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INTERACTION BETWEEN PSGH AND SoPPS PHARMD LEVEL 100 STUDENTS

This annual programme was organized by the University of Cape Coast School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (UCC SoPPS) in conjunction with the Central Regional Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) to welcome first-year PharmD students of the School and expose them to the Pharmacy programme and also encourage them. The programme brought together Pharmacists in the Central region to serve as mentors to the pharmacy students and expose them to the various practice areas and job opportunities available in the profession. The programme took place on 8th February 2022 at the College of Distance Education Conference Room at the University of Cape Coast. The Dean of the UCC SoPPS, Prof. Elvis Ofori Ameyaw welcomed the pharmacists to the programme and encouraged the first year students to interact very well with the pharmacists and ask all their questions to clear their doubts about the profession as they kick-start their pharmacy training. The Central Regional Chairperson of the PSGH thanked the School for initiating the programme and reiterated the support of PSGH to help nurture these student pharmacists to blossom in their training.

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), Pharm Samuel Kow Donkoh, congratulated the students and wished them the best in their training. He made known to the students that the profession has moved from the product-centered era to a patient-centered profession. The various practice groups in the PSGH went on to interact with the students. Prof. Isaac Ayensu (Chairman, ARSPA), commended the students on their decision to study PharmD and encouraged them to take the programme seriously. He cautioned them about the impacts of cell phones on their study saying that memory receptors take so much from their phones, so the earlier they put them away the better. He urged them to be determined and focused on their books. He entreated the students to have a mentality that, they are “here to start, stay and finish”. In addition, he highlighted the importance of experiential practice in the PharmD programme and the role ARSPA plays to make it effective. Prof. Ayensu thanked the organizers for organizing such a wonderful and impactful programme. Pharm Awuradwoa Sam-Brew (AREPI), who is an Account Officer at Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide, gave insight into the various opportunities in the field of pharmacy and some prospects of working in pharmaceutical companies. She enumerated access barriers of patients to medicine, pharmacovigilance specialization, quality assurance specialization, supply chain among others as some of the prospects of pharmaceutical companies and urged students to pursue other fields of study in addition to their PharmD programme to increase their chances in the pharmacy field.

Pharm Theophilus Owusu Ansah, Head of the Central regional Claims Division of the National Health Insurance Authority, (NHIA) described his role in NHIA which was to prevent medication wastage and fraud in the healthcare system and that pharmacists in NHIA check the drugs provided to patients and determine whether or not they must be paid for. They also conduct occasional audits to ensure that pharmacists and medical practitioners indulge in good medical billing procedures and enforce compliance with the law. He urged students to take their studies seriously to become experts in their chosen field of study.

Pharm Joseph Wemegah (CPPA), gave the speech on community pharmacy practice. He mentioned that the community pharmacy practice field is a lucrative and fulfilling area such that, you as the pharmacists may own and manage your pharmacy. He added that the field is expanding over time, citing the recent increase in the number of pharmacies in communities compared to previous years. Furthermore, he added that the community pharmacy practice field has become very broad and interesting in recent years. It has shifted from the traditional product-centered approach to a patient-centered approach, where pharmacists give care to patients when the need be and entreated students to pursue careers in the sector. Finally, he welcomed the students into the PharmD programme and urged them to take advantage of meeting some great pharmacists at the programme, and commended the organizers of the event.

For GHOSPA, Pharm Dr. Robert Incoom mentioned that hospital pharmacy is second to community practice in terms of pharmacy fields with a large number of pharms. He added that the field is an exciting and interesting area to venture into with the hospital enticing opportunities to pharmacists. The hospital offers an exciting mode of pharmacy practice right from, administration, clinical pharmacy practice, oncology care, renal pharmacy, manufacturing, pharmacovigilance, etc. He highlighted the fast-growing rate of the field in terms of the number of pharmacists in the hospital and improved salary. He also indicated that the 10 years required to be a Specialist Pharmacist has been reduced to five years.

The Regional Vice-chairperson of the PSGH-Central, Pharm Ewuarbena Esia-Donkor gave the speech on behalf of the Pharmacy council. She stated that the Pharmacy council is responsible for all the regulations in the field and she added that, the Council gives accreditation, organizes professional exams, renews pharmacy licenses, regulates the number of community pharmacies to ensure even distribution of these pharmacies within communities, and also regulates pharmaceutical industries.

Also present in the ceremony was Senior Fellow of the PSGH, Fellow Sarah Honny. She expressed her gratitude for being invited to the meeting. She welcomed the students into the pharmacy field and urged them to see the field as a family and act accordingly. She advised the students to have a passion for their studies and not to be overly concerned with money in the area, but rather to have the mindset of serving humanity just as the motto of the PSGH state: “amicus humani generi’’ which translates to ‘friends of the human race’’. Pharm Dr. Barbara Adu-Brimpong and Dr. Daniel Anokwah talked about the activities of the Lady Pharmacists Association of Ghana (LAPAG) and the Yong Pharmacists Group (YPG) respectively. In the closing remarks, the Dean of the UCC School of Pharmacy and the Regional Chairperson of PSGH advised the students to take their studies seriously and promised to serve as mentors to them throughout their training.