Tag Archives: Pharmacy

Nigerian IPSF CP hosts first Pharmacy Profession Awareness Campaign

By Isah Dahiru

Theme: Pharmacy; My Career of Choice

The choice of a career is one of life’s biggest decisions, as we live in exciting times where there is the quintessential adjustments and flexibility to career requirements. The career of an aspiring college applicant is a substantial index of envisaged success, measured in monetary value.

Career pathways in Nigeria has been precursored by acquiring a related university degree or picking skills and internship opportunities that can offer valuable and lasting experiences. The likelihood of enjoying a successful career begins by planning a degree that is in line with your career choice.

The orientation program is aimed to enlighten secondary school pupils and to educate them about the uniqueness, beauty and opportunity in the profession. Indirectly the community’s concept of pharmacy as a profession can be properly defined. This project is designed to cover 21 schools over a period of ten (10) months in each state with a School of Pharmacy.

We started this program with Ahmadu Bello University, School of Basic and Remedial Studies, SBRS-ABU Funtua in Katsina State of Nigeria. The guest speaker was Pharm. Ahmed Mohammed Gana, who delivered the speech to over 700 students in attendance.

The career talks focuses on:

Harnessing of skills and interest.

As skills are the perceptible abilities we possess as humans, and interests are the direction we lead our abilities to. You may have a skill or interest in science related career but the tragedy of the Nigerian state not viably commercialising end products of science is a huge setback. You might decide to settle for a degree in Arts, Social and Management Sciences because having such a degree is enterprising. Doing this might harm your career path as even when you acquire the degree, the career becomes unfulfilling irrespective of accolades and wealth amassed. You must have found it difficult making adjustments in areas where you don’t have natural abilities and interests.

The students were asked to define their career goal.

Average university degree seeker is between the ages 15-18 years in Nigeria. It might appear rather vague to expect life or career goals from such young persons. Success in today’s contemporary generation is not restricted to age. We have teenagers who have made revolutionary impact not by chance or parental leverage, but because they set career goals early in life. You need clarity and purpose on what you want to achieve with your interest and career to enable you choose a degree that promotes your goals.

Finally, in a competitive Nigerian market a related university degree is a requirement in most career fields. Employers rarely get attracted to talents alone, the degree is a proof that you understand the tenets and ethics. As much as interest and experience is required, putting your university degree on the same graphical axis with your career goal makes the future promising, and pharmacy is one of the profession like no other in this planet earth, as it provides ethics and job opportunities by growing the economy.

Mr. Isah is from Auyo Local Government of Jigawa State Nigeria. He’s currently studying pharmacy (400l) in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the IPSF Contact Person for PANS, Nigeria cp.pans@gmail.com

 

This is what I’d like to tell you about me joining IPSF: It’s been AWESOME!

By Temitope Ben-Ajepe

.and I’m not saying that just because I can. Writing this has done a great job of evoking deep rooted nostalgia and I’m happy to say that I really don’t mind.

The mere act of talking (or more aptly put, writing in this case) about my IPSF experience fills me up with the fondest memories that I’ll forever cherish in my pharmaceutical career and ignites hope of an even better and more rewarding experience in the course of what’s left in my sojourn as a student pharmacist through the genius that is the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF).

For one thing, I discovered IPSF at an all time low and while it would be insincere to say it changed my life (or at least, not yet), it gave me a fresh perspective on a lot of pharmaceutical things. At that point, reading about pharmacy was drab and unexciting and I believed my life held more promise elsewhere and I couldn’t wait to leave school immediately after my finals. Everything about pharmacy deeply infuriated me and I wanted nothing more than to be done with it in the long haul and for the short run and to greatly reduce all unnecessary exposure to it.

