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 School of Pharmacy extends Clinical Pharmacy across the Atlantic

School of Pharmacy extends Clinical Pharmacy across the Atlantic



The student exchange partnership between UWC’s School of Pharmacy and West Virginia University as well as the University of Wisconsin, has developed a programme that aims to embed the practice of clinical pharmacy through a partnership with the Western Cape Department of Health.

The programme focuses on training participants to be global health care practitioners who are able to provide leadership in resource-constrained settings.  One of the goals of the programme is to expose international students to health care settings in developing countries and offer them opportunities to become involved in the clinical management of patients with diseases such as HIV/AIDs and TB. 

Recently four students from West Virginia University’s School of Pharmacy were hosted by UWC at the Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH) for five weeks. During this time the students worked alongside the resident physician and nurse at this facility. Their role was deemed to be so valuable that the KDH has since requested the establishment of a position for a full time pharmacist.

The experience at the KDH was described by a participating student as “… life changing and honestly the best experience of my life.  It was truly challenging for me not only academically, but emotionally as well, and has provided me with priceless personal and professional growth that is beyond what I can describe in words”.

This programme is overseen by UWC’s Dr. Renier Coetzee, who holds a Pharm. D degree and in 2013 he received the Preceptor of the Year award by West Virginia University (see photograph below).

According to Professor Malan, the Director of UWC’s School of Pharmacy, ‘ We are confident that even short-term experiences like these can promote the role and function of the pharmacist in direct patient care and contribute to establishing clinical pharmacy in South Africa.  Programmes such as these provide international students with learning opportunities to improve both direct patient-care skills and cultural competence in environments that are not akin to their clinical pharmacy services. The provision of this type of international experience enables academic pharmacy programmes to participate in the expanding globalization of health care.’

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