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AstraZeneca and PSK Unveil Initiative for Pharmacists in Kenya

AstraZeneca and PSK Unveil Initiative for Pharmacists in Kenya

AstraZeneca and PSK Unveil Initiative for Pharmacists in Kenya

The initiative will provide pharmacists with the latest knowledge in medical
science to enable them to determine the best treatment intervention for
patients and when to refer to a physician

Nairobi, July, 2018: AstraZeneca and the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya
(PSK) have partnered to implement the ‘AstraZeneca Pharmacy Academy’, a
continuous professional development initiative for pharmacists in Kenya.

The initiative will see pharmacists in the country trained on a wide
spectrum of areas and equipped with up-to-date skills in pharmacological
practice, including cutting edge knowledge on novel therapies and patient
care techniques.

The training is aimed at linking the existing gap between pharmacists and
healthcare in order to strengthen access to quality healthcare for patients.
Being the first point of call for most Kenyans especially in the rural
areas, pharmacists play a key role in the healthcare system.

Recent data indicates that Africa accounts for 13% of the world’s
population, 24% of the world’s disease and yet only 3% of the world’s
healthcare workforce. This disproportionate relationship between the burden
of diseases and the human capabilities available is one of the key reasons
why pharmacists play a critical role in optimizing medication use, health
education and patient counseling within communities.

The AstraZeneca Pharmacy Academy aims to equip this cadre to play this role
more effectively, by improving their professional knowledge, and in doing so
contribute to the Kenyan governments goal of providing Universal Health
Coverage for its citizens.

The Academy strives to leverage various platforms, including face to face
seminars and training, direct site visits, and online learning platforms
such as AZ Engage which avails content through interactive and practical
workshops featuring leading Medical Experts and practitioners.

Speaking during the initiatives inaugural event, Ijeoma Opene, the Route to
Market Director for Sub Saharan Africa in AstraZeneca said that it is
important to provide pharmacists with the latest knowledge in medical
science as this enables them to determine the best treatment intervention
for patients and when to refer to a physician “Our key objective is to
significantly increase the knowledge of pharmacists in Kenya and across Sub
Saharan Africa. We want to focus on increasing knowledge by bringing the
latest scientific learnings and scientific inventions and making it
available to Pharmacists.” He further added that more informed pharmacists
will ensure better delivery of healthcare to patients.

The importance of the pharmacist in primary care was also echoed by Michael
Mung’oma, a pharmacist and member of the National Executive Council in PSK.
Michael noted that Kenya has many retail pharmacists and that many people
seek medication and information from them before seeking help from hospitals
or clinics, which makes it important for pharmacists to get continuous

“Continuous Professional Development is a commitment by the pharmacist to
empower themselves and to continue developing themselves through knowledge
and skills.” He added that the partnership between PSK and AstraZeneca will
see, once finalized, the implementation of a CBD programme which will
benefit all the pharmacists in Kenya. “It is something that is built on best
practices and is something that is going to build skills and knowledge and
is very practical,” he said.

In his keynote presentation on Ethics, Dr. Ngugi who chairs the Ethics
Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya highlighted that, as
members of a profession that has a critical role to play in the provision of
quality healthcare, pharmacists ought to be guided by the higher calling of
saving and improving the lives of patients. This is to serve as the Key
ethical consideration underpinning the practice of pharmacy. In this regard,
the government, the public and the private sector need to join hands and
rededicate themselves to doing the very best for patients.

“Pharmacists are incredibly important to the healthcare system because they
act as an interface between doctors and patients by educating the patient on
the various medicines and drugs techniques. Therefore, continuous
professional development for pharmacists has got to be absolutely essential
due to the nature of this role of providing clinical information to
patients,” said Prof. Tim Harrison, Professor of Asthma and Respiratory
Medicine in Nottingham University, UK. He further highlighted that the three
key best practices that pharmacists in Africa should borrow from the
developed world should be; disease and symptoms education, proper medicine
administration techniques and discussions about the importance of using the
right treatment for the patients. He made a keynote presentation on optimal
approaches for treating Asthma from a pharmacist’s point of view.

Pharmacists were urged to play their role in the realization of universal
health coverage in Kenya by being quality information sources to patients.
Pharmacists as healthcare providers are charged with not only dispensing
medicine, but also providing crucial information to patients about their
illness, their medication, and the signs to look for of a positive response
to the dispensed medication. The AstraZeneca Pharmacy Academy will make use
of findings from research and innovation from companies like AstraZeneca to
impact new and up to date knowledge on pharmacists. “AstraZeneca’s
commitment is to ensure that we provide the platform to raise the bar in how
we empower pharmacists as a first point of contact with patients. We want to
drive science to the pharmacist to ensure that they understand the disease
area more thoroughly and can direct the patient in better behavior change,”
said Dr. Sylvia Vito, Regional Director East Africa Cluster in AstraZeneca.

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