I more or less stumbled on IPSF through a dear friend,who’s now a pharmacist and ex-student of our great Igbinedion University, who sent me a soft copy of the flyer for a Leaders-In-Training event planned to be held here at school during the summer of 2016 and while the techie in me was already gearing up to fly to Abuja for the coolest internship I had snagged at the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship, it was the name Seun Omobo that did it for me. I knew who she was and the great work she had done at WHO and was what you’d call a fan. I am fascinated by the woman as I think she’s phenomenal and with a little tweaking to my already set plans, I found myself on a bus to Okada to finally meet her before proceeding to Abuja from Benin.

By the time I got to Okada, Seun had already made her address. And left. And I was, for lack of a better term, devastated. My whole detour had been a waste of time, money and effort. Or so I thought.

I ended up staying and thoroughly enjoying myself even though I was forced to hole up at the dingy “Princess” motel. It was at that event I came to realize just how multidisciplinary pharmacy practice truly was and how I could align my skills and interests with my pharmacy background to work in so many new, exciting fields. Pharmacy didn’t have to be restricted to community or hospital and that was all I needed to know to get me pumped for it.

The people I met in the facilitators nailed an already closed coffin in case I changed my mind. They were smart, precise and had good heads on their shoulders. We conversed and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of; exciting, fresh and making a lot of sense.

It’s been only under a year and I’ve made really amazing friends within and outside the country who are as ambitious as myself and with whom I could always consult for their input on specific matters. I am continuously amazed how so many amazing and super smart people (read: pharmacists and student pharmacists) can aggregate all in one place. And it’s not all just about the book smarts, they’re street savvy and widely traveled and really, really cool. I am forever grateful for the friends from whose wealth of experience I can drink from and see the world through their eyes. The deeply cerebral talks and light-hearted, witty banter, I take none of it for granted. At all.

I’ve had the opportunity of engaging in events, from organizing medical outreaches in collaboration with The United States State Department to the  Professional Development approved ones for Patient Counseling and Clinical Skills; being actively involved in the groundwork and writing reports and making commendations. I’ve also coordinated an aggressive, Nationwide online Campaign on Antimicrobial Resistance that was duly recognized by the Federation.

For one who loves the road, I’ve been opportune to travel to other faculties of pharmacy for knowledge sharing programs and it’s been nothing short of exhilarating. There’s an inside joke about how IPSF is a sort of travel agency but and slowly but surely, it’s beginning to make sense. Never mind that it’s at your own expense. But the experiences are worth it all.

And I’m just getting started.

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

 

At 22, Muoh Joanne, a pharmacy student in Ghana, has a novel in her name

Most pharmacy students in most parts of the world are known for just burying their heads 😅 in textbooks of pharmacology, pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, etc. without doing anything extracurricular. Muoh Joanne, 22, a pharmacy student in Ghana and the IPSF Contact Person has defied the odds. Last month, she released her first novel. Kennedy Odokonyero, our Regional Media and Publications Officer, interviewed her last week. Here’s the excerpt:

It has been a month or so since you released your first book “Through It All”. How has it been received by readers and book stores?                        

My main channel for sales are the online bookstores and so far things are looking up I guess. I have had people tell me how they are looking forward to a sequel which won’t be coming out though. But, so far it’s been positive.                        

Let us talk about the book itself. What’s the inspiration behind it? Or rather, what inspired you to write it?                        

Well … my mum and sister actually. We lost our grandma some years back (my mum’s mum) and I remember how my mum held up, how she was strong for the whole family, being the first born. It was difficult for her, I could see her pain but she wasn’t letting it out. How we would be talking about my grandma and her eyes would get all teary but she wouldn’t let a single tear drop. For my sister, she has always been patient with us, never complaining, never shouting and even when she does she would always apologize. So they were my motivation or inspiration.                       

Oh! It’s a real life story, right? I mean the story in the book.                        

No… it’s not a real life story. It’s fiction. But they were the main inspiration to write it. The book started on a tragic note, with the main character losing her dad…                        

Hahaha I see. How long did it take you to write the book? Writing, editing and eventually publishing?          

The writing took like a year and some months… you know with school and all. I wrote it basically during the holidays because I didn’t want to get sidetracked. However the few months before I published, I wrote in school usually in the middle of the night. As for the publishing and editing, that took about 4 months maximum.                        

