Commonwealth Pharmacists Travel Fellowship Award Report by 2017 Winner Flandrie Habyarimana from Rwanda

Commonwealth Pharmacists Travel Fellowship Award Report by 2017 Winner Flandrie Habyarimana from Rwanda


The main objective of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association is to empower pharmacists to improve health and wellbeing throughout the Commonwealth. It does this through several of its educational activities and programs such as the CPA travel fellowship award for which I am honored to have won this year 2017.

Every year CPA gives an opportunity to a young pharmacist or pharmacy student to visit another commonwealth country or to attend the CPA annual conference. In 2017 was my first time attending CPA Conference. The prestigious event included symposia on topics of pharmaceutical interest, of scientific and educational nature, coaching, meetings and workshops, leadership training program and various social events among others. I had great time meeting with senior health professionals from around the world who devote a challenge for my better future improvement.

On the 24th July 2017, It was my first time to get into a flight, I was full of joy not only me but also to my lovely family, friends and relatives. I boarded on a journey from RWANDA to Australia through Amsterdam – Guangzhou – Sydney, in honor of the Commonwealth Pharmacist travel fellowship award 2017. This journey took me 32 hours to reach Sydney, upon arrival on 26th July 2017, I took a train from the Airport to my hotel booked by Ms. Tatiana, the CPA Administrative Assistant. All my credits goes to Ms. Tatiana who devoted her time and took care of me, we had been into contact through e-mail on daily basis. It was a nice hotel, secured and well equipped. It was a comfortable and enjoyable place to stay. Her support and kindness is highly appreciated so much.

27th July 2017, Attended the CPA Council Meeting held at Sydney University

This day, I got the chance to meet the leaders of the CPA and regional representatives:

– Raymond Anderson: President and Chairman of the meeting
– Victoria Rutter: Executive Director
– Roger Odd: Hon. Secretary
– Nancy Ho: Regional representative of Pacific
– Lorraine Osman: Regional representative of Eastern & Southern Africa
– John Enger: Councilor. Nigeria
– Martin Astbury: Councilor, Great Britain
– Andrew McLachlan: Councilor, Australia,
– Sakeena Hameem: Representing the Pharmaceutical Society of Sri Lanka

During this meeting, I got the opportunity to introduce myself and to talk about my current roles and what I expect to learn from PSA17. It was just my time to express my expectation from the PSA17, it was not all about enjoying the flight, to see or to touch, it was rather learning from other organizations and networking with other health professionals from Commonwealth countries and to be the agent of change in my home country. During this meeting I realized that there are too many things to do in our career.

As it was my first time to attend the CPA Council meeting, I got the opportunity to know deeply CPA and all corners of the organization, and I learned from them how I can make the Rwanda Community Pharmacists Union (RCPU) a vibrant organization like CPA. After reviewing the commonwealth countries updates and challenges of each country, we had concluded that each member organization of CPA should work closely with the regulatory bodies and the Government to enforce and strengthen the pharmacy profession. I realized that the accurate way to resolve the issues our profession working alone, it is just to build a close partnership with others.

Excellent day in my life, evening of this day was closed by a CPA Gala Dinner, during this special evening, I met with Victoria Rutter, the CPA Executive Director who I found to be very inspirational. She made me realize how I must thoughtfully translate the new experience and exposure I was having into changing things back home. I realized that there are too many things to do and the secret to achieve my goal is just to work closely with international and national bodies. I appreciate how she gave her time, listened and advised health professionals.



From 28th up to 30th of August 2017, I participated in the PSA17 conference embracing the theme: leading pharmacy innovation. Organized by PSA and CPA.

I had the opportunity to attend the Opening Ceremony and the unforgettable eye catching ceremony of handle the certificate to the CPA Fellows.

During this conference I got the chance to hear and meet face to face the seniors in our professional Dr Shane Jackson president of PSA and Raymond Anderson president CPA who inspired me. Their leadership as pharmacists, passion, humble characters, throughout, interpersonal communication and decent organization were may take home message from. I got the time to sit in various presentations. Almost all presentations were technology oriented, thus making them very practical and relevant.

Most of the sessions related to the e_Health, was my priority, and is that why through the presentation of EMM (electronic Medication Management and MedSearch) I’m doing the best to encourage my colleagues to take a lead to develop a trusted source of information in Rwanda and consumer medicines information. 

  • I have really enjoyed the presentation of Mr Odd Roger summer up the key responsibilities of pharmacists in different area such as regulation, High risk medicine, managing global security threats, policy plans, etc. If I may highlight some key points on this presentation, he reminded the participants that pharmacists should: be trained in optimizing the medicine management for patients with non-communicable diseases, be trained in Antimicrobial stewardship, in order not to compromise the safety of medicines and people’s health, be involved in policy making and regulatory processes to prevent falsified medicines.

    From the aforementioned presentation which was deeply a far reaching message to me, it prompted me to discover areas into which I ought to revamp in the field of pharmaceutical place. The conference was not solely the presentation, I spent time interacting with some of the participants to share experiences, and networking.

  • I was fortunate to talk to the elected CPA President Dr Rao Vadlamudi and IPA President for bilateral discussion between the Rwanda community Pharmacists Union (RCPU) and Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) and the meeting concluded by the decision to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Organizations. I met many health professionals from Sydney and discussed how we can enforce international collaboration between our organization to strengthen our profession and to learn from each other.

    PSA Excellence Awards and embracing innovative solutions to respond to increasing global pharmaceutical care needs. This awards inspired me at the level that you can’t imagine, I realize that even if the growth of our profession is our main concern, but a pharmacy professional should be encouraged and recognized for excellent delivered service. I decided embark on this outstanding this initiative to my home country.


Upon returning home I am trying to organize more conferences, trainings and workshop to let Rwandan Pharmacists know the knowledge and experience gained through CPA’s Conference and meetings in order to improve pharmaceutical practice, pharmaceutical science and/or pharmaceutical education in my country. This is attested by the conference held at Kigali on my arrival from 20th to 22nd September 2017 under the theme: “the role of technology and innovative strategies in the management of NCD” ended by the celebration of the World Pharmacist Day 2017 and the distribution of BNF and BNF for Children. I will keep organizing more events to be able to disseminate the experience and knowledge gained from this award.


Attending the whole CPA Council Meeting and PSA17, knowing every part of it, getting in connections with people from Around the commonwealth countries gave me much experience and boosted my interest to work for RCPU. Recently, I’m the current president of Rwanda Community Pharmacists Union (RCPU) which I don’t have any kind of doubt to make it fantastic than previous period.

Many blessings to the executives of CPA for this award, awesome experience and exposure.


Kigali- Rwanda