March 20, 2016
Greetings! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but Uganda is never far from my mind. Believe it or not, but it is now time to start the countdown for my next trip to Uganda. We leave the USA exactly 12 days from now on April 1. I will be taking 4 Wilkes 4th Professional Year Pharmacy Students with me. And I’m excited to say I will also be sharing this experience with a pharmacy practice colleague at Wilkes who is a Psychiatric Pharmacist. She will join me for 8 days in Kampala to investigate the possibility of collaborating with the Pharmacist at the National Mental Health Hospital in Kampala. In addition, I will have a Pharmacologist faculty from University of Minnesota joining us for 3 weeks to learn about my program and hopefully if all goes well, she and the University of MN School of Pharmacy will collaborate with me and start to bring Pharmacy students as well. The more exposure that the Pharmacists in Uganda can have to Pharmacists from the USA, the more skills they learn and the more they become motivated to use these skills to help Ugandan patients. Soon I will be posting the introductory blog posts for the upcoming group of travelers.
I want to give a shout out and my sincere congratulations to the Makerere Pharmacy School class of 2011. (Note- they label the class based on the year they start rather than the year they graduate as in the USA) These are the first Ugandan students I personally taught in the newly developed Pharmaceutical Care Skills Course in Fall 2014, although I met many of them the year before and have been working with them since. They officially graduated from Makerere University in January, although all of their studies were completed in May 2015. Since then, they have been completing their Internship year. This is a 9 month time period where they work in 1 to 3 different hospitals or industry sites to learn the practice of pharmacy. This is similar to the year of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) that occur during the last year of the Doctor of Pharmacy Program the USA. The final step to becoming a full-fledged pharmacist in Uganda will be passing their registration exams at the end of their Internships. I have been honored to be part of their education but as a teacher, I always wonder if what we teach is actually appreciated or used to improve patient care. Well, recently I was so thrilled to receive feedback from one of the Ugandan pharmacy students via a Facebook post.
The following is a comment made by Odipiyo Francis, one of those who recently graduated “I must start by thanking you for equipping us with the QUEST-SCHOLAR techniques of quick clerking, it’s doing me wonders here in one of the retail pharmacies within the outskirts of Kampala City! I always try my best to give my clients the best pharmaceutical care and encourage them to give me a feedback. We’re trying our best to provide the best services.” This is exactly what I hope for all of the Ugandan and American pharmacy students- to do their best to help patients receive the best medical care possible via safe and appropriate drug use.