School of Pharmacy receives advice on sustainability

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A lecturer and coordinator of the School of Pharmacy at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus has offered several recommendations for the sustainability of the recently reopened school in Antigua.

Dr Sandeep Maharaj suggested that it is critical for the administrators of the school here to form synergies with like institutions such as the School of Nursing to share resources as a way of cutting cost.

He also spoke of the importance of developing an international curriculum.

“It is critical that, if you intend to become sustainable, that you develop an international programme in order to attract international students, one that would be above the associates degree and beyond a Bachelor of Science, because it is the way in which the pharmacy profession is going these days,” Maharaj said.

The UWI pharmacy coordinator said, too, that government’s policy position on the school has to be very clear. 

“There are numerous areas that are developing in pharmacy that can assist the economy. What are the incentives, and the curriculum must reflect that level of coordination,” Maharaj said.

The School of Pharmacy, located at the Antigua State College (ASC), was re-opened earlier this month after a two-year hiatus.

The director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health, Alfred Athill, said the school, which had to be closed due to “logistical” and “financial” difficulties, is being re-introduced to fill the demand for pharmacists.

According to him, the profession is seeing a decline in the number of persons practicing, and for every institution or establishment that needs to have a pharmacist, there is always the need to go out of the country to recruit someone.

He also noted that the school had been established while the Holberton Hospital was still in operation, where students received “on the job training” in an apprenticeship system.

The programme was later moved to the Antigua State College (ASC), where formalised classes were established.

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