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Pharmacy joins FIP-UNESCO Centre of Excellence in Pharmacy Education

 Access to medicines, and correct use of drugs, are cornerstones of health care.

In 2006, the College of Medicine in Blantyre established the first academic training programme for pharmacists in Malawi, to help address the wide-spread problems of drug shortages, inappropriate quality of medicines, and irrational use of drugs. The successful development of this academic department has now been internationally recognized in a ceremony which took place in Blantyre on Saturday June 13th 2015. Representatives of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), signed an agreement with College of Medicine which makes the young Pharmacy Department a new member of the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN African Centre of Excellence in Pharmacy Education. This Centre of Excellence comprises outstanding schools of pharmacy, from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia and now Malawi. It is a UNESCO sponsored initiative hosted under the UNITWIN scheme (for university-twinning). This UNITWIN collaboration is the first ever in the field of higher education for health professionals and the first for global pharmaceutical education. In bringing together pharmacy schools from all regions of the world with UNESCO and FIP, the UNITWIN Network in Global Pharmacy Education Development (GPhEd) will enable synchronised and powerful development in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education and improve communication for scientific innovation, healthcare outcomes, and ultimately, the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The signing of the agreement took place during the 3rd Annual Summit of the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN African Centre of Excellence, held on June 12 and 13 in Blantyre upon invitation of College of Medicine. This meeting was attended by participants from 10 different countries, including the President of the Academic Section of FIP, Prof. Ralph Altiere, University of Colorado, USA, and the Director of the Centre of Excellence, Prof. Jennifer Marriott, Monash University, Australia. Dr. Mwapatsa Mipando, Acting Prinicipal of the College of Medicine, signed the membership agreement. Mrs. Nettie Dzabala MSc Pharm, Head of Pharmacy Department, signed an additional Memorandum of Understanding between the Pharmacy Department and FIP regarding a collaborative project termed “Lab Box Project”.  Under this project, FIP has provided 50 boxes with basic laboratory equipment for lab practicals within the pharmacy training at College of Medicine.

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