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Thursday, 25 September 2014

International Symposium on Medicines and Patient Safety: Kigali, Rwanda – 5th November, 2014

Logo-PharfAEducation on how to ensure safe and effective use of medicines is vitally important for patients and health services.
Registration and abstract submission on the themes below is now open for the International Symposium on Medicines and Patient Safety in partnership with Pharmacology for Africa. The symposium will take place on Wednesday 5th November 2014 in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, under the auspices of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Rwanda.
The 3 major themes of the symposium are:

  • Educating health professionals  in safe and effective use of medicines
  • Regulating drugs, including pharmacovigilance and quality of medicines
  • Reducing harm from high risk medicines and in patients with high risk conditions
University Hospital, Kigali
Key topics to be discussed and welcome as submitted abstracts include

  • education in pharmacology and clinical pharmacology
  • developing good prescribing skills
  • developing rational treatment guidelines
  • drug regulation including quality of medicines
  • Drugs and Therapeutics Committees
  • medicines for non-communicable diseases
  • pharmacovigilance
  • safe systems for using medicines for high risk therapeutic areas, including retroviral disease, maternal and paediatric health, cancer, and renal disease
  • traditional medicines
This Symposium will be of particular interest to health professionals and policy makers
View over Kigali hills
interested in the safe and effective use of medicines.
These include doctors, pharmacists, nurses and managers working in referral, district and community hospitals, community pharmacists, experts interested in the safe regulation and supply of medicines, health professionals interested in pharmacovigilance, and educators interested in postgraduate and undergraduate training of health professionals in clinical pharmacology, therapeutics and safe dispensing.
The symposium will also be of interest to professionals working in NGOs and patient safety organisations concerned with public health and with disease prevention and treatment.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

More on the Ebola West African epidemic from the WHO Ebola Response Team

The WHO Ebola Response Team has reported in the September 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine its analysis of 3343 confirmed and 667 probable Ebola cases collected up to September 14 in 4 of the 5 West African countries to have experienced
Ebola virion CDC Public Health Image Library
cases of Ebola Virus Disease: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The team reports a typical age range of 15-44 years with no difference in gender of those affected. Its estimate of case fatality rate is higher than that noted by the Centers for Disease Control at 71% for people for whom the outcome their infection is known. Based on the number of cases to date, from this they estimate a 95% confidence interval [CI] of 69 to 73% for mortality risk.  The team notes that features of the disease, including a typical incubation period of 11 days to be similar to that for  previous outbreaks. Based on the initial periods of exponential growth of the outbreaks, they have modelled the doubling times are EVD to be 16 days for Guinea, 24 days for Liberia, and 30 days for Sierra Leone, with by November 2 the cumulative reported numbers of confirmed and probable cases predicted to be "5740 in Guinea, 9890 in Liberia, and 5000 in Sierra Leone", i.e. over 20,000 total cases for this EVD epidemic.

The CDC update to 25 September notes a case count for EVD of 6263, with 2917 reported deaths and 3487 laboratory confirmed cases.

More on the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in West Africa

Information on Ebola virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Community work - Umuganda - in Rwanda

Quiet streets on Umuganda morning in Kigali
On Saturday, around 100 members of the international Human Resources for Health faculty and their families met in Rwanda's capital Kigali for early breakfast. We had been invited to join local Rwandans for Umuganda, a countrywide community integration and work programme which takes place thoughout the morning on the last Saturday of the month. No traffic on these mornings is allowed except by permit to contribute to a Umuganda activity. 
Other countries may have community work times on an annual calendar - for example the embryo Mandela birthday (18th July) 67 minutes call for of community contribution in South Africa and internationally; or the annual post-winter melt environmental clean-up by students in Kazakhstan. However the scale of engagement in the Rwandan programme is astonishing, with an estimated up to 80% of those eligible taking part.
 It is estimated that these monthly Rwandan communiity efforts, for example through land clearance and building projects, may be saving the Rwanda economy in the order of $60 million per year.
Rural Rwanda
The traditional form of Umuganda is said to date back at least 150 years, and continues to be coordinated by local village (Umudugudumayors. In modern, post-genocide Rwanda, the Umuganda process has also been applied as an important tool to help to promote local and national integration and reconciliation. Citizens with mental health problems currently may be exempt, however, in recognition of the potential benefits, there are plans to engage these people too in Umuganda, where practical.
We travelled in convoy in small white buses around 10 km into the countryside, passing wetlands and a turbid, storm-swollen river. Once off the excellent main road, we had a challenging drive into the hills, up unmade roads crevassed by early Autumn rains.
Our task was to work with villagers to clear weeds from the brick-walled grounds of the Mwendo 
HRH team and villagers 
Community Hospital, preparing the area for planting vegetables for patients and staff. Under a hot late August sun, we formed a close line, armed with pick-axes, mini-ploughshares and hoes to break the hard earth and remove at least the worst of the deep roots. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy, with frequent ad lib breaks to make new friends. In the background, loudspeakers played cheerful Rwandan instrumental music.
The morning ended suddenly with a call to refreshments - the typical conscious Rwandan
Local HRH staff with Permanent Secretary Dr Solange Hakiba
choice of warm or chilled soft drinks, speeches by local and national Rwandan leaders, and invitations to join energetic village Rwandans in free-for-all dancing.
Our brief first experience of Umuganda showed its power to bring together visitors and Rwandans in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect, while making a modest but real contribution to a local community - a good 300 man and woman hours of tough manual effort donated by and for the community. From our shady marquee, we had however a glimpse of other realities of local cooperative life: an ill farmer borne at speed towards the hospital doors on a makeshift stretcher held shoulder high by four young men.