Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section
The Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section is one of FIP's smallest sections and probably, as well, one of its most specialised ones. Military Pharmacy is now largely recognised separately from community and hospital pharmacy. Military and Emergency pharmacists in the field practice pharmacy in somewhat more arduous and demanding conditions than most civilian colleagues. Military Medical Services often work together with International Relief Organizations in humanitarian aid situations. The logistics management of many of these NGO's is manned by pharmacists - emergency pharmacists. The aim of the Section is to establish close co-operation between Military Pharmaceutical Services and other appropriate organisations of different countries. The members have as their mission the study of all problems relating to Military and Emergency Pharmacy on an international basis and to co-ordinate pharmaceutical and pharmacy logistcis questions in general.
The Section Board is composed of a President, three Vice Presidents, the Immediate Past President and a permanent Secretary and Treasurer. The members of the Board are elected by the Section with one vote for each country.
FIP-MEPS provides an annual opportunity to meet with military and civilian emergency pharmacy colleagues and discuss current topics of interest. This usually takes place at the FIP Annual Congress, where the section meets during two of the days. One day is mostly organised by the host nation where MEPS members are taken to local (and sometimes not-so-local) military installations to view military displays, evacuation methods, field surgery facilities and pharmacies and pharmacy/medical logistics areas. Training, research, practice and logistics are discussed, while specialised companies may demonstrate their drugs, bandages or applied medical materiel. The second day is focused on a main topic; past topics have included for example: Experiences from the Gulf War and Peace Time Emergency Operations, for example: responses to earthquakes in Pakistan and Tsunamis is South East Asia. This academic day also includes, discussion on general matters and a number of interesting subjects aside from the main topic, for example development of a military pharmaceutical formulary, development of a logistics planning tool for setting up of a field hospital, and much, much more.
On a regular basis, MEPS sends out Newsletters, including reports, interesting papers and communications of general interest. MEPS members have been involved in Special Interest Groups, such as the group discussing meaningful responses to natural disasters/Humanitarian Relief. The Section has also been instrumental in the development of Pictograms.
Next to the obvious important exchange of information and ideas and the general instructive character of the congress meeting, there is the friendly aspect and networking opportunities as well. Pharmacists are health specialists, are united in their quests to provide the best possible care to their patients, and through this can overcome troubled relations between their countries.
Col Chen Zheng-yu, China
Mrs Jane Dawson, New Zealand