Building Sustainable Health Care Practices

Published on 02 August 2016

St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa partner to carve a new path for pharmacy technicians across Southern Africa. Together, the institutions have just published “The Southern African Pharmacy Technician Training Manual.” It is the first manual designed specifically for English-speaking pharmacy technicians in the region.

Need for Materials

“Previously, we had to use textbooks from Europe or North America that were not specific to the African context,” said Shirley-Anne Boschmans, Ph.D., co-author and head of the Department of Pharmacy at NMMU. “This manual focuses on technicians’ basic job responsibilities and is designed to be flexible.”

Faculty and students from the College have travelled to NMMU and Southern Africa numerous times during their three-year partnership. Faculty from NMMU have visited St. Louis as well. That face-to-face interaction with educators and patients is invaluable according to Ken Schafermeyer, Ph.D., professor of pharmacy administration and director of international programs at the College.

“Pharmacy technicians are an excellent resource in public-sector hospitals and primary care clinics, where they might be the only pharmacy personnel to manage medication distribution,.” Schafermeyer said.

Authors of the manualThe manual features intensive instruction on medications to help patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Other topics include pharmacy calculations, basic pharmacology, compounding and patient communication. The manual is accompanied by an instructor’s guide, co-authored by Stephanie Lukas, Pharm.D., M.P.H., assistant director of international programs at the College, that provides suggested exercises, assignments and discussion questions.

“This book can be used as a learning tool for pharmacy technicians as part of a university-level course or as part of an on-the-job training program,” said Teri-Lynne Fogarty, M.Pharm., co-author, lecturer and coordinator of the Pharmacy Technician program at NMMU.

Estimates vary widely, but many believe there are more than 17 million patients living with HIV or AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa. It’s the highest concentration of patients in the world. As a result, there is a dire need for pharmacy personnel to provide basic services like medication distribution.

Twinning Partnership

The partnership with NMMU was funded through a grant from the American International Health Alliance. Funds come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the President’s Emergency Planning for AIDS Relief.

The manual is published by Pharmacy Administration Consultants, LLC and based on a text written by Schafermeyer. Publication rights for adaptation of the U.S. text to the South African context were generously provided by Ascend Learning and Jones and Bartlett Learning of Burlington, Massachusetts. As a community service, the manual is available to students, educators and organizations at cost.

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