HUYE — The number of qualified pharmacists in the country is still very low and the shortage is affecting active drug dispensation at district level, Ambassador Zephyr Mutanguha the Director General of CAMERWA has said.
Presiding over celebrations to mark the 10th Pharmaceutical Day in Rwanda last Friday October 10 at the National University of Rwanda, Ambassador Mutanguha called upon fresh graduates from the faculty not to ignore postings in upcountry hospitals-stressing that the country needs them in its efforts to provide improved health care to its citizens.
CAMERWA is the government drug procurement and distribution agency.
“The trend has been that fresh graduates concentrate in towns and cities leaving many district hospitals and health centres in the hands of less qualified personnel. We encourage you to take up positions in district hospitals if we are to improve the health sector,” Mutanguha told Pharmacy students.
Mutanguha said that CAMERWA is shifting from passive to active distribution of drugs in the country but said that the move is curtailed by the absence of proper infrastructure and qualified pharmacists in district hospitals.
“We are moving away from the practice where all district hospitals have to come to CAMERWA to get drugs. We want to establish drug stores at district levels to ease the drug distribution process,” said Mutanguha.
The 10th Pharmaceutical Day organised by the Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (RPSA), was marked under the theme: The role of Pharmacy Students and Pharmacists in improving service to the community in collaboration with other Health Care Professionals.
Moise Rugina, the President of RPSA, said that the association in partnership with local authorities has embarked on a number of projects aimed at serving the community.
“We have in the past held health campaigns like those on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and No Tobacco campaign in secondary schools. Next year we intend to conduct a census of traditional healers in the country so that we know their number and advise them on how to conduct their trade as per health regulations in the country,” said Rugina.
The Pharmacy department currently under the Faculty of Medicine was started in 1982. It has graduated only 200 pharmacists in twenty-six years of its existence.
Professor Kadima Ntokamunda, the head of the Pharmacy department said that enrolment in the department has risen over the years hitting the 100 mark this academic year.
He said that with introduction of the Bologna process which requires a modular system of teaching and learning, programmes in the department have been made better.
“Students who complete five years of study in the department will graduate with a Masters in Pharmacy upon graduation,” said Professor Ntokamunda.