7 April 2017: A Blog Post By Jess
Today the Wilkes University students had the opportunity to attend the 1st Uganda Pharmaceutical Symposium. This conference welcomes local pharmacy programs such as MUST and Makerere students as well as pharmacy students from other countries.
We were picked up by Haji, our driver, at the guest house at 6:30 am this morning. The conference was at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe which is about an hour or so from Kampala. We had to leave so early in the morning because traffic is very bad in the city of Kampala. The Imperial hotel was absolutely beautiful and one of the MUST students told me that it is one of the top rated hotels in Kampala. The conference was supposed to start at 8 am, but as you learn Ugandans are always behind schedule so it did not start until about 10 am.
The first presenter was Dr. Alice, from Great Britain, who was presenting in place of her colleague who did research on Pallative Care collaborating with Edinburgh University. The research was done at Mulago Hospital studying the effectiveness of pallative care in patients with disease states associated with end of life decisions such as cancer or severe pain.
The second presentation was given by a faculty member and his students who studied Antimicrobal resistance. They gave an overview of antimicrobal resistance then introduced us to their current research which is studying the use of lemon, garlic, and ginger as an antimicrobal agent. The results are not yet found because further research is being conducted. The next student presented his research on developing a topical ointment containing Ocimum gratissimum and Zingiber to erraticate S. Aureus infection.
The third group of students provided us with education on counterfeit drugs, how to prevent it in the future, and presented an App which would allow anyone to identify if a purchased drug is registered and is an active drug because in Uganda many drugs are unregistered, fake, or are smuggled. The app is called IDA-APP and it can be used ON or OFF line. Features of the app include a category, district, batch number, and drug index. The app allows the user to access details containing informations about the pharmacist and/or pharmacy owner where the drug was purchased. The app also allows the user to find reliable pharmacies to purchase drugs from if they are unfamiliar with the area.
The last and final speaker of the day focused on HIV therapy in pregnant women that may have other diseases such as malaria and decreasing the rate of HIV transmittion to the newborn. The student presented his research on the percentage of women that were willing to get tested for HIV while pregnant and the impact/importance of education. It was found that 90% of women had a good attitude about getting tested.
In conclusion, the whole day was very interesting! We learned a lot about the problems and difficulties that the Ugandan pharmacy profession faces as a whole and the students presented possible solutions to these problems through undergoing research. We also got to have breakfast and lunch with the pharmacy students from various pharmacy programs.