3 August 2022
Greetings! I woke up today to bright sunshine and I just knew it would be a good day. When we arrived at the pharmacy school, I was invited to attend a meeting between the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Drug Authority (NDA) and the Makerere Pharmacy Faculty. They are developing a country-wide curriculum to teach all healthcare providers and healthcare students about Pharmacovigiliance (PV). PV is the work of identifying, rectifying, and preventing adverse drug events (ADE). I was keenly interested as this is something I teach to our pharmacy students at Binghamton University and I was eager to see the plans. The NDA is equivalent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and for many years they’ve been tracking ADE’s and encouraging healthcare providers to document any issues they find with drug but it is very hard to get people to comply. In part this is due to lack of recognition that ADE’s are occurring, but also because people can be too busy to fill out forms and think that reporting has no benefit. But what they don’t realize is that until everyone reports, drugs causing ADEs are kept on the market and more and more patients are affected. Even in the US, it is very hard to get people to report ADEs. This new curriculum will help all HCPs and all pharmacy, medical, nursing, etc students to realize the importance of PV and give them the skills to recognize, treat, and prevent ADEs. What was extra interesting is the process that my colleagues at Makerere University went through to come up with a curricular plan. They completed a Needs Assessment. A Needs Assessment is when you investigate the perceptions of the problem and potential solutions from all parties that will be involved. Often we want to solve problems quickly and neglect to slow down enough to include the view and advise of all stakeholders. When you omit the Needs Assessment, you end up with solutions that may end up failing to work because all sides of the issue were not thoroughly investigated. When a Needs Assessment is used to determine solutions, you end up with solutions that work for all parties. I know a little about Needs Assessments because that is the process I went through as the first step in developing the Pharmaceutical Care Skills Lab curriculum that was the outcome of my Fulbright project back in 2014.
The rest of the day was spent working with Kalidi on the development of the plan for the pharmaceutical care training videos. We were so much more productive in a couple of hours in a room together hashing out the details than we’ve been all year in our monthly zoom meetings. This is a perfect example of why you have to show up in person to do projects like this. We certainly have had some great planning meetings by zoom and we can analyze data a half a world apart, but the in person back and forth and brainstorming was much more effective at this phase of the project. Also, even though we communicate in English, both of our accents are strong to each other and in person, it is always easier to understand and be understood.
I ended the day with a wonderful treat. My good friend and Uganda tour guide stopped by the Mulago Guest House to see me. Arthur runs Econestim Tours and Travel Uganda and he has taken me and my US pharmacy students on many safaris. He has also taken my son, Christian, when he was here a few years ago as a medical student doing a clinical rotation at Mulago National Referral Hospital. Arthur has comfortable and reliable vehicles and he know so much about the flora and fauna of Uganda. He also does tours to Tanzania and Kenya now as well. It was great catching up with him. I wish I had time for a quick game drive while I’m here but I will be keeping too busy for that on this short trip. Seeing him reminded me of the fun and experiential learning I’ve had here with many students in the past. Hopefully I will be able to develop a program to bring students again here soon. Talk to you tomorrow.
My name is Grace and we spoke years ago about your work in Uganda.
My sister is a pharmacist in upstate PA near New Jersey. Your email popped up in my inbox and we just happen to be in Uganda this week as well, until August 12th before we fly back. If you are available to meet for coffee somewhere in Kampala we’d love to get together before then to learn more about your work.
Thanks and hope to hear from you.
Grace Wankiiri Orsatti
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Hi Grace! So nice to hear from you. Would love to meet you and your sister! I’m also here until 12 Aug. I will contact you by email to set up a meeting.