. It is not like today where you have internet and can access all sorts of information from every part of the world. We did not even have people to look up to in the profession. I, however, aimed at excelling in whatever course I started.

I dreamt of becoming a chemist since secondary school because I enjoyed titrating and conducting different chemical reactions. Reaching university, I was directed into pharmacy, which I had never thought about. So that’s how I entered the pharmacy profession. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Pharmacy from the National University of Rwanda. I continued on to complete my Masters and, finally, a PhD in pharmaceutical technology from Ghent University in Belgium.

 

Q: That’s interesting to know. You became more famous in politics than in pharmacy as a profession, though. Could you share with us how you got into the political area?

I can’t really figure out how exactly I got into politics. First and foremost, though, I am happy with the improvements I have made in the pharmacy profession along with other pharmacists. Most of my work focused on laws that underpin what pharmacists do and sustain the decency of the profession.

Something else I am proud of is the time I spent at the National University of Rwanda. It was pleasing to note how one’s efforts produced more pharmacists that would be of great support to the community.

I was made Vice Rector in charge of Administration and Finance at the National University of Rwanda and later, I was appointed to the cabinet as the Minister of State for Higher Education and Scientific Research in 1999. From that time, I held various positions at a ministry level such as infrastructure and health. In the following years, I continued to serve in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate where I currently work.

 

Q: Let’s continue this discussion...how do pharmacists in leadership roles impact or affect the profession?

Pharmacists have the opportunity to lead in the pharmaceutical arena and other related works. This may open doors to other advanced levels of the profession depending on the efforts invested.

First and foremost, as pharmacy students and young professionals in general, you should question your responsibilities and what messages you ought to deliver vis-a-vis to people and society at large.

Secondly, you should fight for the progress of your profession because when your profession advances, you, yourself, advance as well. When you succeed at that, you fulfill your leadership responsibilities.

Leadership is not just a destination but rather, a journey and a change of mindset that is not necessarily learned from a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. It does not automatically give you a passion for dispensing. Leadership requires you to be open and to embrace what is being done well in other parts of the world, in order to bring that practice back home.

Q:  Hon, let’s talk about the status quo of pharmacists as drug sellers. How do you challenge young professionals to change this common misconception?

That’s an interesting question which I think should be a reminder to young professionals that they need to be passionate about the profession. We have to bear in mind that the profession is not simply about dispensing medications, where a pharmacist stands in a retail shop, receives money and dispenses medications. Instead, young pharmacists need to be open-minded and not restrict themselves to a single practice area. They should also actively attend conferences as these events present opportunities to meet people who have overcome challenges. These people and events are resources that young pharmacists need to tap into as they are helpful in improving a young pharmacist’s leadership capacity.

Q: The world is advancing in the area of artificial intelligence and, more generally, in technology. How does this reflect on the pharmacy profession?

The first question that comes to mind when one mentions technology is why we are in need of it. The prime purpose of technology has always been to quicken service delivery by minimizing errors on an individual level while producing accurate results.

We still have gaps, however, in service delivery where we should further focus our efforts. This includes ensuring information is available to patients, making use of innovative technology that can connect pharmacists and the easy exchange of both information and medications.

For instance, if a patient enters a pharmacy and inquires about a medication that you don’t keep in stock, there should be an automatic system where you can directly command and inquire about the supply of such a medication. Technology, therefore, is paramount in ensuring services are delivered more efficiently.

 

Q: Don’t you think technology will potentially take the jobs of future pharmacists and leave them unemployed?

Yes, people may complain that as technology rises, pharmacists may become unemployed, however this is not true. Say you employed two pharmacists in your retail pharmacy. By introducing technology, you will keep only one pharmacist. This is not bad at all, though, to the other pharmacist as s/he will be able to further pursue the profession in other areas which had not been focused on before including drug analysis, marketing and research.

By incorporating technology, it does not imply that we are excluding people or making them unemployed. No matter how advanced technology will be, a person’s mind and conscience will be indispensable in one way or another. There are still jobs and responsibilities that are impossible for robots to deliver.

 

Q:  Let’s get back to leadership but this time let’s focus on hospital management and leadership which has been solely in the hands of medical doctors, specifically in Rwanda and in several other states. Can’t pharmacists be allowed to lead hospitals? If so, how soon?

