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FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN African Centre of Excellence in Pharmacy Education

Pharmacy Department of College of Medicine joins African Centre of
Excellence in Pharmacy Education

Access to medicines, and correct use of drugs, are cornerstones of
health care. In 2006, the College of Medicine in Blantyre established
the first academic training programme for pharmacists in Malawi, to help
addressing the wide-spread problems of drug shortages, inappropriate
quality of medicines, and irrational use of drugs. The successful
development of this academic department has now been internationally
recognized in a ceremony which took place in Blantyre on Saturday June
13th. Representatives of the International Pharmaceutical Federation
(FIP), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), signed an agreement with College of
Medicine which makes the young Pharmacy Department a new member of the
FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN African Centre of Excellence in Pharmacy Education.
This Centre of Excellence comprises outstanding schools of pharmacy, so
far from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia and now Malawi. It is a
UNESCO sponsored initiative hosted under the UNITWIN scheme (for
university-twinning). This UNITWIN collaboration is the first ever in
the field of higher education for health professionals and the first for
global pharmaceutical education. In bringing together pharmacy schools
from all regions of the world with UNESCO and FIP, the UNITWIN Network
in Global Pharmacy Education Development (GPhEd) will enable
synchronised and powerful development in pharmacy and pharmaceutical
sciences education and improve communication for scientific innovation,
healthcare outcomes, and ultimately, the attainment of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs).
The signing of the agreement took place during the 3rd Annual Summit of
the FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN African Centre of Excellence, held on June 12 and
13 in Blantyre upon invitation of College of Medicine, University of
Malawi. This meeting was attended by participants from 10 different
countries, including the President of the Academic Section of FIP, Prof.
Ralph Altiere, University of Colorado, USA, and the Director of the
Centre of Excellence, Prof. Jennifer Marriott, Monash University,
Australia. Dr. Mwapatsa Mipando, Acting Prinicipal of the College of
Medicine, signed the membership agreement. Mrs. Nettie Dzabala MSc
Pharm, Head of Pharmacy Department, signed an additional Memorandum of
Understanding between the Pharmacy Department and FIP regarding a
collaborative project termed “Lab Box Project”. Under this project, FIP
has provided 50 boxes with basic laboratory equipment for lab practicals
within the pharmacy training at College of Medicine.

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