The Minister of Health has received financial clearance to allow Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) graduates to undertake housemanship in health facilities, just as medical doctors do, starting from the next academic year.
The sector Minister, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who announced this in Accra on Wednesday, said the intervention was part of the government’s efforts to improve on pharmacy education and training, considering the critical role pharmacists played in the healthcare delivery system.
Speaking at an induction ceremony for 410 newly qualified and registered pharmacists into the Pharmacy Council, Mr Agyeman-Manu said in the near future, Doctor of Pharmacy would be the minimum national qualification for registration into the Pharmacy Council.
The ceremony was on the theme: “Pioneering the changing phase of pharmacy education and practice in Ghana”.
The newly inducted pharmacists were from the School of Pharmacy of the University of Ghana, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Department of Pharmacy of the Central University College and other universities abroad.
The minister said pharmacy education had taken a new dimension which Ghana had embraced.
“That is why today’s induction includes our second batch of Pharm D graduates trained locally. The focus of pharmacy education has now added more clinical aspects to the curriculum, in addition to the sciences. This is to put the patient at the centre of drug therapy for better outcomes,” he added.
Mr Agyeman-Manu explained that due to the critical role of pharmacists, stakeholders had come to the realisation that they needed more capacity as prescribers of medications to make them relevant in the healthcare service delivery space, hence the need to enhance their qualification.
He appealed to pharmacists to keep themselves abreast of changing trends and dynamics in the profession in order to remain relevant at all times.
“The ministry and the council will continue to engage stakeholders within the various training institutions to ensure that pharmacy education produces professionals who are well cut to help national efforts at achieving universal health coverage and other health objectives,” he said.
Doctor of Pharmacy
The National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Accreditation Board, in 2016, approved the introduction of the Doctor of Pharmacy programme, on the recommendations of the Pharmacy Council of Ghana, the Ministry of Health and the West Africa Health Organisation.
The programme aims at harmonising the training of pharmacists internationally and across the West African subregion, as well as enhancing the clinical competence of pharmacists in Ghana.
The Pharm D programme replaced the previous four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy programme run in the country.
The Registrar of the Pharmacy Council, Dr Audu Rauf, described the council as a statutory public institution with the objective of securing, among others, the highest standards in the practice of pharmacy in the country.
It derived its mandate from the Health Professionals Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013 (Act 857), he noted.
He called on the inductees and all pharmacists to uphold the highest standards of the profession in their practice.
“You should comply with the legal requirements and embrace best practices in the relevant field. Respect and treat all patients equally and protect their dignity and privacy as well,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ernest Chemists Limited, Pharm. Ernest Bediako Sampong, who was the special guest of honour, admonished the newly qualified and registered pharmacists to be diligent in their lines of duty.
He asked them to be innovative and adaptive to the changing world by incorporating the use of technology in their practice.
“If you refuse to innovate, you will become redundant and irrelevant with time. There are so many opportunities, but you have to be innovative to identify and explore them,” he added.
Some of the graduands received awards for excelling in the 2019 Ghana Pharmacy Professional Qualifying Examination.
Dr Desmond Kwakye was declared the overall best student, with Dr Albert Opare emerging as best in Law and Ethics and Dr Najat Falwia Mumuni as the best in pharmacy practice.