Pharmacy Students Bound for Rural Namibia Towns

A majority of pharmacy students in the United States are bound for hospital and community pharmacies following graduation. But pharmacy schools in other countries face different challenges: internships during college and job placement following graduation depend on the needs of the community and the pharmaceutical industry. Some students head out to rural areas to help doctors and nurses with community health care while others become ‘attached’ (specialize) in other forms of pharmacy work:

(AllAfrica) The first group of students training as pharmacists at the Unam School of Medicine will go for attachments in various parts of the country for the first time this year.

Dr Tim Rennie, the Head of the Department of Pharmacy, confirmed that the students would commence placements or field attachments starting this month.

“In pharmacy, there are four placements: rural attachment, community pharmacy or high street pharmacy, hospitals and industrial manufacturing. The two we have this year are rural attachment, which starts in June, and then later we’ll engage with the pharmacy community to work on the community pharmacy attachment,” Rennie said.

He explained that pharmacy students undergo field attachments, which differs slightly from medical students because they are placed in pharmacy settings with exposure to a rural community and rural needs, but essentially working around community diagnosis and community treatment.

“A pharmacist is an open-access resource for people to come and experience. You can approach a pharmacist and you don’t need an appointment. Hopefully, the students will get exposure to public health issues in the community as well, and not just the treatment aspect, but also the diseases that people present and also their management and prevention which is a key element in this attachment.”

The Department of Pharmacy would have allowed pharmacy students to go with the 3rd year medical students as well, because it is trying to encourage a disciplinary team approach to management and prevention.

While Namibia faces a critical shortage of pharmacists, the country has many pharmacists’ assistants trained by the National Health Training Centre since shortly after independence in 1990.

Rennie expressed the hope that the pharmacy students would also get some experience working with the pharmacists’ assistants to appreciate what they do and how they fit in with the doctors and the nurses in the community.

The placements will last one month. Rennie admitted that for the students, it would not be a plain-sailing experience.

“This is the first time …

Read more: Namibia: First Pharmacy Students On Field Attachments

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