03 Sep 2008 00:00:00.000
A comprehensive and coordinated effort is needed to advance the training and education of pharmacists to deal with global demands for adequate healthcare.
Claire Anderson, a professor in social pharmacy at The University of Nottingham, will tell delegates at an international pharmaceutical congress in Basel that a ‘bottleneck’ of issues in pharmacy education is contributing to the under-utilisation of pharmacists for public health roles.
In many communities, particularly those in the poorest countries of the world, the pharmacist is the most accessible or sole provider of healthcare advice and services. Although pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel have been shown to be willing, competent and cost effective providers of public health and pharmaceutical care interventions it has been recognised internationally that this workforce is under-used.
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Professor Anderson is one of the leading figures in the Global Pharmacy Education taskforce — a joint venture between the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
In a plenary presentation on 3 September 2008 she will describe what the objectives of the Global Pharmacy Education action plan 2008-2010 are, where action needs to be taken and talk about a new seven country case study in Africa.
The taskforce is developing evidence, tools and guidance in countries with the greatest pharmacy workforce shortages: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. The case studies will explore strategies and processes of education development that are geared towards health and market needs, oriented towards the provision of services that are relevant to needs, matched to required competencies to provide services and integrated to human resource plans.
Professor Anderson said: “I am privileged to be part of the taskforce and excited at the momentum it is gathering, now we begin the hard work looking at academic infrastructure and capacity, quality and competencies with our seven African country case study partners.”
After the presence of trained health professionals, medicines are the single most critical element in the successful treatment and prevention of disease and illness. Professor Anderson says pharmacists represent the third largest healthcare professional group in the world and have the skills to help.
Acknowledging that health care needs can vary across geography and culture the FIP brought together an international group of key stakeholders in pharmacy education and global health in Brazil in 2007 and again in China in 2008, the third round table discussion will be at the Basel conference. There was unanimous agreement that pharmacy education must be quality driven and directed towards societal healthcare needs, the services required to meet those needs, the competencies necessary to provide these services and the education needed to ensure those competencies.
The FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is being held at the Congress Centre, Basel, Switzerland from Sunday 31 August 2008 and Thursday 4 September 2008.
For more information about the task force see www.fip.org/education
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Notes to Editors
: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.