The 2011 World Congress of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is an experience each Pharmacist from developing country will dream of to attend the first time, and will be aimed for, every year thereafter.
The privilege I received as one of the recipients of the travel grant given by the FIP Foundation through the Western Pacific Pharmaceutical Forum lead by Pres. John Ware, is something that I will be forever indebted to. The opportunity given to me by the Foundation allowed me to see my profession as a Pharmacist in a different perspective. From the lessons learned in the sessions, to the learning experiences of other Pharmacists, up to establishing networks and meeting new friends from different countries.
During the Opening Ceremony, I was in awe seeing over 2,000 delegates representing 98 countries; in addition to my amazement is the presence of the President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil along with the Governor of the State of Andra Pradesh, E.S.L. Narasimhan, the Chief Minister of Andra Pradesh, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and the Minister for Medical and Health Affairs of the Government of Andra Pradesh, Dr. D.L. Ravindra Reddy and Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, Assistant Director-General of WHO, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. Having these people in the ceremony made me realize, I am really in a very important congress and should be ready to bring home knowledge and wisdom which I can use to equip other Pharmacists in the Philippines and help improve the Pharmacy practice in my own country.
I attended the Forum for Innovators in Pharmacy Practice hosted by CPS. I was able to acquire additional knowledge in financial decisions to enable the setting of fees for services given by the Pharmacists, and on how Pharmaceutical services can be costed which includes income, expenditure and break even points. The lecture given by Mr. Dennis Helling, Executive Director Pharmacy Operations and Therapeutics of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, motivates me to innovate the Pharmacy Services in my company which is also of the same model of Health Care system. The insights given by Mr. Helling are very significant and relevant to the pharmacy practice in my country. The innovations they applied at Kaiser Permanente can definitely improve the pharmacy services in a developing country such as ours.
Other topics that got my interest are the presentation of the FIP Member Organizations presenting National Updates, FIP Symposium on Counterfeit Medicines, Mapping a new vision – Translating ideas into practice, Innovations to improve teaching and learning, and the Pharmacists and Mass Communication – A job the needs to be done continuously. The learning I acquired from this lectures can be used to fulfill my objectives in attending the World Congress. This can be incorporated to the lectures I am conducting for Pharmacists, Pharmacy Students and Pharmacy Assistants.
Aside from the sessions I attended to, it is also of importance to attend social events and business meetings. The social events allowed me to build networks in different countries. These activity resulted to the preliminary meeting of a regional Young Pharmacists Group (Asia – YPG) represented by five Asian Countries namely, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Philippines. Additional meetings are set as the new group of innovative Young Pharmacists will be conceived to work and boost the National YPGs of different Asian Countries and move as a critical force in improving the practice of Pharmacy in their respective countries. The group will embark on developing young pharmacists in their technical skills as well as Leadership, Integrity, Excellence and Communication skills. Projects to improve collaborative practice was initially discussed which includes Young Pharmacists Exchange Program, aimed to learn the best practices from other countries and apply it to their respective countries, and share inputs as well to improve practice in the host country. YPG Summit was also discussed.
The network established during the Congress also conceived a Joint Project from a group of Young Pharmacists from United Kingdom, Philippines and Malaysia. The project will be focusing on reaching out an underprivileged community in the Philippines through house building, Layman’s forum on rational use of medicines, Medical mission and Seminar for Young Pharmacists.
In summary, the objectives that were set in attending the World Congress of Pharmacists was accomplished and new projects are now conceptualized and awaiting realization all aimed to improve Pharmacy Practice in my country. The Congress experience boost my confidence that there is something we can do to make a change and improve our practice, this also helped me re-align my personal vision and mission as a Pharmacists to concur with the Vision and the Mission of our National Association (Philippine Pharmacists Association) and that of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).
If I were to be given an opportunity to attend the World Congress again through a travel grant, I will be very much honored for it. However, I will be giving this opportunity to other Young Pharmacists to experience what I have experienced. If I may say it, this is a once in a lifetime experience, that every Pharmacists must experience. This World Congress motivates me to do my best to attend the next World Congress in Amsterdam and be part of the Centennial Celebration of the FIP.