Rwanda to host continental pharmacy symposium

The fourth African Pharmaceutical Students’ Symposium is scheduled to take place in Kigali July 9-14 bringing together over 300 participants from all over African continent.

The participants will be pharmacy students, recent graduates and pharmacy professionals under International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF) and will be coordinated by the University of Rwanda, Rwanda pharmacists Association, and National Pharmacy Council

Marie Ange Uwase, the chairperson of the event’s organizing committee said that the forum will be vital in bringing on board expert views which improve the profession and its practices on the continent.

She said that the symposium will also enable African countries to come up with similar models of pharmacy policies, measures to streamline the practices and guidelines of pharmacists’ organisations.

Rwanda is expected to benefit as the country struggles with making medicine available and accessible to the public.

Since 1996, the Government undertook a series of studies, and has held numerous discussions on the pharmaceutical sector in conjunction with its national and international partners to make essential drugs accessible to all the people of Rwanda as part of its health policy.

With the growing healthcare sector, the need for medicine and other health facilities has automatically increased in Rwanda, a country with an estimated 11 million people (Index Mundi 2011est) .

Despite the fact that the government has established pharmacies in each of the 30 districts of Rwanda, there is need to have investment in medical supplies and pharmaceuticals since Rwanda depends largely on imported medicine from India, Europe, Kenya and South Africa among others.

There is only one small scale drug manufacturing Plant -The Pharmaceutical Laboratory of Rwanda-LABOPHAR, located in Huye District (Southern Province), 136 km from the capital Kigali, LABOPHAR and is composed of two factories; Non Sterile and the Sterile Drugs Production Units.

Joseph Kabatende, Pharmacy Policy Formulation expert in the ministry of Health says this is a small factory that produces a very small number of pharmaceutical supplies.

“We wish to encourage investors to invest in this area- since Rwanda is very strategic in the regional market,” Kabatende says.

The third African Pharmaceutical Students’ Symposium took place in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2014, where Rwanda was chosen to be the next host in 2015.