That’s a good question, and I would challenge pharmacists by telling them that it begins primarily with themselves by refusing the common rhetoric of being known as drug sellers. Pharmacists need firstly, to display their potential. They are able to deliver so much in a healthcare team so seeing a pharmacist leading hospitals would not be a surprise. If a pharmacist is trusted to lead a health ministry, leading the healthcare profession in other aspects shouldn't be doubted. As said earlier, however, pharmacists need to acknowledge that leadership starts by adopting a mindset that does not limit itself.

Hon Dr  Ntawukuriryayo, thank you for your time and inspiration!

 

        Hon Dr N. Jean Damascene (on the left side) with Regional Media and publications officer. 

rmpo@afro.ipsf.org

Pharmacist conversation with patient on Antimicrobial Resistance

Pharmacist conversation with patient on Antimicrobial Resistance

By Jongbo Olubukola.

(Courtesy Photo)

It had been a long week I thought sighing deeply. I could feel the beads of sweat forming on my forehead. The weather was hot and the sun could be felt shining angrily down. Today was just as others, the long queue of patients to attend to was never ending and i just wanted to go home after my afternoon shift. I looked at the big wall clock straight ahead; I had two more hours to go. I encouraged myself to be strong or what else could I do.

Finally, it was time, for I could hear Pharm. Angela's voice saying hello down the corridor. I looked up at the line outside my office, just one more patient to go.

"So Mrs Black, once you adhere to all I have said, you would be fine in no time." I said smiling

"Thank you Pharmacist. I promise to do as required."

"Alright, call in the last person." I said as she stood to leave. I knew it would soon be over. An elegantly dressed woman walked in, she looked chic and this made me wonder what brought her to the pharmacy. When you find yourself working as a community Pharmacist, you come across a lot of cases.

"Good afternoon". She said in a musical voice as she stopped in front of me.

"Please, have a sit" I said as I motioned towards her to take a sit. "So what brings you here?"

"I was driving past from the hospital and decided to seize the opportunity. A few days ago, I ate out with some friends. when I got home, I had to almost sleep in the loo. I went more than five times! I guess it's food poisoning. A couple of people have recommended what to do but I felt the pharmacist would know better."

It was the usual of which a simple ampicillin would solve but before I could dispense, I had to be sure and requested for a prescription; the increase in antimicrobial resistance to treatment was alarming due to antibiotic misuse. She provided one from  reputable hospital and so I dispensed the drugs to her; I was about explaining how it was to be used when she cut me short.

"Excuse me please. Are you sure this is going to work?"

I wondered what she meant by that. I was confused as she had professed saying some days ago; I was going to know better. She continued to explain further.

"I asked because I use this same black and purple capsules to prevent pregnancies. I didn't know it had other uses."

My face went blank immediately. I then told her that those capsules were antibiotics and not contraceptives. I took it upon myself to correct the mistake she was making. First I explained what antibiotics did and how most of them worked. I told her of the antimicrobial resistance problem we were facing in the world of today. How the wrong use and abuse of these wonder drugs caused us more harm than good. I explained that if she kept up with its misuse, soon, it would be ineffective for her. So I recounted the necessary advice of completing the required dosage regimen, not giving leftovers to a close one and all other necessary precaution.

It was a long day, I used Co-trimoxazole as a buffering example and after much talk, she finally understood the gravity of her mistake, thanked me for my time and elegantly walked out again all smiles. At the strike of six, I could leave content, that once again as a man of honor, I had dispensed my duties right.

MS. Jongbo Olubukola is to the subcommittee of IPSF AfRO Media and Publication office and member of  PANS Nigeria.

olubukolajongbo@gmail.com

 

 

What you need to know about Lagos; the hosting city of AfPS2018

What you need to know about Lagos; the hosting city of AfPS2018

By Temitope Ben-Ajepe, the IPSF Contact Person for PANS, Nigeria 2017/2018

    Temitope Ben-Ajepe

Energy; my preferred English word if I ever were to pick a synonym for my city, Lagos.

It’s the very first thing you notice as you touch down Nigeria’s former Federal Capital Territory and now it’s biggest, thriving commercial hub; one can literally feel the boisterousness as it permeates every nook and cranny of the Center of Excellence. The energy in Lagos can never be missed -- it is alive, well and it thrives, even in the sweltering heat. It never skips a beat.

