In the 1990s, after decades of civil war and the Khmer Rouge regime, the Cambodian health system had been left devastated. Most of the infrastructure had been destroyed and doctors and pharmacists were sorely lacking. To help the country recover, international aid poured in.
This was the context in which Fondation Pierre Fabre, alongside the Fondation Mérieux, chose to finance and oversee construction of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Phnom Penh. Between 2001 and 2003, a fully equipped, 2200m² building took shape on the campus of the University of Health Sciences, near the medical and dentistry schools, the Institut Pasteur, the Institut du Coeur, and the Calmette Hospital.
Soon, however, the Foundation began concentrating on the project’s central issue: training. Together with Professor Jean Cros, Cambodian teachers and academics from Marseille, the Foundation revamped the pharmaceutical curricula to better meet local public health needs. A doctoral training programme was also established, leading to the graduate degree (DES) in medications. Further, as a true school needed to be able to perform research, a lab opened in 2005. Having a phytochemistry focus, the lab is managed with the Pierre Fabre Research Institute. At the same time, the Foundation subsidised and organised teaching assignments to educate students and train trainers. Scholarships made it possible for the brightest students to specialise and move toward teaching or research.
Objective: to consolidate the country’s entire drug chain to improve health and battle counterfeiting.
The Faculty of Phnom Penh now had its own teaching staff and welcomes one hundred students per class. Such autonomy meant Fondation Pierre Fabre ended its involvement in 2007. Nevertheless, the adventure continues through the Master Mekong Pharma offered with the Faculty’s collaboration since 2012.