You have never contributed any article to our blog or newsletters. I didn’t know you were a writer until you released the book. Maybe you are only a long-story kind of writer? 😊                        

Well… you could say that I am a long story kind of writer. But then I have tried my hand on an article, the tuberculosis   article. I believe the feedback from it, would tell me if I should venture into article writing. Apart from that… it also depends on the subject matter I guess.                        

Personally, I am a short (blog) kind of writer. I prefer the about 600 words kind of writing. Yes, I think you should venture into writing articles. Our blog and newsletters are open to give you the platform.                        

Sure, [I] would give it a try.                       

In my part of the world it’s unheard of pharmacy students who are novelists at the same time. What’s special about you? 😊                        

Wow… I can’t say actually. I guess it’s my God-given talent…so it’s only right that I use it to inspire people so that at the end of it all I can tell God that this is what I used the talent he gave me for. It’s all about the readers and the lives that the book would touch.                   

(Courtesy Photo)

Interesting! Is there a way home or your early school life influenced you into writing? I am curious to know if you were a literature student in secondary school.                        

Oh… not at all… I was never a literature student. I have always loved books, I started reading novels when I was in primary school or so (I started with Harry Potter, I had the whole collection then) and you know… making up stories and all. Back then in secondary school I could just stay and start telling my cousins stories from my head and they would always clamour for more. So after secondary school I wrote my first book which I actually plan on publishing later after I have dusted it.                        

A lot of young writers have this challenge of finding publishers willing to take up their work. How was the experience for you? Was it different?                        

I self-published actually. I did not want a situation where my work wouldn’t look like my work when it was published.                        

Haha did you self-finance the whole project too? 😃                        

Well… I had family support. Family is awesome.                        

Let me give a special shout out to your family. Mom, Dad, Siblings, Uncles, Aunties, etc. Thank you for supporting Joanne.                        

Yes ooo…                        

Hahaha you have just reminded me that you’re a Nigerian studying in Ghana. The “ooo” says it all.😃                        

Yes oo. [I] am Nigerian.                        

Is there a possibility that you could “abandon” our noble profession of pharmacy to become a full time novelist?                        

Haha. Never! I don’t think it can ever happen. Writing is something I love doing no doubt. It’s my hobby. So I guess it would be part time.                        

Thank God! 😀                        

Lool                        

Are there author(s) you look up to?                        

Yes actually. Ermm… Chimamanda Adichie, Myne Whitman (she inspired me to self-publish, she is also a self-published Nigerian author), Nora Roberts (I have always loved her writing style), Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel. I love their writing style.                        

Great. Looking at the future of African literature, how do you think it will be?                       

I actually think African literature is evolving. We have great writers, even those that are upcoming. I mean it’s raw talent. Before you know what, we will be everywhere. I just think it’s a matter of time. It’s also up to us, we writers to step out of our comfort zones and you know spread our wings, let’s not be limited to just Africa.                        

Any fun facts about you that your readers (fans) should know?                        

Well, people won’t understand, but I love Korean series. 🙈🙊                        

😃                        

What are your parting words?

I would like to say that for individuals who have it in them to write  I believe you can use any resource at your disposal. I for one I feel a lot more comfortable writing on my phone.

I just hope that my readers would be able to connect with my book, on a high level I guess. That’s the whole point, you write so that someone out there would relate with what you’ve written and in that way you know that you are actually touching lives.

Thanks Joanne for talking to us. Congratulations on your first book, a first to many more. I will buy my copy when I travel to Ghana in July for AfPS.                        

