A number of low resource countries are facing a severe and prolonged shortage of health workers, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector where pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, and technicians are becoming especially scarce. With treatment programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS and TB, expanding in many countries, more pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are required to provide effective services. Additionally, overstretched pharmacists and other healthcare workers are often unable to provide effective patient-centered pharmaceutical care which recognized as a critical opportunity to prevent drug resistance, reduce irrational medicines use, eliminate wasteful spending, and most importantly, improve patient health outcomes.
Supporting Pre- and In-Service Training Programs to Expand and Strengthen the Pharmaceutical Workforce
Building Local Capacity for Clinical Pharmacy Service in Ethiopia through a Holistic In-Service Training Approach
Recognizing the need for patient-focused services and the competency gap in the curriculum, schools of pharmacy in Ethiopia revised their curricula in 2008 to focus more on the patient. In addition, recognizing the potential benefits of introducing clinical pharmacy to the patients and the health sector, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has included clinical pharmacy services in the pharmacy chapter of the Ethiopian Hospital Reform Implementation Guidelines (EHRIG) as one of the key services to be provided by hospitals. The pharmacy chapter of the guideline has been implemented in all public hospitals since 2010. The document has explicitly indicated that pharmacists need to contribute to the safe, effective, and economic use of medicines so as to maximize treatment outcomes.
However, introducing clinical pharmacy services in Ethiopia requires pharmacists who are well trained in patient-focused services. That need proved to be a huge challenge in implementing the standards in the EHRIG because all pharmacists in the country were trained using the old product-focused curriculum. As a short-term solution to assist the Government of Ethiopia in commencing clinical pharmacy service at hospitals, SIAPS (and its predecessor program Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems [SPS]) initiated an in-service training program aimed at building the clinical knowledge and skills of practicing hospital pharmacists. The training program proved to be a successful initiative that has attracted much interest and has brought together universities, the Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency (PFSA) and SIAPS for a new national objective: the initiation of clinical pharmacy service in Ethiopian hospitals, which is the first of its kind in the country.
Information contained in this report was delivered as a poster presentation at the 2015 American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy in San Francisco, California. Citation as follows:
Chanie T. Mekonnen N. Yiegezu Y. Tadeg H. An innovative in-service training course on clinical pharmacy for hospital pharmacists in Ethiopia. Poster presentation at the 2015 American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy, San Francisco, CA. October 19, 2015.
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