Training pharmacists: initial progress report on the “Faphala” programme in Laos


Support for the Vientiane Faculty of Pharmacy: improving pharmacists’ skills and facilitating access to medicines

Teacher training, curriculum updates, acquisition of laboratory classroom equipment: the Fondation Pierre Fabre takes stock of the first year of the five-year skills-development project at the Vientiane Faculty of Pharmacy.

This past 20 March marked the annual meeting of the Educational Committee (Comité Pédagogigue) of the Faphala project, led by the Fondation Pierre Fabre in partnership with the Faculty of Pharmacy of Laos, designed to strengthen the skills of teaching staff. This project, first introduced in 2017 for a five-year period, is part of a partnership programme that began in 2005 and that has made possible significant material upgrades and quality improvement in a variety of areas. The Vientiane Faculty of Pharmacy also offers the Master Mekong Pharma, introduced by the Fondation Pierre Fabre in 2012.

This new support phase addresses a major concern: in-service teacher training. This is a vital need, critical to the quality of the education given the country’s future pharmacists, a need that can be met through regional and international exchanges.

The Faphala project addresses this issue and provides a comprehensive response to this need; it is founded on two pillars:

– Developing skills through partnerships with the French Universities of Angers, Paris-Descartes and Toulouse and with the Faculties of Pharmacy at the Mahasarakham and Khon Kaen universities and hospitals in Thailand ;
– Supporting curriculum content updates and improvements, and implementing practical laboratory classwork.

2017 review and outlook

Some twenty participants, partner representatives and project beneficiaries attended the Educational Committee meeting. The reported advances included :

– Skills development: sixteen teachers have completed continuing-education modules, four have completed an internship at Thai universities and hospitals, two are preparing a Master’s degree and two a PhD ;
– Purchase of scientific equipment to create practical laboratory exercises in galenics;
– Installation of a mock pharmacy for student training.

For the year 2018: continued training and implementation of new protocols for practical laboratory work in analytical sciences and medicine control, made possible by the return of an instructor who earned her PhD in Thailand and specialises in this field. Intensified training for fourth- and fifth-year students in dispensing drugs and advising patients.

Also, to ensure the initiatives are effective and beneficial to faculty, students and pharmacists, there will be improved project coordination by virtue of a trained pharmacist serving as Foundation project manager and working with the Vice-Dean of the Faculty. Together, they will form an essential chain of skills, committed to therapeutic support and public health in their country.