You are welcome. It was great talking with you.😊

Editor’s note: You can buy the book from Joanne’s website; www.joannemuoh.com. You can also get the book from online bookstores such Amazaon, Barnes &Noble, Foyles and Indigo.    

rmpo@afro.ipsf.org                  

       

The fives things I talked about in an IPSF Leaders-in-Training workshop in Uganda

By Kennedy Odokonyero

Last month, I was privileged to speak to pharmacy students in Uganda on the invitation of Uganda Pharmaceutical Students Association (UPSA). UPSA had organised an IPSF Leaders-in-Training (LIT) workshop, the first of its kind in Uganda. According to the IPSF LIT guidelines, the training aims to develop a quality and sustainable leadership programme for pharmacy and pharmaceutical students and recent graduates worldwide. It provides  students with leadership, management and advocacy skills.

The purpose of my talk was to inspire the students to take on leadership positions. When Mr. Anyase Ronald Amaza, the outgoing President of Makerere University Pharmacy Students Association (my alma mater), asked me to give the talk, my first thought was that I have really grown that old! Well, it’s mostly old people who are invited to inspire the young generation.


My talk centred on the lessons I have learned and continue to learn in my leadership journey. It’s fair to say I have grown some grey hair of wisdom when it comes especially to leadership in student lead organisations. A look at my LinkedIn profile says it all.

In this article, I will share with you the five lessons I highlighted in my presentation:

  1. Leadership is inevitable in life. The sooner you realise that, the better. You can’t run away from leadership. At some point, you’ll have to become a leader by default; be it at home, workplace or your community. The time is therefore now to take up any leadership opportunity that knocks on your door. It’ll give the experience to be the great leader you have to be when the time comes for you to become a leader by “force.”
  2. Take up leadership roles in things that you’re passionate about, because you’ll enjoy doing it. I am passionate about media. Most of my leadership positions has been in media. IPSF for example has more than 80 positions, you’ll surely find something that you like.
  3. Self-motivation is important to keep you going. There’ll be hard and challenging times. Times when you’d wish to throw in the towel. I vividly remember when I was the Finance Secretary of Makerere University College of Health Sciences Students Association, we were left with three days until  the College Dinner, but only about 20% of our budget was covered. There was no one to look up to because everyone on the team was just totally stressed. Self-motivation will come in handy in such scenarios. It helped me in chasing after sponsors. I didn’t want the books of history to say that our team failed to organise the dinner.
  4. Once you take up a position, be serious, don’t just ‘pass time.’ I work with a lot of student leaders from across the globe. A few don’t take their work seriously. A whole one month deadline for accomplishing a simple task passes without them meeting it. As Mitchelle Masuko, the 62nd IPSF World Congress Chairperson told me in an interview in March, “In all you do, strive to go beyond expectations.” What kind of impact are you leaving behind? What will people you lead say about you when your term of office ends? After you leave, will get invited back to deliver a talk?
  5. Learn, learn and learn about leadership because that’s the only way of becoming better in the craft. I found myself struggling a lot of times. I realised I couldn’t do it all by myself. I needed to learn leadership styles, communication, team motivation, ethics, etc. I successfully applied for a leadership training programme. It has helped me a lot. There’re lots of leadership courses online, sign up for them. Many leadership academies for young people are out there , please apply for them.

 


Mr. Kennedy is the Regional Media and Publications Officer of the IPSF African Regional Office. rmpo@afro.ipsf.org Twitter: @OdoKent

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

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself, find out who you are and do it on purpose”- Mitchelle Masuko, 62nd IPSF World Congress Chairperson

She is one of the most iconic women in IPSF African Regional Office. She broke many barriers while in the federation. She’s one of the brains that brought back IPSF World Congress to Africa after more than 20 years. She is a leader. She is Mitchelle Masuko. Our Regional Media and Publications Officer, Kennedy Odokonyero had a chat with her on gender, career and IPSF experience. Here is the excerpt.

Have you retired from IPSF officially or do you still hold any position?                        
[I am] not retired. I am an alumni and ZPSA (Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Students Association) advisor.                        

For how long have been involved/active in the federation?                        
Since 2012.                       

Wow! You’re a grandmother! 😜😜                        
😂😂😆 There are some who date further back than me.                    

