Health Science Dean on international pharmaceutical advisory panel
Dean of UKZN’s School of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, has been invited to serve on the Advisory Group of the Academic Institutional Membership (AIM) Dean’s Forum of the International Pharmaceutical Federations’ Education (FIPEd) Initiative.
Essack, a professional Pharmacist and current Chair of the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans, will represent sub-Saharan Africa during the 2013-2014 period.
At the 2013 FIP annual conference in Dublin where Essack received the invitation, the main area of discussion of the FIPEd group was the five-year business plan and priority activities planned for 2014-2018 with a sole purpose of investing in pharmaceutical education to ensure a professionally educated healthcare workforce, an appropriate academic and institutional infrastructure and high quality competency-based education.
Key priority areas include the transformation of pharmaceutical education towards the provision of integrated, patient-oriented services. FIP has found that with more than 2 000 educational institutions worldwide providing pharmaceutical education, many leaders are resisting change and not moving quickly enough to meet the needs of the population.
Many countries also face critical shortages in pharmaceutical human resources resulting in many having less than one pharmacist per 10 000 population. Hence, FIPEd has made national planning and scaling up of a capable pharmacy workforce a critical priority area to meet the needs of society and ensure patient-oriented services are sustained and expertise in medicines tailored to the individual needs of communities.
Essack gave the South African perspective in her paper titled “Human Resource Challenges in Pharmacy – the South African Perspective”.
The five-year action plan discussed at the Dublin meeting has been developed around seven pillars. The first is the global conference on pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education which will bring together education leaders and representatives from around the world in one gathering place, to debate current challenges and share solutions for pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education, thereby developing a global vision for pharmaceutical education.
The second is a global pharmacy education leadership network with training opportunities to foster learning, motivation building and exchange towards transforming pharmaceutical education. This activity will support the development of better leaders by providing quality leadership training for Deans and academic leaders from around the world. Key to achieving this priority area is enabling pharmacy education leaders to become change agents that would raise pharmacy education standards and transform pharmacy education that is more socially accountable.
The third priority area is the hosting of educational sessions and forums at the annual FIP congresses which would bring together a wide range of participants, including pharmacy practitioners, scientists and academics. These platforms allow diverse participants to share and learn about innovations, challenges and solutions for better pharmaceutical education.
The fourth area is education development team projects and technical reports which will focus on high priority areas for education development, which require global action and activities. The Education Development Team brings together experts in the respective priority areas to undertake projects and provide evidence-based resources, technical reports and tools to inform and support education development.
Education consultation services is the fifth pillar whereby pharmaceutical education experts will volunteer their services and provide an education consultation service to countries or institutions which wish to have external input into the development of their pharmaceutical education. FIP is the only global organisation currently providing comprehensive pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education development support.
The sixth pillar is developing, piloting, and launching regionally-located centres of excellence which will undertake projects to improve education, evidence and service delivery. The centres will share resources across borders, in particular with low income countries.
The final pillar is the FIPEd Infrastructure and Global Representation which will manage all FIPEd activities and communications and support fluid communication between FIPEd leaders, as well as ensure that the global health and education community are informed of FIPEd and FIPEd is engaged and represented in relevant global initiatives and events.
FIP, which UKZN became a member of in 2012, is primarily a volunteer based organisation which brings together organisations and leaders working to improve health through advancing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education and stimulating transformational change in professional pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical education that would advance and develop the diverse profession towards meeting present and future health care needs around the world.
‘I am honoured to represent South Africa and Africa in a group that would advance the education and training of the pharmacy profession into a more socially accountable one with explicit focus on graduate competencies,’ said Essack. ‘The AIM platform of FIPEd provides a forum for networking and sharing best practice in pharmacy education.’