Lagos -- through the collective efforts of Nigerian IPSFers, will be welcoming with open arms, our counterparts from the rest of the African Regional Office for the 7th edition of the African Pharmaceutical Symposium which interestingly coincides with the 10th anniversary of the office’s inception billed to take place from the 17th through the 22nd of June, 2018. Special considerations are being made by the Reception Committee and PANS National Executive Council to ensure this symposium adds value to everyone who’ll be attending, ensuring we have an event that is forward thinking and befitting for the future of Africa’s healthcare delivery team with regards to the contributions of young, emerging pharmacists.  We cannot be more chuffed and we’re set to extend our hospitability, share our knowledge, learn from our guests as we invite them all to learn about our diverse culture(s) and douse the negative press we’ve received from mainstream media of late.

 

In discovering Lagos, it is advisable to prep oneself for the bouts of energy all around and ultimately enjoy it. Alighting an aircraft, (hardly ever) strolling through Customs and claiming baggage at the conveyer belt before bursting out of the Arrivals Lounge of the international wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport is a combined lesson in the fine art of juggling quiet charisma, sophistication and short outbursts of stark, raving madness. Lagos, fondly referred to as Eko by its locals has something in store for everyone – as visitors to the city for AfPS2018 are soon to find out. It is a place of big breaks for the hardworking, the headquarters for bustling night life for die hard party lovers (no one said it better than Banky W. when he said “Ain’t no party like a Lagos party”), a steadily growing economy for investors and diverse markets for the business savvy in almost every sphere that one can think up. It is also a place with churches and mosques on every other street – a shortcut to heaven, some might argue. Lagos could very well be a school of hard knocks but it is also a gift that keeps on giving; it is the gateway to our country and a treasure trove for the keen eyed tourist because: melting pots bring everything and everyone together and Lagos is a melting point – literally and figuratively speaking.

 

Without mincing words, if there’s anything at all you seek in Nigeria, you stand a most assured chance of finding it here. The stark contrast between the elitist and the more humbling backgrounds and how they co-exist side by side is a pure wonder: an unbelievable, jarring disconnect between both extremes to some and to others, the culmination of the best of both worlds.

 

The writer is the IPSF Contact Person for PANS, Nigeria 2017/2018

Interview with Maposa

Prosper Maposa is our personality of December

By Fabrice HUMURA, Regional Media and Publications Officer.

Trust me, the name Prosper MAPOSA is not new within IPSF, particularly in the AfRO region where we saw him take the lead on various platform. He could spared some time with us and AfRO media and publication officer could interview him. So here is how it went!

As we start our interview, tell us who Prosper Maposa is.

Hello I am Prosper Maposa and in short, we could say I am a passionate pharmacist with interests in Global Leadership. I am part of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers community. I have post graduate training in Procurement and Supply and I am currently pursuing further studies in Health Economics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Everyone has a specific story of how they partook pharmacy, what is yours? Was it out of the blue? Share with us on that

It’s actually a funny story. I had always been a fan of making things (translating ideas into products that people find useful). So I was going to do engineering in South Africa, I got my placement but was not sure if I wanted to spend six years away from home. I then decided to apply to a local university for fun, after getting all the grades, I then decided to apply for pharmacy. Since then, I have always dreamed of inventing a cure to HIV one day.

While in pharmacy school, what was your favorite lecture?

Pharmaceutics was always interesting! It gave me an opportunity to imagine what happens to medicines and what they do to the body. I went further with it and most of my research has been in nanotechnology for which our team received grants and awards.

What leadership positions did you hold while still in school? (Prior IPSF positions)

I used to be the convener of our local student conferences, coordinator of national public health campaigns and I sat on the board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe to represent students. I was also the President of the Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (ZPSA)

You are known to have led in various IPSF platforms starting from AfRO chairperson, how did you catch the bull by its horns and emerge as leader to such great level?

Well this was one of the most exciting and adventurous period of my life. It was filled with a lot of personal sacrifice for the greater good. I had to save a bit of money and apply for grants and support. This allowed me to travel for conferences, workshops and trainings and presented a platform for me to network with pharmacy leaders globally. In IPSF I managed to learn the official documents and leapfrog for changes that ensured the empowerment of our region. My journey in IPSF started with me being a Contact Person and Official Delegate for Zimbabwe, I was then elected to the position of AfRO Secretary then AfRO Chairperson then IPSF Vice President then IPSF Advisor and lastly, I worked tirelessly with the team that brought the IPSF World Congress to AfRO for the first time in over two decades.

