The 7th Medication Safety Conference, held from November 7th – 9th 2014 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, featured a presentation and workshop presented by Global Medicines Program faculty. The Conference attracted some 1,000 delegates primarily from the Gulf region. Dr. Andy Stergachis spoke on improving medication safety in community pharmacy: evidence, challenges and opportunities. Additionally, he led a workshop on the art of patient counseling. In his presentation, Stergachis noted that community pharmacists play a key role in preventing adverse drug events and improving patient safety. Among the features of community pharmacy that contribute to improved medication safety are the use of technologies, the enhanced knowledge and skill base of pharmacists and other pharmacy staff, the conduct of medication reviews such as drug utilization reviews at the time of dispensing, and continuous quality improvement initiatives. The presentation included a review the evidence-base on medication safety issues and practices in community pharmacy settings and illustrated challenges and opportunities for improving medication safety in community pharmacy settings.
The Global Medicines Program is working to improve the safety and quality of medicines worldwide.
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The annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) held from November 2-6, 2014 in New Orleans, provided opportunities for Global Medicines Program faculty and students to interact with leaders in the field of malaria prevention and treatment during pregnancy. During the ASTMH meeting, the Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium (MiPc) held a Joint Executive Committee and Investigators (EC/IC) Committee meeting where progress was reviewed for both the Safety Working Group and the Assessment of the Safety of Antimalarials during Pregnancy (ASAP) study.
In September and October 2014, Global Medicines Program faculty and UW students – Andy Stergachis and Marita Mann, PhD student and Adrian Hughes, PharmD student – were in Namibia supporting their country’s medication safety initiatives, including their sentinel site-based active surveillance pharmacovigilance activity and participation in a training in northern Namibia. Active surveillance pharmacovigilance systems better estimate the burden of adverse events and can generate information to allow for more efficient use of medicines.
Clinical Professor, Don Downing, along with 40 UW Pharmacy students, 2 Seattle physicians, 2 additional Seattle pharmacists, and a physical therapist came together to provide global medical care in the remote village of Namanji, Nicaragua, from June 16th through June 22nd 2014. Supported by Seattle-based Global Brigades, these self-funded students and providers provided care to almost 900 patients – many of whom traveled great distances to receive basic health care.
In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), health systems have historically focused on the prevention and treatment of highly prevalent and frequently fatal acute infectious illnesses such as malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. However, due to changes in health risks, LMIC are experiencing an increasing burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in addition to the existing problems of infectious diseases.
A new report on drug and vaccine safety in global health, co-authored by Thomas Bollyky, Senior Fellow, Council for Foreign Relations, and Andy Stergachis, is now available. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this report is the product of the Safety Surveillance Working Group, a year-long initiative to develop a practical, scalable strategy for improving drug and vaccine safety in low- and middle-income countries.
The Global Medicines Program has been awarded a three-year grant from the Barr Foundation to evaluate a pharmacy assistant (PA) training program in Malawi. Joseph Babigumira will lead the study to evaluate the potential impact of the training program on morbidity and mortality due to illnesses that are the highest contributors to mortality among children under five years of age in Malawi – malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea.
Andy Stergachis, along with faculty from Ukraine, conducted a 5-day training workshop titled, “Pharmacovigilance of Medicines for HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in Ukraine” December 9-13, 2013 in Kiev. The training workshop was developed and offered by the Ukraine National Training Center (UNTC), with support from the UW International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH). In addition to Stergachis, the faculty consisted of the head of infectious diseases, Gromashevskiy Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine (NAMSU); the Head of the Physiology Department, Yanovsky Institute for and Pulmonology of NAMSU; and the Director of the Department of Post-Registration Surveillance, State Expert Center of Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine, which is their national pharmacovigilance center.
Lou Garrison and Joseph Babigumira conducted a 3-day workshop titled, “Applying Pharmacoeconomics to Essential Medicines Selection: Strengthening Health Technology Assessment in Namibia” August 27-29, 2014 in Windhoek, Namibia. The workshop was offered in conjunction with Management Sciences for Health (MSH) through the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program. The three-day workshop was attended by nearly three dozen participants from academia (including lecturers from the University Of Namibia School Of Pharmacy), essential medicines committees, and government. MSH staff members also attended, including Evans Sagwa, Country Project Director – SIAPS/SCMS Namibia, and Greatjoy Mazibuko, Senior Technical Advisor, CPM/SIAPS.