Members of the Rwanda Pharmacists Association (RPA) have pledged their commitment to boosting quality patient care by ensuring access to safe and cost effective medicine.
This was during their 2010 annual congress that was organized last week to identify steps of improving pharmaceutical services in the country and the region.
According to the RPA president, Monique Mukandabarasa, there are only 200 qualified pharmacists in the country hence a strong need to urge youth to take up pharmaceutical studies if quality health services are to cover the entire population.
“A pharmacist is an expert who gives out medicine and offers the right advice to make sure that a patient recovers faster.
“As major stakeholders in the health system, it is important that we cover the whole population so that every Rwandan can be able to access quality, safe and cost effective medicine services,” Mukandabarasa said.
The official also re-assured the public on the prevailing concern regarding generic medicines pointing out that most patients are worried about acquiring such medication from pharmacies.
“We have an effective procurement team at CAMERWA that is responsible for importing only quality drugs. There is no way pharmacists can give out expired drugs or even those that do not meet acceptable standards.
“All medicines in the country are safe however it is also important to demand for better quality services should one think that they are not acquiring good services at pharmacies countrywide,” she added.
The Minister of Health Dr. Richard Sezibera highlighted that pharmacists should play a major role in building and sustaining health insurance adding that decentralizing this system is key in increasing distribution of health products.
Sezibera also urged them to be involved in promoting national campaigns and activities that fight epidemics like HIV/AIDS, increase condom use and general public education about hygiene.
“Now that Rwanda joined the East African Community, there is a spirit of harmonizing the legal and institutional framework. In this regard, the ministry is in the process of revising policies to better guide this sector in a regional context.”
“We would therefore like your in put as regards producing a food and medicines law which is urgently required, revision on the establishment of a national pharmacy council and quest to form a national food and drug authority,” he added.