Government has been tasked to support the funding of specialist training of pharmacists in the country as they strive to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the country.
The Rector of the Ghana College of Pharmacists, Yvonne Yirenkyiwaa Esseku, who made the call, explained that the current practice where specialist pharmacists had to fund their own training or depend on the institutions they worked for made it difficult for many pharmacists to present themselves for specialist training due to financial constraints.
This, she said, came as a loss for the population and the nation as a whole because it meant the population would be unable to benefit from that extra expertise and skill that specialist pharmacists could provide.
“Because of lack of money we don’t get a lot of pharmacists coming to do the specialists programme.
If pharmacists are not trained as specialists and they are working with specialist medical doctors, they will not be able to provide the level of pharmaceutical service that is needed.”
“When you look at the teaching hospitals in the country, all of them have different medical specifications.
There is the need to have specialist pharmacists for all the specialisations.
You cannot have one specialist pharmacist when you have more than one specialist medic in the health facility,” she said.
Mrs Esseku mentioned this among the challenges that confronted the college at the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and scientific conference of the college.
The occasion, which was on the theme, “building resilience into delivery of pharmaceutical services,” was also used to induct 13 fellows and 12 members into the college.
Fellows are pharmacists who have specialised in particular areas and are able to support a medical team in the delivery of health service.
They are able to train other specialist pharmacists and also provide specialist care.
On the other hand, members are pharmacists who have submitted themselves to the stringent training requirements of the college and have been assessed as deserving of the qualification to be bestowed on them.
Using the 12 members as an example, she said should each of them even agree to go to the regions, they were not enough, adding that to increase the number of specialist pharmacist trainees, government’s support could be financial aid to assist in their specialist training, while paying back without interest over a period of time.
“It is one strategy we can consider as a nation to help build the capacity of our manpower with respect to specialist training in pharmaceutical services,” she said.
Mrs Esseku revealed that the achievements of the college included being in the final stages of the establishment of a digital management system for the college, the launch of the college’s journal and consistently releasing statements and conducting webinars to commemorate some world health days.
The President of the College, Joseph Kojo Nsiah Nyoagbe, listed some of the challenges pharmacists faced such as regulatory changes, supply chain disruptions and the ever-evolving landscape of medical advancements, adding that their resilience was tested during those difficult times.
Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Gifty Naa Ayele Mensah, said a strong and resilient pharmaceutical delivery system was needed to help the country to attain the UHC goal.
Professor Frances Owusu-Daaku of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology hinted of ways pharmacists could build resilience such as getting connected, making everyday meaningful, learning from experience and remaining hopeful.