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Master of Pharmaceutical Public Health Workshop in Zambia
James Cook University (JCU) Pharmacy academics travelled to Lusaka, Zambia in September to facilitate an intensive five day project writing workshop for Master of Pharmaceutical Public Health (MPharmPH) students.
Fourteen pharmacists in senior positions with the Zambia Ministry of Health and Medical Stores Limited participated, as a component of completing a research project for their degree. The workshop culminated in the student presentations of their project and results.
Topics for student projects revolved around areas of primary importance for the health system in Zambia, including adverse drug reaction reporting, drug use evaluations of antimicrobials and antimalarials, community pharmacy involvement in antibiotic and emergency contraceptive use, and affordability and availability of medications for malaria and diabetes. Once finalised, results of the projects will be made available to the Ministry of Health, as well as participating health services and clinics.
The workshop was also an opportunity for the students and JCU pharmacists to celebrate World Pharmacists’ Day (WPD) together on September 25. The theme of WPD2017, “From research to healthcare”, was particularly relevant, as students endeavoured throughout the workshop to refine their academic writing skills.
The involvement of Zambian pharmacists in the JCU MPharmPH degree has been possible through sponsorship by the European Union under the Health System Strengthening Programme, with the goal of increasing the rational use of medicines in Zambia. Progress towards this goal looks promising, as student projects have collected and analysed data on medication use not previously available in Zambia. Several students have also indicated their aspirations for publication and further study.
Workshop facilitators (Assoc Prof Ian Heslop, Prof Beverley Glass and Robin Warren) are looking forward to students submitting theses and graduating from the program early next year.