The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has urged the Ministry of Health, the Pharmacy Council, and the Authorities of the Universities with Schools of Pharmacy to address the high intake of pharmacy students and its attendant challenges.
It said while the number of pharmacists trained per year has escalated significantly in the last few years due to the high intake of students admitted by the schools of pharmacy, many challenges were leading to poor experiential training.
“Considering the hands-on nature of pharmacy training, a number of concerns arise including inadequate infrastructure and faculty members, a limited number of, and lack of remuneration for preceptors leading to poor experiential training,” the PSGH said in a communique issued after the 2022 Annual General Meeting.
The members of PSGH held their Annual General Meeting in Tamale in the Northern region under the theme: “Optimizing the Pharmaceutical Workforce in a Rapidly Evolving World”.
The objective of the AGM was to explore the opportunities for enhanced skills and avenues for pharmacists to improve regulation, maximize industrial capacity and optimize health outcomes given technological advancements, global and local economic constraints, and emerging and re-emerging diseases.
The communique also noted that the training of PharmD graduates was oriented toward clinical practice to the neglect of other equally important areas of practice.
The AGM calls on the Schools of Pharmacy to consider reviewing the PharmD curricula to accommodate other areas of concentration
The AGM noted that a knowledgeable, skillful, innovative, and motivated pharmaceutical workforce is imperative for positioning the country as a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in the West African sub-region and to ensure high quality of care for Ghanaians.
In the current global scheme of things, innovation is necessarily how health systems would be sustained. Deliberate strategies must be formulated and implemented to see this through. In this respect, the following were agreed on:
More pharmacists must be trained and supported to take up specialist roles in industrial pharmacy, public health, and clinical practice.
The AGM, therefore, calls on the Ministry of Health to increase its financial and technical support for the Ghana College of Pharmacists to enable it to roll out advanced courses pertinent to readying pharmacists for the varied roles required for pharmacy practice in Ghana and to handle the existing challenges of the health system and those in the foreseeable future.
While the government considers incentives to encourage pharmacists to accept postings to deprived communities in the country, the conditions of service of public sector pharmacists must be fully implemented with the urgency it deserves, it said.
It noted that Pharmacists trained to vaccinate were currently limited to giving COVID-19 vaccines and called for the expansion of the scope to include other routine vaccines such as vaccines on the EPI programme.
The AGM acknowledged the need for advanced scope of community pharmacy practice in Ghana, including medication therapy management, patient-focused, immunization, and first aid services, in addition to dispensing and adherence counselling.
To facilitate these, the Pharmacy Council-approved standard operating procedures guidelines for use in community pharmacies, which were accepted by the AGM, will serve to improve efficiency and reduce errors to the barest minimum. These are painstaking efforts to improve the services of pharmacists in the community.
The AGM recognizes that opportunities for job placement for pharmacists are currently hampered by the limited reach of regulation of OTCMS, community pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics.
The AGM, therefore, agrees that the skills of pharmacists in deprived districts must be leveraged to optimize the responsible use of medicines through supervisory responsibilities over the Over-The-Counter Medicines Sellers (OTCMS).
“We pledge our support and willingness to collaborate with the regulator to ensure good and optimal pharmacy practice in Ghana,” it added.