The most pressing healthcare, health workforce and pharmaceutical education needs in sub-Saharan Africa are described in a report published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), alongside recommendations towards achieving universal health coverage.
The new report, “FIP pharmacy education in sub-Saharan Africa”, documents the outcomes of the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN Global Pharmacy Education Development Network, launched in 2010 to advance research, training and curriculum development in pharmacy education by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation worldwide. This programme also led to the establishment of a FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN Centre for Excellence in Africa.
Although Africa has 17% of the world’s population, only 3% of the global health workforce is available to meet its health needs, resulting in the continent being burdened with 25% of the world’s disease. One-third of the African population does not have access to quality medicines and pharmaceutical services, with one major contributing factor being the critical shortage of pharmacists. Improvement in the quality of education and training is one of the key elements for the sustainable development of the pharmaceutical workforce to improve health and well-being, with the ultimate aim of achieving universal health coverage, according to FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN director Professor Ralph Altiere.
As its title suggests, the report provides an overview of pharmacy education in sub-Saharan Africa, including national profiles of pharmacy education, educational trends and best practices.
“The FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN Centre for Excellence in Africa has been an incubator for education reform. This report provides pharmacy stakeholders across Africa with evidence on the current status, needs and priorities of pharmacy education in sub-Saharan Africa, sharing our experience of investing in and transforming pharmacy education. We invite students, faculty members, national pharmacy organisations and governments to use this report as a roadmap to advance pharmacy education and the pharmaceutical workforce across Africa and throughout the world,” Prof. Altiere said.
The report sets out the following recommended actions:
• Build capacity of the pharmaceutical workforce;
• Meet societal and healthcare needs of the region;
• Address inequities in pharmacy education;
• Address academic pharmacy workforce migration and shortfall issues;
• Implement needs-based pharmacy education;
• Establish institutional partnerships across the region;
• Invest in pharmacy education and workforce; and
• Establish an Africa-wide association for schools of pharmacy.
Prof. Altiere added: “In the next decade, FIP will focus on the renewal and expansion of the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN programme across other regions of the world.”