By: Pharm Andrew Annan, MPSGH, BPharm
(Member, AGM 2022 Publicity Sub-Committee)
Posted on 8th April, 2022

Three years ago, ahead of what would be the worst pandemic the world had faced in recent history, we gathered in Accra to discuss the theme “Pharmacy in a Digital World”. This theme proved to be a very apt choice for the ensuing year in which most interactions were conducted digitally at a safe social distance. Digital solutions became more essential than ever before and the ability to increase access to reliable healthcare no matter the distance, location and time was imperative. Today with the E-Pharmacy project due to kick off soon, we are well poised to make the third sustainable development goal, universal health coverage, an achievement of note in Ghana. Pharmacy in a Digital World included assessing where Pharmacy Practice was, and that was exactly the theme selected for the next annual general meeting which was held fully online. In that virtual meeting, PSGH assessed the number and presence of pharmacists in pharmacies, the impact of pharmacists in the communities working to  ensure that patients have access to quality medicines and healthcare, and also how we could better equip pharmacists to contribute more to community health through services like vaccination, and specialisation in various fields. We dug further into the world of pharmacy post COVID-19 and how we could adapt to the new normal to enhance our service provision in the future.

This backdrop set the stage for the general election in 2021, dominated by campaigns for election of our new leaders. It saw, for the first time, unprecedented levels of information and campaign promises circulating on social media from candidates. At a time widely regarded by all as key for the profession, the theme “Pharmacy, Pharmacists and the PSGH”,  was selected for AGM 2021. It spoke of a new dawn for the profession and the society.

This year, we are heading to Tamale! Tamale is one of the largest cities in Ghana with a population of over 650,000 people. It is a rapidly developing city, noted for its agricultural produce, being the most fertile land in the nation. The Tamale Teaching Hospital is the regional hospital for the Northern region of Ghana and serves as a referral hospital for all the northern regions. Despite many over the counter medicine sellers in the region, there has been a growing shift of the citizenry to patronising pharmacies for basic healthcare needs. This shift is mirrored by the rapidly developing pace of the city, with Tamale once voted the fastest growing economy in West Africa. With approximately 80 pharmacies and a ratio of one pharmacist to 50,000 patients, there is huge room for expansion in the pharmaceutical infrastructure. The University of Development Studies (UDS) has followed in the footsteps of its sister universities to start the training of pharmacists at the School of Pharmacy contributing to the over 500 professionals being added to the profession annually. What does the future hold for the growing numbers of pharmacy graduates? What does it hold in terms of the entire workforce and the opportunities therein? It is in this regard the theme for this year was aptly chosen – “Optimising the Pharmaceutical Workforce in a Rapidly Developing World.”

The Northern Regions are rich in cultural heritage with finger-licking staple foods like Tuo Zaafi; architectural masterpieces such as the Larabanga Mosque in Damongo, Savannah Region and breath-taking attractions like the Mole National Park. This years’ Annual General Meeting will build on all the gains of the past few years and push us further upwards, to the north!

Get your smock ready as you definitely do not want to miss out experiencing this AGM in person. Join us as we journey to the North to discover in person or online the delights of the third largest city in Ghana. Tamale Kawula!

About Author
Andrew Annan is a pharmacist with over 5 years’ experience in community pharmacy and retail operations, working across over 10 retail and wholesale pharmacy locations. He’s an advocate for preventive medicine and is leading a charge to usher in a new paradigm of patient-centered care that impacts citizens of Ghana and beyond starting with his health blog He’s a published author in the GCP Journal and a contributor to the Apothecary Newsletter, the official newsletter of all Ghana based pharmacists. He serves as a member of the PSGH Editorial board and in the executive body of the Greater Accra chapter of the PSGH as a media coordinator.