Celebrating a decade of Pharmacy excellence

From left: YBhg Dato’ Professor Ir Dr Mohd Saleh Jafar and Professor Andrew Walker

The School of Pharmacy turned 10 this month and to celebrate, they hosted a symposium on the future of pharmacy education. On 2 May 2019, experts and educators from across the region gathered to discuss the theme ‘Pharmacy Education: Challenges and Advancement’. Participants at the symposium considered how best to educate the next generation of pharmacists and how to equip them for the changes ahead.

“Intellectual discussions such as this symposium is important not only in addressing the growth of Pharmacy education, but also in developing skills using state-of-the-art technology, further equipping the younger generations towards marketability. It is a great platform to discuss the contribution of the pharmaceutical industry towards the nation, as well as to deliberate comprehensive teaching methods, to transform the modern pharmacist for social and national benefits,” said YBhg Dato’ Professor Ir Dr Mohd Saleh Jafar, Deputy Director-General of Higher Education for the Private Sector at the Ministry of Education, Malaysia.

Professor Mohd Saleh Jafar, who officiated the event, also congratulated the university for playing a role in progressing higher education in Malaysia, towards being a globally-connected educational hub recognised internationally for its academic research and excellence.

Professor William Charman, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University Australia outlined the state of the pharmacy education today around the world. He acknowledged that while it is continually improving, the system is strained by various factors.

However, the crucial role of pharmacy in the global healthcare context cannot be underestimated. This is because it is strongly rooted in three out of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

With the healthcare sector being one of the world’s fastest-growing employers, Professor Charman stressed the need to focus on developing more interpersonal and multi-disciplinary training in pharmacy students. This will in turn see graduates who are globally-connected, and open to collaborations and partnerships.

“There can be no health care without a healthcare workforce. There is a requirement for 40 million new jobs in healthcare within the next 11 years, as outlined by the World Health Organization,” he shared.

Health care and healthcare education need greater improvement to lower the risks of inappropriate use of medicines, which causes adverse effects costing more than the value of medicines alone.

Exciting new roles beckon for the future modern pharmacist, including deeper accountability for medicine safety, primary care functions for non-communicable diseases, transitioning care from hospital to home, and embracing technologies ethically towards digital transformation and mobile health.

“We want to future-proof students by equipping them with the skills, competencies and attitudes which will never be automated or replaced. It is the students who will be the leaders of change. To do this, we will need passionate, creative, and committed educators working together to make education and healthcare better. That is the leading approach to education healthcare delivery in the future,” concluded Professor Charman.