Experts seek association of pharmacy faculties in Africa to enhance practice
The African Pharmaceutical Forum (APF), the 5th Regional Forum of the International Pharmaceutical Forum (FIP), has called for a quick formation of an association of faculties of pharmacy in Africa to enable practitioners practise anywhere on the continent.
The call to have a unified body among pharmacists in the region was made during the group’s 2021Regional Workshop tagged, “Technological Innovations for Pharmacy in Africa Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic”, to enable pharmacists across Africa share ideas without barriers towards the advancement of pharmacy activities in the region.
Among those present at the event were President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, who was represented by the Deputy President South, Dr. Ejiro Foyibo; APF president, Dr. Prosper Hiag; Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Dr. Elijah Mohammed and other professionals across the region.
According to a Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry from University of Benin, Cyril Usifoh, the benefit of having an African Association of Faculties of Pharmacy would be for educational partnership and enable professionals to cross fertilise ideas and share information for efficient healthcare delivery in Africa.
He said: “Setting up this association in Africa would be to help African countries deficient in workforce come up and have a harmonise curriculum, which means that what I teach in Nigeria will probably be what would be taught in Malawi and other African countries and at the end of the day our Pharmacists can actually go to any of these countries and work because there would be no deficiency in the curriculum.”
During his lecture on “Setting Up an African Association of Faculties of Pharmacy,” he stated that language barriers and cultural differences across Francophone and Anglophone countries are major challenges the Forum has in ensuring its establishment.
“We have Francophone and Portuguese speaking countries and cultural differences. But we need to move forward; we need to know the importance of helping Africa. It is a beautiful continent and if we don’t start something it may be difficult for us. But if we are able to overcome language then we should be able to talk to ourselves and see how we can get funding and other things. The French speaking is linked with France so they get most of their drugs, activities from France. But the Anglophone countries are more or less independent; they have been discussed in this room. What we are saying is that we must bring them together so that the best will be for Africa,” he said.
FIP president, Mr. Dominique Jordan, represented by President of the Community Pharmacist section of FIP, Lars-Ace Sunderland, added that competency development, early career training, continued professional development and research can be achieved by African countries.
“Partnerships with pharmacists around the world have shown the importance of taking action in solidarity and with trust. And major professional progress has actually been achieved through these associations in the areas of scientific research and educational policy transformation. So the setting up of an Africa wide association of schools of pharmacists is a substantial way to achieve a collaborative effort of strengthening the pharmaceutical workforce in the African region,” he said.
APF president, Dr. Prosper Haig, has also canvass for bridging the language barrier and the use of modern technology to facilitate online pharmacy activities. He added that the initiative to come would be to boost operations among member states and to bridge.
“I am from Cameroon and we speak French. The mobile payment form and delivery supply chain is something that community pharmacists should encourage in their everyday operations so that there will be continuity,” he said.
According to the keynote speaker, a lecturer in the department of Supply Chain and Information Systems, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, Dr. John Serb Marfa, revealed that the evolvement and adaptation of technology to teaching helped in reaching out to students and practitioners across Africa while urging members to come up with ways in tackling language barriers across board.
The former president of APF, who is the chairman of the event, Sir Anthony Akhimien stressed that the contribution of pharmacy during the outbreak of COVID-19 was achieved due to technology and that professionals are ready to deliver quality healthcare to the doorsteps of every Africa
Akhimien, who was also a former President of PSN, said: “Communication and technology made the job easier as we can reach out to our patients. The era of the pandemic revealed that we can actually work from our homes and support the government and I am encouraged that FIP has pledged they are willing to support the Africa pharmaceutical Forum to develop policies and also reach out to government of various countries in realising carrying healthcare delivery to the doorstep of all Africans.”
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