Your IPSF CV must be pages long. What were some of the positions that you held?
ZPSA Vice President 2012, IPSF contact person 2013, AfPS (African Pharmaceutical Symposium) Reception Committee Chairperson 2014 and 62nd IPSF World Congress Chairperson 2015-2016.

2nd IPSF AfPS, Tanzania , 2013.

Looking back, what is your most memorable moment in your journey in IPSF?                     
I would say the 62nd World Congress. This was a really stressful, but amazing time for me. Many important lessons learnt both professionally and on a personal level.

62nd IPSF World Congress, Zimbabwe, 2016.

Still thinking of the next question. 😀 I want to ask you something on gender. Trying to figure out how to put it. Got something! Do you have interest in gender issues and women empowerment?                        
I do have an interest in women empowerment. Being the first born in a family of 3 girls, l grew up being taught how to be independent and work towards achieving my goals. Education and empowerment are the most important things you can give a woman and success is guaranteed. I believe in woman empowerment as this will ultimately lead to success of a community and a nation as a whole. As for gender issues, I am all for gender equality, making people realize that men and women were created in the same light and therefore are equal and can achieve the same goals if given equal opportunities. I also believe that gender equality is not about which is the fairer or the most important gender but it is about sharing responsibilities equally, supporting each other- men and women treating each other with respect and building nations together.                        

Wow! That’s really inspiring. I will make sure my little sister reads it.                        
Do you think organizations such as IPSF are giving women the space to occupy top leadership positions?                        
Oh yes! Looking back from the time l have been involved with IPSF, women have held various top positions from President, Regional Chairpersons, Coordinators and others. In IPSF, it’s not about gender, it’s about electing a person with capabilities.                        

What advice would you give to a girl who wants to walk a path similar to yours in IPSF?
Making a difference is not rocket science. All you need to do is be involved, be available and be committed to being a part of the progress.     

61st IPSF World Congress, India, 2015.

What are you currently doing? I mean as a pharmacist.                        
At the moment, l am working as a community pharmacist and l am a Masters in Health Service Management candidate.

10 or 5 years from now, where do you see yourself?                        
In 5 years, l see myself involved in capacity building in resource limited settings and overtime be a driving force of global health change                        

Any last words?                        
To all the ladies in IPSF, as we celebrate women’s month remember this, beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself, find out who you are and do it on purpose. In all you do strive to go beyond expectations.                        

Thank you very much Mitchelle for sharing your story.                        
Most welcome. This was fun lol.                       

😃

61st IPSF World Congress, India, 2015.

rmpo@afro.ipsf.org    

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.      

Studying pharmacy is the best decision I ever made- Meet Aniekan Ekpenyong, FIP YPG Professional Innovation Grant Winner 2016

On October 27th 2016 social media was awash with news that Nigeria’s pharmacist and former IPSF AfRO Secretary, Mr. Aniekan Ekpenyong had won International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Young Pharmacists Group (YPG) Professional Innovation Grant. IPSF AfRO Regional Media and Publications Officer, Kennedy Odokonyero had a chat with him about the research idea that made him win and much more. Here is the excerpt of the interview.

I believe a lot of people out there who were congratulating you on winning the grant don’t know about the research that made you win. So, let us start with your research idea that allowed you to emerge as the best. Can you share more details on it?  

Well, the aim of the project is to analyse the gaps in numbers, distribution and specialities and recommend a 5-10 year plan/policy in preventing a human resource crisis in pharmacy. The research will generate evidence based recommendations to solve the challenge, thereby improving access to medicines, responsible use of medicines and overall health outcomes for the patients/society. This work will generate data and basis for a scale up project on a sub-regional and regional basis, giving evidence for interventions and evaluating short and long term interventions. Results of this research will be the evidence for poor health outcomes in areas of low human resources, advocacy to stakeholders and improved investment in pharmacy education, thus promoting the indispensable essence of the profession and pharmacy professionals within the health sector.

Were you confident that you would win?

