Pharmacists’ Assistants fight HIV
Pharmacists’ assistants working across Namibia came together on March 9, for five days in Otjiwarongo to share experiences and discuss challenges facing pharmaceutical service delivery and HIV.
Increased training of pharmacy personnel has resulted in reduced staff vacancy rates, which has helped public health programs such as anti-retroviral (ART) service delivery.
More pharmacy personnel relieve workloads at treatment sites, putting pharmacists in a better position to provide patient-centred care, care that is important for all patients especially those taking life-long ARV medicines.
Dr. Richard Nchabi Kamwi, Minister of Health and Social Services, applauded the efforts of the pharmacists’ assistants at the forum and highlighted the achievements of the partnership between PEPFAR and the Government of the Republic of Namibia in bolstering human resources for health.
“Pharmacists’ Assistants are the backbone of pharmaceutical service delivery in Namibia,” praised Rosalia Indongo of USAID to those in attendance at the forum.
“Your contributions to the clinical team are essential in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”
The U.S. government with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supports the training of pharmacists’ assistants in Namibia through the project known as Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services.
This project, run by Management Sciences for Health, boosted pharmacists’ assistant graduation rates from the National Health Training Centre fourfold since the project began six years ago.
The project was in response to critical pharmacist shortages at health facilities in regions with high HIV prevalence.
Management Sciences for Health receives funding from PEPFAR via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS). SIAPS provides pre-and in-service training through the Ministry of Health and Social Services, University of Namibia-School of Pharmacy and the Health Professions Council of Namibia to equip pharmaceutical personnel for quality ART service delivery.
This project also works directly with ART sites to develop patient information systems, improve inventory management, and capture data to inform decision making for adherence, patient retention in care, and ARV stock management.