Pharmacy is a demanding career which needs complete dedication, sometimes while studying. How did you manage leadership and studies?

I owe most of the gratitude to the soft skills trainings that I got whilst I was in IPSF. It is not easy as I sit in a couple of boards, volunteer for the profession, have a full time job and also go to school. The key is self discipline and learning the honest art of saying no when you genuinely know that you can’t deliver on certain opportunities.

This year we are celebrating 10 years of AfRO existence, how do you rate AfRO’s performance so far?

AfRO has grown and evolved and I am proud of the achievements the subsequent teams have been carrying forward. I hope we keep the momentum as a region and develop more sustainable and repeatable projects with committed partners.

Could you Share with me some of the great memories you had while you were chairperson?

Great memories were the times I met old friends and also the making of news ones at events. I am proud as I look back at people who I saw being new to IPSF, those I have personally worked with and are also on their way to becoming iconic leaders in the industry and globally. I have worked with a couple of executive committees and AfRO Region Committee, and a lot of young pharmacists have become family! We go to each other’s weddings etc. Becoming a global citizen is amazing.

You have been travelling in many countries meeting different people from all works of life, how have you been seeing the Pharmacy career in terms of opportunities and improved practice?

I think travelling is important for exposure however it is what you do with the exposure that matters more. The profession has been evolving and the need to integrate emerging technologies is even critical in Africa to maximize use of the available resources. Opportunities are there but I would like to pose a challenge so that we can create more of them through innovative thinking.

What advice can you offer to young upcoming pharmacy professionals?

The future is bright and it needs for you to start positioning yourself now. Volunteer and learn, try new things, don’t wait to become a professional start now because your life is not a rehearsal it is the real thing.

We are almost done with our conversation, but before departing I’d love to hear your parting message.

Let us enjoy the world whilst making it a better place. Always remember that we owe it to the future generations. If you and I are committed in what we do success is imminent through learning, collaborating and innovating.

Thank you Maposa for your time and great insights.

Thank you!

rmpo@afro.ipsf.org

A Poem

A Poem

By Raphael Raphael

And Bacteria says to antibiotics...
You hit me once and killed me
Yet I resurrected
You hit me again this time I fainted
Yet I survived
You hit me once more
I staggered and fell
Yet I healed
You come at me once again
But this time I was strong
I got used to what you do to me
I loved the pain
I have become resistant

#AMRAwarenessDay
#ThinkTwiceSeekAdvice
#HandlewithCare

#IPSFaware

Raphael Raphael is a student at Igbinedion University, Okada.

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE

By Alegbe, Precious Tamaralayefa 

Antimicrobial resistance according to World Health Organization(WHO) is the ability of  micro-organisms(like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antimalarials, antivirals) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and spread.

 

Firstly, what do we say antimicrobials are?
They are substances that are capable, even in high dilution, of killing or inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms. They may be subdivided into Antibiotics which are derived from the growth of micro-organisms (which include; Streptomycin, Cephalexin, Erythromycin, Amoxycilin, Candicidin, Polymycin, Tetracycline, etc.) and Chemotherapeutic Substances which are synthetic agents not occurring naturally(which include; Clotrimazole, Metronidazole, Miconazole, etc.)

 

Secondly, how do we say AMR occurs and what are the causes?
AMR occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections.

The spread of AMR is a growing problem across the world and a serious threat to patients safety.

The overuse of antibiotics is a contributing factor to AMR.

The misuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials, also accelerates AMR.

Also Note that

  • AMR kills- this is due to the non response of the body to treatment.
  • AMR hinders the control of infectious diseases.
  • AMR increases the cost of health care.
  • Poor infection control practices encourage the spread of AMR.

 

ROLES OF PHARMACISTS IN TACKLING AMR

  • Antibiotics should be prescribed only on the clinical diagnosis of bacterial infections.
  • Antibiotics and other antimicrobials should be stored in a dry, clean and well ventilated area at room temperature between 15°C-25°C to prevent degradation of antibiotics which is also a contributing factor of AMR.
  • Pharmacists should cultivate the habit of patient-counselling, for this will immensely increase patient-compliance. Thereby, avoiding/preventing the abuse, misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
  • Public awareness should be made across the community pharmacies and hospital pharmacies in ways of posters, bills and other promotional materials to enlighten the general public on the consequences of AMR.

