Despite a life expectancy of 63 years of age, higher than the average in sub-Saharan Africa, Togo suffers from high rates of maternal and infant mortality. The government responded to this situation in 2010 by joining the International Health Partnership and related initiatives (IHP+), then by unveiling the 2012-2015 National Health Development Plan. Among the objectives was strengthening the national pharmaceutical system and its drug management capabilities.
This substantial political will, boosted by the presence of key personalities at the University of Lomé, led Fondation Pierre Fabre to support the pharmaceutical curriculum of the Joint Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy. When the Foundation first undertook this project in 2011, there was no dedicated faculty for this course material: the classes were given by professors from the Faculty of Science and speakers from Senegal and Burkina Faso.
With help from its scientific advisor, Jean Cros, and Senegalese, Burkinabe and French academics, the Pierre Fabre Foundation first assessed the educational content. Overall, taking into account local health needs, the team updated and expanded the content of the pharmaceutical disciplines in chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and pharmaceutical technology, respecting the educational syllabus deliberated by the ECOWAS for the whole of West Africa. It was a lengthy process first begun in 2011, only to be completed at the end of 2015. Within the framework of the five-year National Health Development Plan launched in 2017 by the health authorities of Togo, one of the components of which is devoted to strengthening the national pharmaceutical system, the Pierre Fabre Foundation has committed itself to participate in the consolidation of the pharmacy sector of the University of Lomé. This new phase of support is focused on the continuing education of university pharmacists through the funding of Master’s, doctoral and agrégation scholarships. The partnership agreement also provides for support in structuring the sector, the acquisition of teaching materials and the implementation of teaching, particularly practical teaching, which is essential for the quality of training.
Today, the University of Lomé’s pharmacy programme has around 200 students. Graduates are destined to work in hospitals, analysis laboratories, pharmacies and the Centrale d’Achat des Médicaments Essentiels (public structure in charge of supplying medicines). This is a major challenge in a country that only had 230 pharmacists for 7 million inhabitants in 2015.