West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists admits news fellows

A cross-section of participants
A cross-section of participants

The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), an agency of the West African Health Organisation, has admitted 189 new fellows at its 32nd and 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra.

The new fellows, were composed of 110 for the year 2019 batch and 79 for the year 2020 batch, from Anglophone West African Countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

WAPCP is a professional college commissioned through an ECOWAS Protocol (A/P2/7/87) to advance the knowledge and skills of practicing pharmacists and also to assist in the harmonisation of pharmacy practice and regulation within the sub-region.

WAPCP was supposed to have hosted the 32nd AGM for the College in 2020 but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 32nd and 33rd AGM, and Symposium, and 62nd and 63rd Council Meeting, on the theme, “Universal Health Coverage: The Role of Digital and Collaborative Services,” was the first time the College added an online aspect to the AGM.

Mr Daniel Marfo, Country Lead, Zipline International/Co-founder, Rx Health Info Systems, who delivered the keynote address said there was no doubt that most countries, if not all, now had policies in place to respond to the issues of inequalities in the provision of essentially healthcare to their citizenries.

He said whereas the efforts were very much commendable, there still remained a lot to be done; saying the core of universal health coverage was exploring high-end innovative processes into operations at all levels.

Mr Marfo cited the innovative way of delivering medical commodities via drones.

He recalled the uproar that greeted the introduction of aerial logistics or drones into the health supply chain of Ghana.

“I reckon that if we do not adequately understand the need for innovation and digitization of our healthcare system, we might think that the use of drones to deliver essential medical components to the hard-to-reach areas of our country is impossible,” he said.

“Today, we are able to deliver emergency medical commodities, for example, from the town of Suhum to Ekye in the Afram Plains; one of the hardest to reach places in Ghana in less than 40 minutes. A journey that could take over four hours by road, what does this mean? It means that in an emergency for example, a doctor should not, as first measure, refer a patient solely as a result of the non-availability of a particular medication.”

Mr Marfo said currently, aerial logistics via drones supported the Ministry of Health in delivering all the programme vaccines to the hard-to-reach areas within their operational areas.

He said it was imperative that the nation built a very sustainable digital capacity in the entire journey of changing the face of healthcare.

He noted that when done appropriately, it would eliminate silos of information kept at different places to facilitate a complete picture of patient health needs.

“I am looking forward to a day in Africa, when one could attend a different hospital and still have access to all his/her medical history just by a click of a button.”

He said one of the many ways of improving universal health coverage was through cutting edge digital platforms that linked patient records to all facilities so that even in emergencies; “when I am rushed to a different facility other than my primary facility, I can receive the required treatment based on my medical history.”

Mrs Markieu Janneh Kaira, President, WAPCP, said, she specially recognised the pioneering effort of the Government of Ghana in adopting and advancing pharmaceutical care in the country, such as establishing Ghana College of Pharmacists and promoting the activities of WAPCP in developing pharmaceutical manpower to improve health outcomes.

She, therefore, urged other member countries to borrow a leaf from the examples of Ghana and recently Nigeria so that quality healthcare could be brought to the doorstep of our people in the Region.

Mr Oscar Cofie Bruce, Chairman, Ghana Chapter of WAPCP, said this year was an election year and that representatives from member countries would have the opportunity to elect new officers to steer the affairs of the College for the next two years.

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