ROLES OF PHARMACY STUDENTS
Pharmacy students also have roles to play in the tackling of AMR.
The major role we can play is by creating public awareness in every way possible, which may be by;
• Organizing campaigns and reaching out to youths, pregnant women, etc. to  enlighten them on the proper use of antibiotics and also the dangers on the abuse, misuse and overuse of antibiotics.

  • Organizing online campaigns also, which will help in the spread of AMR gospel on every social media platform.

ADVICE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC

  • Do not use antibiotics without any clinical diagnosis of bacterial infections.
  • Always seek professional advice before taking antibiotics and other antimicrobials. Stop self-medication.
  • Use antibiotics as prescribed, do not take them for no reason.
  • Always complete an antibiotics dosage. Incomplete doses or under dose may also cause AMR.

Alegbe, Precious Tamaralayefa is a student from Igbinedion University, Okada.

 

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Antimicrobial Resistance: One of the Major Public Health Issues

Antimicrobial Resistance: One of the Major Public Health Issues

By Adebisi Yusuff Adebayo

Development of resistance against antimicrobial agents is known to be one of the greatest global public health problems of the twenty-first century. According to The Center for Diseases Control (CDC), drug resistance (AMR) is the 2nd   most expressive global health threat in 2014. Irrational use of antimicrobials provides advantageous conditions for resistant microbes to spread and also to thrive and replicate.

A recent report was made by Economist Jim O' Neil where he suggested that the cost of antimicrobials globally due to resistance could lead to loss of 10,000,000 lives a year by 2050 and cost one hundred trillion USD annually.

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the major global public health problems. The problem is becoming serious since most of the antimicrobials are already in their last line of use. Drugs are known to improve the quality of lives and ensure increase in life span of patients which further stresses the need to address antimicrobial resistance in healthcare.
Antimicrobial resistance has become a great problem evident in increase in death rate, higher healthcare cost and prolonged hospital stay due to the fact that microbes are developing resistance to the drugs which have once been proven to show therapeutic actions.

This can affect anyone, in any country and of any age. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this. Antimicrobial resistances are seriously on a war path and obviously have gained edge. Their actions are evidently propelling the development of resistance to medicinal agents.

Rampant inappropriate use of antibiotics among the population and livestock by the farmers, circulation of counterfeit drugs and substandard prescriptions together with poor diagnosis, or lack of it are adding fuel to the already fired path of resistance.

In various regions of the world, antibiotics can be purchased over the counter with little or no medical advice by most of patent medicine dealers basically due to lack of knowledge.
African countries have high load of infectious diseases (e.g. the air and water-borne diseases) especially the Sub Saharan region of Africa among its population and the use of medicinal agents with antimicrobial effects especially antibiotics has been widely used to treat various infections.

A growing number of infections such as gonorrhea, malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, etc. are becoming difficult to treat. Indiscriminate and irrational use of antibiotics has led to bacteria developing resistance against the drugs. Antimicrobial resistance indeed raises concern on the long term sustainable effectiveness of most antibiotics used to treat various infectious diseases, it's potential impact on the country's health and how it affects the global health and economy at large.
Antibiotics resistance thrive more in areas where antibiotics can be purchased for animal or human use without a prescription. This made the emergence and spread of resistance worse. Also, in countries that do not have or do not strictly follow the standard treatment guidelines, irrational use of antibiotics is also rampant. Without urgent action, minor injuries and common infections will claim more lives in years to come which is termed post-antibiotics era.

Antibiotics resistance also poses modern medicine at risk since organ transplantations, chemotherapy and surgeries become much more dangerous without effective antibiotics. To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, we all have roles to play ranging from individuals, policy makers, health professionals, healthcare industry to the agricultural sector.
As an individual, we have major role to play in curtailing this threat by ensuring that we only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified healthcare professional, avoiding overuse of antibiotics, never sharing antibiotics with friends or family members, following the advice given by healthcare professionals on the use of antibiotics, practicing regular hand washing, preparing food under hygienic condition, practicing safe sex and being vaccinated up to date.

