It’s official, I’m old! I give a lecture to the final year Pharmacy students on ‘safe prescribing for geriatrics ‘ – in their opinion anyone over fifty is old, and by sixty is elderly (so that’ll be me next year). Given that the average life expectancy in Malawi is around sixty I suppose they’ve got a point.
Although I’ve been in email contact, we finally meet the delightful Monalisa, the pharmacist who takes over at Queens when Stan finishes this week. It seems quite amazing that someone who has only just qualified should be running the pharmacy for a tertiary hospital of more than 30 wards and departments.
She’s full of bright ideas and is already popular with many of the clinicians we’ve met. We share some of the issues that have been raised about pharmacy from our various meetings, especially with the supply problems. Clearly some of this is beyond her control but we discuss ways she can improve communication to the departments, and at least make the most of the stocks available.
She’s keen to introduce standard operating procedures (SOP) starting with the pre-packing of medicines and stock control. I’ve promised to send her examples of SOPs so any of my technicians reading this, get your thinking caps on for when I’m back next week!
We also visit a community pharmacy owned by Mr and Mrs Mataya in Central Blantyre, its very impressive and shows what pharmacy can do in Malawi. The young pharmacist, Aggrey, is a classmate of Monalisa, however he’s got the benefit of supervision and training. The pharmacy is bright and clean, with a computer. They also do very smart pre-packs!
Some of the medicines available for sale, as ‘pharmacist initiation’ (our pharmacy only lines) would be Prescription Only in the UK. Community pharmacists in Malawi appear to have a wider range of medicines to recommend although I’m not sure our pharmacists would want them e.g Migril.
The enthusiasm shown by these young pharmacists is a joy to behold and I’ve had a great time with them. They will be a credit to this budding profession.