Pharmacists without Borders collaborates with a church organisation to promote better use of medicine in Ghana.
Pharmacists without Borders (PwB) in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have started a joint Nordic project aiming to improve the use of medicine in Ghana. The three PwB-organisations have entered into a cooperative agreement with Lady Pharmacists Association of Ghana (LAPAG), and the Anglican diocese in Accra. The purpose of this agreement is to promote better use of medicine and better quality of medicine in Ghana.
The cooperative agreement, which is called “Safe use of safer medicines in Ghanaian communities”, was established during a weeklong workshop in Accra in the beginning of December. In the workshop, which was arranged by PwB, the president and other senior members of LAPAG participated along with leading women from the Anglican diocese. The cooperative agreement was signed by Sten Olsen, the head of PwB-Sweden, on behalf of PwB in Scandinavia, and the bishop of the Anglican diocese signed on behalf of the church. The president Yvonne Yirenkyiwaa Esseku signed the agreement on behalf of LAPAG.
The cooperative agreement is the first step of a long-lasting partnership with the purpose to help the consumers in Ghana to make better choices in relation to medicine, and to help them protect themselves against substandard and counterfeit medicines.
Substandard medication threatens the health of the consumers in Ghana
The participants of the workshop could all agree that substandard medication on the Ghanaian market constitutes a serious threat for the health of the individual consumer and thereby also the public health in Ghana. The three cooperating partners of the agreement have agreed upon a common and sustainable effort to attract the attention of the consumers to dangerous medication and to their right to treatment. Additionally, the effort has a purpose of increasing the consumers’ knowledge of rational use of medicine.
Initially, the effort will be conducted by a series of interventions in the individual parishes. These will among others be carried out with the help of the women’s groups, which are related to the Anglican diocese.
The project will address the increasing problem of substandard and counterfeit medicine in Ghana, where it is estimated that 30% of the medicine used is either counterfeit or below acceptable quality. The problems related to counterfeit medicine are complex which is why we have decided to spend time to cover the characteristics of these problems. This is done in order to have the best possible foundation to develop and carry out a relevant and sustainable project through different master’s theses.
Our knowledge bank is expanding
The pharmacy student Amila Zekovic was in the spring of 2014 in Ghana to collect data for her master’s thesis. Amila focused on pharmacists in Ghana. More specific she investigated how pharmacists address and act in relation to counterfeit medicine.
In 2013 the two Danish pharmacy students Monica Bendz and Rasmus Enggaard were in Ghana to expose the supply chain of medicine and investigate attitudes towards counterfeit medicine among the health care professionals in the country. Their stay in Ghana was a part of their master’s thesis, which was defended in October 2013.
Recently in February 2016 the pharmacist Marianne Toft travelled to Ghana to collect data for her master’s thesis in anthropology of health. Marianne is investigating the opinion of quality of medicine from the view of the pharmacy staff and from the consumers.
If you want to know more about the Ghanaian project feel free to contact the PwB-DK project team at firstname.lastname@example.org