This morning, while the American Pharmacy Students and Residents were working with the Ugandan Pharmacy Interns at the Hospital today, I was participating in a robust and passionate discussion about the newly developed draft of curriculum to start a Masters of Clinical Pharmacy (MSc-CP) at Makerere University.
To start this type of program has been a goal of Professor Odoi’s since I met him in 2011 and all of the small steps we’ve taken together, along with the help of other American Pharmacists and Faculty who’ve participated in the training of Ugandan Pharmacists and students, has finally built the momentum to bring this program to the point of acceptance by the other faculty and even has them excited about this.
The actual feat of pulling this curriculum together with the help of the Makerere Pharmacy faculty is all credited to Dr. Darowan Akajagbor, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She has been working with me since Fall 2012 and also brings her pharmacy students to Uganda for a similar program as mine, except she only stays 2 weeks with 3rd Professional Year students, whereas mine at this point are 4th years. She has been in Uganda for the past 6 weeks as a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow, meeting with all of the stakeholders and writing this curriculum. The point of today’s 3.5hr meeting was to once again bring stakeholders together for a detailed look at the final draft and make minor revisions before setting it into motion in the elaborate University Curriculum Approval Process. I was so impressed with the faculty engagement in conversations today about the document. Many really good points were brought up and debated. And all of it was meant to make the program even better- not a single person questioned the need for this program, which will help to develop pharmacy practitioners who are able to apply their pharmaceutical skills to the care of patients for the the purpose of improving healthcare and patient health outcomes. I left the meeting with great feelings about the progress of my involvement and work in Uganda.
After this meeting I went right into another to work with another of the Makerere Pharmacy Faculty to develop the research project we will complete during the last week of April. We will run the OSCE (Objective Standardized Clinical Examination) assessment of the pharmacy student’s skills again as we did after the Pharmaceutical Care Skills Lab last semester to measure their retention of the knowledge and skills.
The afternoon was spent at the Crested Secondary School in Makindye, a subsection of Kampala. This is a private school owned and run by Lydia and Charles Ibingira, the couple who has us over for Easter Dinner. When I met Lydia last fall, I offered to go to the school to talk to the teenagers about the profession of Pharmacy. Many Ugandans don’t know what pharmacists do and the country definitely has a shortage so I though maybe the American students and I could inspire them. This was an absolutely delightful experience! The school teaches 850 students but we were brought into a room with maybe about 300 children. I know they have a hard time understanding American English at times, so I did my best to talk more slowly than usual.
All of us got a chance to speak up and when I asked if any of the students were interested in Pharmacy at the end, many seemed to now have interest. Even if we only encourage a few to pursue our profession, it would be great for Uganda. Afterwards Lydia gave us a tour of the facility.
The picture shows the main building which has many floors. It houses room for students to board overnight as well as classrooms. There was a great view of Kampala from the top floor!