3 April 2017
We woke up to a beautiful morning and a delicious breakfast and then headed off to our first day of the Pharmaceutical Care Workshop for the 3rd and 4th year pharmacy students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). It was wonderful to be back with these students again! Last September I gave the first workshop and today’s information built upon last years. The students were engaged and seemed to really appreciate the “active learning” activities. The normal curriculum at MUST is mostly lecture whereas in the USA, we emphasize self-directed learning. We plan lots of classroom activities where the students are given patient case scenarios and they work with each other to find the pharmaceutical care issues and drug therapy problems that need to be resolved. The professor is always present but is more of a facilitator of learning rather than a lecturer. We are always there to debrief the activities and make sure the students accomplished the tasks and understood the main points, but as students work through solving problems on their own, they absorb the new knowledge and skills better.
After a 2-hr presentation in the morning with a large part being small group work, we took 3 groups of students to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) and precepted them on pharmacy rounds. Basically we found patients and talked with them to better understand what brought them to the hospital and to determine if there are any remaining medication-related issues. I was really impressed with the interest and participation of the both the American and Ugandan students. One of the 4th year students told me afterwards that he felt his performance on rounds was much improved since the last time I was here and I totally agree. If only we could implement more robust and sustainable training for pharmaceutical care in the curriculum accompanied by having the pharmacy faculty and students work collaboratively with the medical team, I think patient care could really be improved.
At the end of the day I welcomed Dr Emily Flores to our team. She is a Professor from East Tennessee State University and is joining my group for most of our trip. I’ve known her for a few years and during this trip, I will introduce her to my Ugandan partners and she will introduce me to some she knows in Mbarara and hopefully she, and Dr Susie Crowe, also from ETSU joining us next week, will feel the same draw to Uganda that I have and this will be the first of many trips and a growing collaboration.
Emily was transported to Mbarara by my friend and Kampala driver, Haji. It was so nice to be greeted by him so warmly as he dropped her off at the hotel!