Following on from the work it carried out in Benin from 2002 to 2010 in support of the National Quality Control Agency (ANCQ), in 2021, the Fondation Pierre Fabre embarked on a 5-year project to assist the Faculty of Pharmacy in Cotonou. The goal: to consolidate the training options available to pharmacists and drug specialists, and create a regional network of experts capable of helping to combat counterfeit medicines.
A NATIONAL POLICY PROMOTING HIGH-QUALITY MEDICINES
As is the case in most medical fields, Benin has to cope with a shortage of pharmacists, with just nine pharmacists for 100,000 inhabitants in 2020. The country’s Chamber of Pharmacists had 651 listed members.
Despite this shortage, which is most acutely felt in public institutions and hospitals, Benin has led several initiatives to promote the control and quality of medicines during the past few years. In 2009, it was the driving force behind The Cotonou Declaration calling for an end to counterfeit medicines. The government recently set up an action plan encouraging the opening of pharmaceutical dispensaries in the country’s most hard-to-reach regions. Those commitments prompted the World Bank to fund a new building to host the ANCQ, on which work got underway in 2021.
BOOSTING THE RESOURCES OF THE FACULTY OF PHARMACY
The Fondation Pierre Fabre is committed to supporting the government of Benin by providing operational support for the Faculty of Pharmacy in the form of additional training resources (level of qualification and specialties) and by developing academic activities. The project also involves improving infrastructure as well as furnishing and equipping classrooms for practical exercises. Moreover, the Foundation provides assistance to help teaching staff identify other resources with the ultimate aim of making the structure financially independent.
These advances will enable the faculty to train first-rate specialists who are able to meet Benin’s needs, while at the same time opening up career prospects for young graduates beyond pharmaceutical dispensaries to academic structures and public or private institutions (ANCQ, hospitals, biomedical analysis laboratories, pharmaceutical and agri-food industry). Professionalizing the sector is an effective way of supporting the progress of health programs in Benin.
MAKING THE FACULTY PART OF A REGIONAL NETWORK OF EXPERTS
The second part of the project involves facilitating interaction between the Faculty of Pharmacy in Cotonou and its neighbors in Sub-Saharan Africa, working to create a training network in the pharmaceutical sciences (WEAQUAM = West to East Africa Quality Medicines Network). The aim is to unite all professionals in the field of medicines so they can work together to promote the control and quality of medicines.
Initial interaction will focus on the Pharmacy program at the University of Lomé in Togo, to which the Foundation also provides operational support.