30 July 2022
Friends, family, colleagues, and students from around the world, greetings from New York!
It has been more than 2.5 years since I have written this blog and traveled to Uganda and much has happened while I’ve been away. Namely, COVID-19 and subsequent variants have interrupted our lives at the least and taken many lives at its worse. The USA has lost more than 1 million and the World more than 6.4 million people to COVID. We have all come to be familiar with mask-wearing and social distancing. Where available, we’ve been vaccinated and boosted multiple times. COVID is becoming the new normal and we’ve grown tired of the COVID talk, masking, distancing from others, and some now are even refusing vaccines because COVID seems like it is never going away and thus, erroneously, believing that we are no longer prone to serious death and illness. However, COVID is still wreaking havoc. As of July 28, 2022 there were > 2000 daily deaths to COVID and > 977,000 daily cases. This data comes from Worldometer which is a cool database collecting all kinds of information so we can have access to statistics like this. We shouldn’t forget, though, there are other awful situations that affect many people of the world such as >14,000 deaths from hunger TODAY and > 780million people without access to safe water.
I’m excited to let you know that I am traveling back to Uganda today to work with faculty colleagues from the Pharmacy School at Makerere University. I have been helping them build capacity to teach pharmaceutical care skills to provide patient centered care since 2014. I initially received a Fulbright Specialist Grant to cover 3 trips to Uganda in 2014 which resulted in the development of a Pharmaceutical Care Skills Lab (PCSL). They are still teaching it but now they are interested in enhancing this curriculum for their Bachelor’s of Pharmacy, which is the entry level degree for pharmacists in Uganda. We aim to develop some demonstration and training videos to augment the skills lab. Since I first started working with Makerere their enrollment has grown without a corresponding growth in clinical faculty (35-40 students per class year in 2014 to 70-85 students now per class year). Although the interest in clinical Pharmacy practice has grown in Uganda, there are still few pharmacists around to model these skills for the undergraduate students. Soon, though, Makerere will offer a Master’s of Clinical Pharmacy The ultimate goal is to help develop advanced pharmacy practitioners who can work with other healthcare providers and directly with and for patients to improve safe medication use and patient health outcomes. For more information about my prior trips both with and without U.S. pharmacy students, you can scan my past 11 years of blog posts. This trip is 2 weeks long so much more to come regarding my adventures! Please feel free to post questions for me.