The role that needs to be played by the policy maker in controlling antibiotic resistance cannot be overemphasized. Policy makers should ensure robust nation plan, improve antibiotic-resistant infections surveillance, make information available about antibiotic resistance, regulate and ensure appropriate medicine use and disposal and also strengthen policies, programmes and implementation of infection and control measures.
Health professionals can also help prevent infections by ensuring their hands, instruments, and environments are clean. They should only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are needed, according to current standard treatment guidelines. They should endeavor to report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams and also talk to their patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse. Healthcare professionals should also talk to their patients about preventing infections (for example, vaccination, hand washing, safer sex, and covering nose and mouth when sneezing). Another way to prevent and control the spread of antibiotics resistance is by investing in research and development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools by the healthcare industry.

The Agriculture sector is also a major area to be addressed in order to curtail and control the spread of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics should be given only to animals under veterinary supervision; not using antibiotics for growth promotion or to prevent diseases. Animals should be vaccinated to reduce the need for antibiotics and use alternatives to antibiotics when available. Promote and apply good practices at all steps of production and processing of foods from animal and plant sources. Improve biosecurity on farms and prevent infections through improved hygiene and animal welfare.

 

Adebisi Yusuff Adebayo is a student of University of Ibadan,Ibadan Nigeria and in charge of publicity of 7th IPSF African Pharmaceutical symposium

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Danny Mutembe is our personality of the month

Danny Mutembe is our personality of the month

By Fabrice HUMURA, Regional Media and Publications Officer.

The name Danny Mutembe is not strange to the ears of pharmacists - mostly in Rwanda, for having an important role in revamping the profession and for his instrumental and supportive interventions. But Danny is not as famous as his community pharmacy, known as “Pharmacie conseil” which gave birth to other numerous branches.

Danny Mutembe ( on the left side) (Courtesy Photo)

I arrived at his working place a few minutes after 9am and, in the moment that I entered in his office, I was struck by how welcoming he was and the keen attention he gave me despite his demanding schedule.

After we exchanged our pleasantries, it was my turn to start asking questions.

Q:  Tell us who is Danny Mutembe and his personal background.

Thank you! As you mentioned, my name is Danny Mutembe and I’m a pharmacist specialised in pharmaceutical engineering and industrial technologies.  I was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where I started my studies in a French-speaking school called Moamba. Later, I’ve moved to Rwanda, where I completed my secondary school prior to pursuing my university studies.

Q: It sounds like you’ve started moving at an early age.   

Oh yes, right after completing my secondary studies, I went for my Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. It was in India, and later I further pursued my studies to receive a Masters in pharmaceutical production in Belgium. I was fortunate to be exposed to numerous technologies in different parts of our continent and even in various places of the world.

Q: In what moment did you get that passion for pharmacy and how did it come to pass?  

Actually, from a young age, I loved so much to dissect animals and I had consistently watched TV  biology programs with my entire attention. In fact, I had a dream of becoming a cardiologist or a neurologist. However, choosing pharmacy ended up being a very diplomatic approach. My older sister, who is a medical doctor, advised me not to become a doctor. She said: “You see that we already have one doctor in the family, so it would not be fair if you became a doctor too. Let’s have a diversity of health professionals in the family. It would be better if you opt for pharmacy.” The advice was embraced by my father who was a pharmacist too, so he wanted to have one of his children doing the same as him. So, the choice for pharmacy was an overnight thinking. Then I went to India.

Q: So, after your studies, you’ve immediately come to community pharmacy or you’ve had other things to do?  

After my studies in India, I went immediately to community pharmacy, where I learned the best practice in the field. This was in 2003.

Q: Did you join an existing pharmacy or did you immediately start one on your own?

I joined my family business, the Pharmacie Conseil  when I was 19 years old. The people I’ve met were experienced and so I was able to learn things from them. Pharmacie Conseil was opened in Kinshasa in 1983. It was my father who established it right after leaving Hospital of Kinshasa, where he was the chief pharmacist. From 1986, Pharmacie Conseil was transferred to Rwanda.

Q: How old were you when you started pharmaceutical practice?

I was 23 years old. I’ve met intern pharmacists of my age and I met senior pharmacists.

Q: Being responsible at such a young age wasn’t that easy, I guess?