Hahaha that’s a tough one. Well, I had given up! The grant was supposed to be announced during the FIP conference in Argentina, but it wasn’t.    

How did you feel after you got the news that you won?        

Stunned! For the whole day, I wasn’t myself. In fact, I lost my appetite to eat. I was just surprised. Everything just came so fast, especially my timeline being flooded with good wishes.   Actually, I hadn’t seen the email. I was called at about 7am and told that I won the grant. Man, waking up to such awesome news? I had to calm myself down and make sense of what happened.

I understand the feeling.

Haha. I bet you do.

On a personal level, what does winning the grant mean to you?   

A deep sense of responsibility especially considering my project topic, and gratitude to God for being chosen.

I didn’t go to a journalism school but you can see my interview skills are on point.😀

Man, it really is!

Lastly, tell me about something readers of this interview don’t know about you. Your family, current work and future aspirations?       

I am the first of two born to amazing parents. I am 23 years old. Studying pharmacy was a personal choice. My parents wanted me to study medicine. I never loved the concept of a hospital. I decided to opt for pharmacy and I think that’s the best decision I have ever made. I graduated in July of this year and that’s when I was inducted to become a pharmacist. I was among the best five or ten students in my class. I currently work as local pharmacist i.e. a part time pharmacist. I am waiting for my internship that will start sometime soon.

My future inspiration is to pursue a master’s degree in global health on issues that are most relevant to pharmacy. I have also discovered a passion in supply chain and health logistics. Basically, I would love to help Africa discover herself in any way I can.

Aniekan during his graduation. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

You can listen to Aniekan’s love story with pharmacy and IPSF here.

About YPG Grant for Professional Innovation

According to FIP’s website, YPG aims to support young pharmacist members from around the globe who have limited resources for professional organization involvement or their own research. The YPG Grant for professional innovation consists of € 1000 for the implementation of a project by a young pharmacist/pharmaceutical scientist. Projects can stem from any field of pharmacy (pharmacy practice, pharmaceutical science and/or pharmacy education) but should directly or indirectly benefit or improve health of communities and demonstrate the added-value of pharmacy on health. Pending the acceptance of a project report, the Grant recipient may additionally be awarded a complimentary  registration, a return APEX airfare and hotel accommodation. Did you know that the 2017 application is open? Visit http://fip.org/young_pharmacists_group for more details.  

NAVIGATING THE PHARMACY PROFESSION: THE BEST SPECIALTIES THAT CAN IMPROVE PHARMACY PRACTICE IN AFRICA

By Johnson Wanjohi, Adeyemi Sylvester, Beingana Geofrey and Hirwa Brice

This article is aims at exploring various specialties of pharmacy and suggesting best practices that can improve pharmaceutical services in Africa.

Right from the days of apothecaries to our present time, the pharmacy profession has been humankind’s solution to pain and agony of sicknesses and diseases. A pharmacist is an expert on drug therapy and is best in optimizing the use of medications with the aim of improving patient outcome. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and World Health Organization (WHO) developed the concept of “The seven-star pharmacist,” which stated that a well-rounded pharmacist should be a compassionate caregiver, decision maker, effective communicator, lifelong learner and a good manager. The pharmacist should also possess good leadership qualities and the ability to be a teacher and researcher. These diverse skills explain the reason why there are many specialties in pharmacy practice today.

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Healthcare remains one of the biggest challenges in Africa. Access to healthcare has been on the rise in the recent past in Africa, and this increase in the provision of health services is attributed to the efforts of various countries in solving the problem. Pharmacists play an essential role in the delivery of healthcare in Africa and are considered to be on the frontline in the provision of healthcare. The role of pharmacists has evolved in most parts of the world, but the rate in Africa has been slow compared to rest of the world. The role of pharmacists in Africa has remained traditional mostly in dispensing and selling of drugs.  Specialization can enhance the rate of improving pharmacy practice in various fields in pharmacy that would have great impact.

