CPA’s Contributions and Collaborations at FIP 2023
CPA Delegation at the 81st FIP World Congress
In September 2023, the 81st International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences took place in sunny Brisbane, Australia. I was lucky enough to attend alongside a small team from CPA which included our Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Rutter, Strategic Lead – Workforce Capability Building, Beth Ward, and SPARC AMS Technical Officer, Tara van der Vliet. At CPA, our team all work remotely and this was actually the first time many of us had met person so it was also a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues.
FIP Congress brings together pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmaceutical scientists from across the globe. This year’s theme was ‘Pharmacy building a sustainable future for healthcare – Aligning goals to 2030’. The annual congress provides CPA with an unparalleled opportunity to network with partner organisations and to share our work on a global platform and we absolutely made the most of it!
CPA - CASPPER Event: Networking and Partnership
Landing in Brisbane, we took a day to recover from the jetlag before getting straight into hosting a joint stakeholder engagement reception with CASPPER – the Collaboration of Australians and Sri Lankans for Pharmacy Practice, Education and Research. Whilst Beth and Victoria attended the FIP Council meeting, Tara and I lent our support to the CASPPER team to prepare for the event.
The event was attended by many of our CPA Councillors and other contacts from across the Commonwealth. It provided me with my first opportunity to meet in-person a lot of the people who make the CPA the amazing organisation that it is. It was an evening well-spent with plenty of networking and making connections, culminating in our CEOs signing an official memorandum of understanding between the two organisations and pledging to support each other in the work we do.
Congress Inauguration and Awards Ceremony
The following day saw the Congress Opening Event and Reception with a touching performance by the Australian Girls Choir and the presentation of a number of FIP Awards and Scholarships. It was inspiring to hear about the breadth of the work completed by FIP staff and volunteers over the past year, including a touching tribute to the late president Dominique Jordan who was remembered as a passionate pharmacist and a strong, considerate leader.
Digital Innovations in Pharmacy Practice
The congress sessions started with a bang on Monday morning and I started the day by attending a session hosted by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria. The session focused on the work completed by the Association over the last 12 months, including the rollout of two digital tools to improve patient outcomes through improvements in record keeping and inventory management. Digitising inventory management of medicines can also support the fight against substandard and falsified (SF) medicines and ensure competitive pricing so it was reassuring to see the alignment between this work and the CPA’s work on SF medicines and a Commonwealth Price Sharing Database.
Strategic Dialogues on SPARC and CPD Initiatives
Monday also saw us meet with the national pharmacy associations (NPAs) of India, Zimbabawe, Malaysia, Ghana and Rwanda to discuss the SPARC programme and the CPA’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) platform. These meetings were an opportunity to hear about the pharmacy profession and how it differs in each of the countries, and provided us with clear guidance on where we can focus our work to provide support where it is most needed.
The CPA presented two posters on their work around the Global Health fellows and the online learning platform, creating numerus opportunities for discussions.
Immunization Challenges and CPA's Role
Tuesday morning started with a presentation from CPA’s own in-country consultant in Ghana, Yvonne Esseku, on the topic of pharmacist involvement in vaccination. With my own interest and expertise in immunisation, this was an insightful session on the challenges encountered in Ghana and an opportunity to reflect on how they aligned with my own experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Debates and Discussions on Pharmacy's Role in Healthcare
Victoria teamed up with CPA Fellow John Bell on opposite sides of the debating team for a lively discussion around whether pharmacists should focus their efforts on antimicrobial stewardship or infection prevention control. The CPA were invited to present an oral poster on CwPAMS, and Victoria gave this presentation, which resulted in developing links with several other organisations with interest or alignment to this work. Victoria and Beth also attended the FIP full day Workforce Symposium, while Tara and I continued with stakeholder meetings, meeting with representatives from Papua New Guinea and Kenya. We made it to a couple of presentations on AMS activities and it was great to see pharmacist involvement in the global fight against AMR.
Indigenous Leadership and Cultural Safety in Pharmacy
On a personal note, my favourite session of the day was entitled ‘Enabling indigenous leadership in education to transform pharmacy practice and build a sustainable workforce’. It was led by indigenous people from three nations – Australia, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand – and provided insight into the experience of indigenous leaders working in pharmacy, and what changes we might need to make to enable a culturally-safe environment. Having worked in Aotearoa New Zealand and completed my Masters thesis on this subject, it was of great interest to me personally and incredible to have the opportunity to hear diverse indigenous perspectives and experiences.
Expanding CPA's International Partnerships
The final day of conference saw us with a full timetable of stakeholder engagements, meeting with the NPAs of South Africa (where FIP Congress will take place in 2024), Sri Lanka (in conjunction with CASPPER), Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria and Indonesia. It was a full day of listening, learning and reflection on the areas where CPA’s work can make a difference.
We also met with Disaster Pharmacy Solutions, an innovative organisation led by Drs Kaitlyn Watson and Libby McCourt that aims to build a pharmacy workforce equipped to lead their communities through disasters and emergencies, and Professor Tracey Thornley, Professor of Health Policy and Scientific Advisor to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to discuss how CPA’s work aligns with UKHSA’s objectives.
CPA's Congress Reflections and Future Directions
We finished Congress with the final dinner and a last opportunity for connection and networking before the long flight back to the UK.
Overall Congress provided us with opportunities to hear from our stakeholders directly about their priorities and challenges, and how CPA can support them to achieve their goals. We met with representatives from over 20 countries, strengthening our connection to some and building new connections in others.
The knowledge we gained from the experiences shared with us will definitely inform our work going forward, both on the SPARC programme and the CPD platform – so keep your eyes peeled for new content and initiatives in the coming months!
Sarah Emerson. MPharm, MSc
Operations Lead - Programmes. Commonwealth Pharmacists Association
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