Oh sure, it was demanding at certain points. I started with a team of senior professionals, more experienced and resistant to change. I came up with new ideas and ways of doing things but they were not quick to adopt change, whatever I was coming up with it was either questioned or doubted as I was younger in the profession. I’ll give you an example. We used to make orders of medicines from abroad using faxes and phone calls which was extremely expensive so I brought a computer. It was not new then, but they had not yet started using e-mails and PDF files. They resisted to it but later on admitted to adopt it as it made the daily work more smooth and effective. After introducing this new idea, co-workers started gaining trust in me. I remember they started asking me what was new in the world, and I was viewed as someone with good, new ideas. When you are young, it is normal to have innovative ideas. In school you feel you want to change the world and as soon as you leave school, you think everybody in the world needs your help. I felt that it was paramount for me being there.

Q: From the time you have been in the profession, what are your outstanding achievements which you always feel proud of?

First of all, I’ll start with what I saw from my father and my seniors. Frankly speaking they were successful, but they felt contented with what they had and reluctant to go to another level.  I came with the idea of expanding and growing beyond what we had. Fortunately, we grew from one community pharmacy we used to have, to other ones.

Q: You don’t solely work in community pharmacy; tell us how you came to represent your fellows at various decision-making platforms?

It started when I realized a bad image of pharmacists existed, for example, that we are here to make money. We lacked someone who would act as spokesperson to redefine our roles. I kept emphasizing that we are the people who help the community. We are not drug sellers as many notoriously think. By then I realized that the more I was involved, the more I got to be heard and started serving in public sectors including Ministry of Health, among others.

Q: What are the gaps that you still see in the pharmacy profession?

We don’t communicate enough in our sector. We tend to be silent on what is said about us, about our profession, so people don’t fully understand what pharmacists are really worth. As in other developed countries, a pharmacist is the bridge between healthcare professionals but is also used as a valuable professional because pharmacists are quickly approached by the people. Some of them are satisfied with counseling provided by pharmacists on non-communicable diseases, tuberculosis, AIDS and so on. We’re also trained to administer vaccines and to give injections in a certain manner. For instance, the vaccination for flu. A pharmacist is not a robot behind the counter saying yes or no to what has been prescribed but he is the custodian of medicines. He is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to pharmacology and that is a subject paramount in the entire medicine. So I think pharmacist have been set aside because they chose to let this happen.

Q: Are you satisfied with where you are? Or you still have other amazing things you feel you have not achieved yet?  

To tell you the truth - I'm not. I’m always reminded that the good we have and do, should not bar us from the best we could and are capable of doing. The pharmacy sector in our country is the least developed as we are not producers yet, we solely import from other countries. I don’t think that this happened because they are smarter than us, but it’s because they have taken the lead. They started small by compounding. But here very few pharmacists do compounding, we are focusing on trending which is different from other countries. Other people see pharmacy as a gateway to production. This is what should happen and it has to start from us - not from other people.

Q: What is your message to young upcoming pharmacists, especially those who want to practice community pharmacy.  

The young ones are coming at the right time and everything is already set -  technology is at its peak, people communicate easily in seconds with high speed of high volumes of shared information. What they have to do is to think big and don’t limit themselves based on what others have done. We should not look at the work accomplished by a colleague pharmacist as the maximum that can be done. We should consider how to do it better and smarter. We are not doing even a 10th of what we are supposed to be doing. Of course, our patients will hold us accountable as they expect to be supplied with high-quality, affordable medicines, dispensed with care.  We are currently doing  quite the opposite as medicines are increasingly becoming more expensive and of course those medicines are running out on a daily basis in our hospitals.  Another advice to young people is to see a fellow pharmacist as a colleague. We are not competitors even in community pharmacy, we are working for the betterment of our profession and the end result can be seen on our people. Let’s see how we can work together, support each other, form skills and pass them on to younger colleagues. Dream big, only the sky is the limit and I am quite sure that the young generation will do better than us.

Q: What is you parting message?

I am impressed with the younger generations, as they are more knowledgeable and they have that hunger to do great things. I hope that we will be there for them in a way they can reach their own capacity.

However, young people should put in mind that

The world belongs to the ones who wake up early,

To the ones who actually go and get it,

To the ones who don’t sit back and chill,

But to those who work hard,

So just make it happen!

Thanks Danny for talking to us.

You are welcome. It was great talking with you

 

         Danny Mutembe (on the right side) with Regional Media and publications officer after interview.

rmpo@afro.ipsf.org

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