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• 16 August 2021
Last month, part 1 of this article reported on how FIP member organisations in the European, South East Asian and Western Pacific regions mark World Pharmacists Day and World Pharmacy Week. This second part brings you news from the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific and the Americas to give you ideas for 25 September.
Eastern Mediterranean region: Launch of a taskforce to advance the profession
“Creation of a global taskforce, bringing together the expertise of other organisations overseas , and led by FIP, was much needed.” — EFCP president Mahmoud Abdelrahman.
In the Eastern Mediterranean region, the Egyptian Foundation of Clinical Pharmacy (EFCP) used World Pharmacy Week to launch a taskforce to steer change through the introduction of projects, such as continuing education and exchange programmes, to advance pharmacy careers and follow up on the development of these projects. “The EFCP is the national and regional organisation concerned with clinical pharmacy academics, practice and research in Egypt. It’s our responsibility to spread knowledge as well as awareness of good pharmacy practice and to advance the pharmacy profession. In Egypt, pharmacy education and practice has been based on traditional practices for many years. The need to become more patient-focused practice is a must. The creation of a global taskforce, bringing together the expertise of other organisations overseas , and led by FIP, was much needed,” said EFCP president Mahmoud Abdelrahman.
The new taskforce has five subcommittees that meet regularly, covering health care, academia, exchange, continuing education and research. The launch took place online, and included input from the collaborating organisations and a discussion moderated by Dr Abdelrahman and FIP CEO Catherine Duggan, with over 500 colleagues in attendance.
Following the launch, work has included a gap analysis on the needs of pharmacy practice and the development of a paper that will be used to take forward the transformation of pharmacy roles in Egypt. “Our second annual meeting will be held during World Pharmacy Week, when our panel of experts will proudly present what the taskforce has achieved so far,” Dr Abdelrahman said.
He added: “World Pharmacy Week is a good opportunity for member organisations to showcase their work and support each other though promoting globally important health issues. It can motivate collaboration. We plan to use the 2021 WPD theme of trust at our conference this year. When trust is there between the pharmacist and patients, it leads to better healthcare outcomes for the patients, for example, increasing drug adherence and lower reported side effects. We’re working towards more patient-focused practice and even more trust.”
As for organising a webinar, Dr Abdelrahman had three main tips: “First, plan ahead and gather as much support as you can from pharmacy stakeholders in your country and internationally. Secondly, base your event on a theme important to the profession in your country. And, thirdly, make sure you have enough time to promote the event.”
Western Pacific region: Take opportunities for political engagement
“World Pharmacists Day provides a platform to promote the role of pharmacists to the community, celebrate the achievements of the profession over the past 12 months, and provides a hook for external stakeholders to thank pharmacists for their contribution to the Australian community. A global event provides an anchor date for these kinds of annual activities — similar to that of other professions and health conditions,” said Chris Freeman, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) national president. “It also allows our members — Australia’s pharmacists — to reflect on the amazing work and care they provide in serving their patients and the wider community,” he added.
In 2020, the PSA’s WPD activities had a strong online focus, supported by face-to-face engagement where COVID-19 restrictions allowed, Mr Freeman told IPJ. In particular, WPD is an opportunity for political engagement and many Australian politicians have posted social media videos thanking pharmacists for their work. “We highlight current and emerging roles of pharmacists in Australia,” he added. His advice is to start planning early: “Co-ordination, planning and engagement of membership, political and government stakeholders, and your own team doesn’t happen overnight.”
The PSA has welcomed FIP’s expansion of WPD, for a second year, to a week of world pharmacy. “As WPD falls on a Saturday this year, we are planning a number of activities over World Pharmacy Week in the lead-up to 25 September. While we are still finalising our activities, we intend to build on successful activities from last year, with a particular focus on online activities, and we will be incorporating the theme of trust,” Mr Freeman said.
“During the pandemic, trust has been a pivotal factor in the acceptance by Australians of Australia’s strong health response to the pandemic. Compliance with strict public health measures — including a prolonged four-month stay-at-home directive in Melbourne (Australia’s second biggest city) — has seen elimination of COVID-19 in ways not achieved anywhere else in the world. Without trust and acceptance of this health advice by governments and the population this would not have occurred. As the most accessible health profession in Australia, pharmacists were important in amplifying and instilling this trust. The patient-focus and care pharmacists provide to their patients helps build this trust in our health system,” he explained.
He added: “Australian population survey data continues to show pharmacists as one of the most trusted occupations in Australia — regularly sharing the top three ranking with nurses and fire fighters. We intend to highlight examples of the trust Australians place in their pharmacists.”
Region of the Americas: Sharing through social media is easy
Not all members have the resources needed to organise their own campaigns or events for World Pharmacists Day, and find that the easiest thing to do is share messaging through their social media channels. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), for example, being the US national agency for the accreditation and certification of professional pharmacy degree programmes and providers of continuing education, does not have a membership as such, or professional affairs staff to assist with widespread WPD activities. Nevertheless, “the ACPE is very supportive of WPD and we do post statements on our social media about it. We did so last year and we’ll be supporting the campaign again this year,” said the council’s executive director Janet Engle.
“Highlighting trust is very relevant today, when our world is in such uncertain times. It’s also a theme that ACPE welcomes with our mission of advancing excellence worldwide in pharmacy and technician education and continuing professional development. Not only are pharmacists among the top five most trusted professionals, but educators are also consistently ranked among the top five,” she added.
Similarly, in the Americas, FIP’s member organisation in Argentina, COFA (Confederación Farmacéutica Argentina), also chooses to help disseminate WPD messaging through its social media. “We follow FIP and share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” said COFA president Isabel Reinoso.
“Join me on World Pharmacists Day.” — COFA president Isabel Reinoso
“The design of this year’s initial campaign materials, which is available on FIP’s website, makes it simple for every organisation and every pharmacist, pharmaceutical scientist, pharmacy educator, pharmacy technician and pharmacy student to do something to show their support in solidarity for the profession,” Ms Reinoso said.
This year, FIP is inviting people to become WPD2021 champions, which involves simply inserting their picture, name and job title and/or organisation into a PowerPoint slide and sending it to the federation so that it can be posted on a Champions Wall. The personalised graphic can also be used by individuals and organisations on their own social media channels, increasing the reach of the campaign across the globe. In addition, this year, 93 days before 25 September, FIP also launched the “193 in 93 Challenge, which is to have colleagues from all 193 United Nations member states, and beyond, represented on the wall (see Box). “The graphic is easy to make and share, and is available in different languages, including Spanish. Using social media is the least we can all do to promote our profession on this special day,” said Ms Reinoso.
Help FIP with its 193 in 93 Challenge
So far, over 200 colleagues covering 115 countries have become WPD2021 champions, publicly pledging their support for the campaign. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of globalisation, but it has also emphasised the value of solidarity. Our hope is that colleagues in every country/state will take part in advocating our great profession this year,” said FIP CEO Catherine Duggan.
Any pharmacist, pharmaceutical scientist, pharmacy educator, pharmacy student or pharmacy technician can become a champion and there is no limit to the number of champions from a single country, state, territory or region. FIP is, however, asking all colleagues to take a look at list of countries and states represented so far and to help fill in the gaps, either by becoming champions themselves or by spreading the word to colleagues in missing countries and asking them to support the campaign. Click here for more information.
FIP will also be marking World Pharmacy Week, from 19 to 25 September, with a series of events, which include webinars on supporting mental health and wellbeing, health literacy and pharmacy intelligence. Click here for more information. We hope you will join us!