Training Community Pharmacists in Malaysia as Smoking Cessation Service Providers
World No Tobacco Day 2022
Realising that there is an urgent need to engage more locally practicing health professionals in smoking cessation intervention, the Malaysian Academy of Pharmacy (MAP) and the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) embarked on a smoking cessation training programme by launching the “Certified Smoking Cessation Service Provider” (CSCSP) in 2004.
The aim of this program is to enable healthcare professionals, especially community pharmacists to acquire additional knowledge and skills to help smokers quit smoking through evidence-based behavioural and pharmacological interventions. Benchmarking was done using standards set by the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD).
The CSCSP was presented during a meeting on June 26, 2003 attended by representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, Malaysian Academy of Pharmacy and Clearinghouse for Tobacco Control (C-Tob).
It was agreed that the CSCSP programme shall include a one-month home-based self-study of the CSCSP manual, one-day workshop and a one-day attachment at any of the MOH’s quit smoking clinics.
Upon completion of the programme, each participant was provided with a plaque and a certificate. The content of the manual and other relevant materials was drawn up collaboratively by the MOH, MPS and C-Tob.
The first workshop was held on 10th January 2004. Since then, more than three hundreds of CSCSP workshops have been conducted nationwide to enable broad participation of health professionals in the community as well as those from the Ministry of Health.
Since continuing education is necessary to keep health professionals updated, face-to-face refresher courses had also been conducted. In 2010 the online version of CSCSP was introduced at www.acadpharm.org.my to increase access to smoking cessation knowledge.
The user reads an online Education Module consisting of 5 main chapters. Assessment of each chapter is done via ten true/false questions which are automatically marked. If a user obtains less than the passing mark (80%), the module must be repeated and a different set (randomised from three sets) of questions.
On successfully passing all chapters, users provide feedback and print the Certificate of Completion. They can then proceed with the one-day attachment at any facility offering quit smoking services.
With the launching of the mQuit programme by the MOH in 2015, an alternative to QSC attachment was needed to facilitate certification processes. Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) was introduced with at least six stations assessing various knowledge and skills.
When OSCE were unable to be conducted, participants were assessed via case-based ‘viva’. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, CSCSP workshops were conducted fully online, involving interactive lectures and assessments via case-based ‘viva’. Till now about seven thousand health professionals in Malaysia have been certified as CSCSPs.
This programme would not have been successful without the dedicated support and assistance provided by pioneering facilitators including Dr. Sallehudin Abu Bakar and Dr. Zarihah Zain, Sr. Swinderjit Jag Singh, Mr. KK Lam, MAP, MPS, and also the staff at MOH’s Quit Smoking Clinics throughout the country who had assisted with the hands-on attachment.
For the past few years, Prof. Dr. Wee Lei Hum, a tobacco behaviour specialist, has been on board as a facilitator and assessor. Last but not the least, the financial support from various pharmaceutical companies has been crucial in keeping the registration fee affordable to all.
The next step for CSCSP is to take it to the next level to train and certify a pool of tobacco use disorder treatment experts. Hence, continuous support and cooperation from all stakeholders is needed to ensure that more health professionals are certified and most importantly, actively provide evidence-based smoking cessation interventions in support of the National Tobacco Control Strategic Plan and the ratified WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) towards tobacco endgame in Malaysia by 2040.
PROF. DR. MOHAMAD HANIKI NIK MOHAMED
Certified Smoking Cessation Service Provider (CSCSP) Chief Coordinator, Facilitator and Assessor.
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