Commonwealth Pharmacists Travel Fellowship Award Report by 2013 Winner Victoria Aboagye from Ghana

Commonwealth Pharmacists Travel Fellowship Award Report by 2013 Winner Victoria Aboagye from Ghana

Introduction

The key objective of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association is to aid in the professional capacity building of its members to benefit the societies they serve whilst engaging with government and other relevant organisations. It does this through several of its educational activities and programmes such as the CPA travel fellowship award for which I am honoured to have won.

On the 1st of September 2014, I embarked on a journey from Accra to the UK in honour of the Commonwealth Pharmacist travel fellowship award. Upon arrival I was met by Ms Tatiana Hardy, the administrator of the association who made my stay a comfortable and an enjoyable one.

Visit to MHRA

  • The following day I met with Duff Howard, Neal Patel and Patrick Stubbs who are the Director, Head of Corporate Communications and Director of Marketing and Membership respectively of RPS-England. During our interaction they talked about how the Society has worked at raising the image of pharmacists in the UK. They acknowledged this is a global challenge however, RPS has made great strides in lifting up the image of pharmacists by being patient centred and looking out for the interest of the patient instead of fighting for more pay and recognition among health professionals. I realised what we as pharmacists should be doing back

  • home; we need to be concentrating on building ourselves to meet the needs of patients. Until we sell ourselves right nobody we give us the recognition we deserve. More than ever society is looking up to pharmacists to take up their roles at the forefront of healthcare.

    Later that day I met with Dr Norman Morrow, the CPA Strategic Development Officer who I found to be very inspirational. He made me realise how I must thoughtfully translate the new experience and exposure I was having into changing things back home. I realised that transformation starts with me.

Visit to RPS/CPA

The following day I met with Duff Howard, Neal Patel and Patrick Stubbs who are the Director, Head of Corporate Communications and Director of Marketing and Membership respectively of RPS-England.

During our interaction they talked about how the Society has worked at raising the image of pharmacists in the UK. They acknowledged this is a global challenge however, RPS has made great strides in lifting up the image of pharmacists by being patient centred and looking out for the interest of the patient instead of fighting for more pay and recognition among health professionals. I realised what we as pharmacists should be doing back home; we need to be concentrating on building ourselves to meet the needs of patients. Until we sell ourselves right nobody we give us the recognition we deserve. More than ever society is looking up to pharmacists to take up their roles at the forefront of healthcare.

Later that day I met with Dr Norman Morrow, the CPA Strategic Development Officer who I found to be very inspirational. He made me realise how I must thoughtfully translate the new experience and exposure I was having into changing things back home. I realised that transformation starts with me.

Visit to GSK

My visit to GSK at Harlow on the 5th of September was one exciting trip, not only did I learn a thing or two from there but they also benefited from my presentation. After I had been taken round to see their laboratories and production sites I delivered a presentation on the use and Design of Paediatric Medicines in Ghana. I highlighted on some of the socio-cultural factors to consider when formulating medicines for the paediatric population in Ghana.

Conference

From the 7th to the 8th of September I participated in the RPS conference. I had the opportunity to sit in various presentations by different practice groups.

Almost all of the presentations were research carried out in practice, thus making them very practical and relevant. I hope to encourage colleagues back home to research into challenges/issues they encounter at their work places. During the conference I spent time interacting with some of the participants who shared some of their experiences and challenges at work. I was fortunate to talk to Mr Raymond Anderson the president of CPA who constantly reminded me that change can be effected at the national level if I could speak to some of our society’s representatives who could then forward it to policy makers; pharmacists must make themselves visible to be heard especially in politics.

Another thing I look forward to changing is to get another pharmacist to work with me. As I interacted with colleague pharmacists in the UK, I realised that there is quite a good representation of pharmacists at every health facility. In Ghana, though gradually the number of registered pharmacist is steadily increasing not many are being employed especially into health centres. Most private health facilities have only one pharmacist or none at all.

Beginning of change

  • Upon returning home I am trying to let my Director see the need for another pharmacist to help meet the needs of patients. Currently I have a technician (now an intern pharmacist) who is doing his pre-registration and working with me.

  • This is the beginning though, I hope that gradually the need to have more pharmacists enlisted in hospitals, pharmacies and other areas of practice to help achieve the best therapeutic outcomes for patients, would be realised.

Conclusion

Conclusion

This award has afforded me the opportunity to draw on the experiences of many distinguished pharmacists in the UK. I believe CPA spearheading a great course by encouraging young pharmacists to carve a niche for themselves in their career path and it is my hope to introduce my colleagues back home to CPA. I am most grateful to the executives of CPA for this awesome experience and exposure.