The common specialties in this field in Africa mostly encompass clinical pharmacy. The practice of clinical pharmacy exhibits challenges brought up by the absence of most pharmacists in community pharmacy where pharmacy assistants who are less skilled than the pharmacists are left to run the pharmacies. The unequal distribution of pharmacies in rural regions is also a challenge that faces clinical pharmacy practice in the region. A study done by Marie Kassie (2016), suggest there is an increase of pharmaceutical industries in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Kenya, and Ghana but a subtle number of companies offer innovative research and drug discovery.

One of the specialties that could help improve healthcare provision in the region is critical care pharmacy. In this field of study, the pharmacist acquires training on evaluating clinical information and provides pharmacologic and technologic intervention in critically ill patients. The pharmacist is also able to provide guidance in decision making where patients in very critical condition exhibit different pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics of non-critically ill patients. The critical care pharmacist can be a valuable addition to healthcare delivery owing to the fact that Africa lacks a sufficient number of such personnel.

 In addition, pharmacists can also play a key role as public health personnel where they can contribute to health education, promotion, prevention and also health policies in a local, international and global context by making effective use of their pharmaceutical care and analytical skills.

Oncology pharmacy is another specialty that would have a great impact in catapulting healthcare provision in the region. Cancer is now one the leading causes of death in Africa. One of the challenges experienced in the region is the lack of diagnosis and insufficient centers to provide treatment to the overwhelming number of cancer patients. An oncology pharmacist is equipped with immense knowledge in pharmacotherapeutic interventions that would help improve the outcomes in cancer patients. The oncology pharmacist is also able to provide guidance on how to manage intricacy and adverse effects of drug therapy in the management of cancer.

Industrial pharmacy is also a specialty that presents a huge need for personnel in Africa. An industrial pharmacist specializes in all manufacturing, marketing, and distribution processes of drugs. The pharmacist can employ the use of new processes and technology in the production of medicines. In addition to performing quality assurance of all manufacturing activities, the industrial pharmacist can also be involved in pharmacovigilance, waste management, and supply management. The specialty may include gaining knowledge in different fields such as engineering and economics.  

There are also various programs that offer specialization within the pharmaceutical industry where pharmacists gain knowledge on cutting edge research and innovation in drug discovery, development and regulation. Some of the specializations include pharmacogenomics, drug discovery and development, pharmaceutical modeling science, and regulatory science. The pharmacist is involved in pre-clinical and clinical studies that are essential for the creation of new drugs as well as improvement of existing medication. Africa exhibits untapped possibilities in drug discovery owing to a large number of undocumented, unregulated, and insufficient studies on traditional medicine. The specialty would help immediate research and innovation in drug discovery and development in the African continent.

Another key area is regulatory pharmacy, where pharmacists are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with ethics of pharmacy practice, standard pharmacy education, standard requirements for good manufacturing practice, and treatment guidelines.  There is also the need to support regulation through government policies to ensure that compliance is observed to safeguard all activities in the delivery of pharmaceutical services. Such policies are recommended and enforced by regulatory bodies in each country .

The present generation of pharmacists in Africa should consider the specialties mentioned above which would contribute in spearheading improvement of healthcare delivery in the region. Learning institutions should also take steps in introducing these specialties with the aim of providing current knowledge and training needed to solve the problems as well as fill the gaps in healthcare. An old African adage that states: “Learn from the person who knows the way.”  It is, therefore, expedient for us to make necessary adjustments to our curriculum and also collaborate with the developed countries where these specialties are being practiced in order to create opportunities for learning and paradigm shift.

The writers are members of Regional Projects Subcommittee of IPSF African Regional Office.

rpo@afro.ipsf.org

References

  1. bps. (n.d.). Board of Pharmacy specialties. Retrieved from http://www.bpsweb.org/
  2. Jamison, D. T., Makgoba, M. W., & Feachem, R. G. (2006). Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
  3. Kassi, M. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.pharmacy.ohio-state.edu/sites/default/files/forms/outreach/intro2pharm/global-practices/Pharmacy-in-Africa_Kassi.pdf