The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) and the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) have joined forces to encourage pharmacists to share their skills in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The two bodies are especially keen to engage with pharmacists interested in short-term overseas placements working in multidisciplinary healthcare teams, created as a result of THET’s health partnerships scheme that links up UK health institutions and their counterparts in LMICs.
Pharmacists wishing to find out more about these opportunities are invited to attend the third day of THET’s 2017 annual conference, which takes place in London between 23 and 25 October 2017. Through a series of structured workshops delegates will learn how to get involved in THET’s health partnerships. Representatives from the CPA will be present throughout the day to gauge the level of interest from the pharmaceutical profession, and to begin the process of establishing a group of interested pharmacists.
“The CPA has worked extensively with THET over the last year, and they are keen to get pharmacists involved,” said Victoria Rutter, executive director of the CPA. “A lot of health partnerships currently have no pharmacists on the team, and THET wants to change that. This is fantastic news for pharmacists: together with the WHO identifying ‘medication without harm’ as their third global patient safety challenge, it shows that medication safety is high on the agenda and we are in a strong position to increase our global recognition as medicines experts, who are an essential part of a health partnership team.”
THET health partnerships aim to increase the skills and capacity of health workers in LMICs. A pharmacist on a health partnership team may find themselves training local healthcare workers on medicines safety and best use of medicines, and currently there is a particular focus on the area of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). “Within the Commonwealth, the UK is viewed as something of a gold standard in AMS”, said Rutter. “I hope that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society will work with us to spread AMS best practise in LMICs by helping us to support the training and upskilling of local pharmacists”.
The benefits go both ways, though, Rutter adds. “Pharmacists in LMICs often have expertise in making good use of limited medicines resources when being faced with treating multi drug resistant infections. In light of diminishing antibiotic capacity in the West, that is something we can all learn from”.
To sign up for the THET conference, visit https://www.thetconference.org/.