Pharmacy Assistants to improve health service care in rural areas


The Ministry of health says the 50 Pharmacy Assistants that have been trained in medicines management and supply chain practices will help to support the country’s rural health centers.

The Training Program in Malawi is being done through a collaboration between the Ministry of Health, the U.S. Government through the USAID, Deliver Project, the Malawi College of Health Sciences, University of Washington Global Medicines Program, and Seattle-based NGO VillageReach.

Health Technical Support Services Deputy Director for the Ministry of Health Albert Khuwi says the Pharmacy Assistants who are expected to graduate on Friday will strengthen health systems in the country through improved medicines information management.


“The program produces a dedicated cadre of individuals with enhanced training in medicines management and supply chain practices to eventually support each of Malawi’s 650 rural health centers.

“The Pharmacy Assistants will go a long way to improve the quality of health service delivery in rural areas, as well as strengthening health systems in the country through improved medicines information management that the government can rely on and use to serve people better,” says Khuwi.

According to a press statement made available to The Daily Times, Malawi has no dedicated pharmacy personnel at the health center level, leading to unsafe dispensing practices and inefficient supply chain management.


During the two-year program, students complete two five-month practicums in district hospitals and rural health centers, in addition to classroom-based learning.

“The emphasis in practical experience allows students to make an almost immediate impact in rural pharmacies where overburdened and undertrained personnel struggle to meet the demands placed on them,”it says.

“This visionary program addresses one of the most critical issues facing many countries—shortages of qualified pharmacy workers. On behalf of my colleagues at the University of Washington, I congratulate the graduates,” commented Andy Stergachis, Professor and Associate Dean of the UW School of Pharmacy.

And USAID/Malawi’s Deputy Health Office Director Lilly Banda adds,”The U.S. Government is proud of this successful partnership with the Government of Malawi, VillageReach, The Malawi College of Health Sciences, and the University of Washington, and very proud of the 20 USAID-sponsored students who graduated today.  We are confident that these new Pharmacy Assistants will contribute greatly to the improvement of Malawi’s health sector.”

The program was launched in 2011 with funding support from the Barr Foundation, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, and Vitol Foundation.

The current program will graduate two more cohorts, placing an additional 148 Pharmacy Assistants at rural health centers by 2017.




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