Violet Zamasonya, Pharmacy Assistant

The following is a student essay by Violet Zamasonya,  a graduate of the Pharmacy Assistant Training Program. Violet graduated at the top of her class on June 19, 2015.  To see more photos of students and the graduation day  events,  visit us on our Facebook page here.

I can’t wait to be in this new role within rural pharmacies, and to help underserved communities.

Pharmacy Assistant, Malawi

Graduation Day

It has always been my desire and interest to work with Government as a trained pharmacy professional. When I saw the school’s advertisement, I decided to take advantage of it.  Many individuals applied through the interview process, and I feel fortunate to be one of the few that made it into the program.

The program lived up to my expectations. I enjoyed the combination of theory in class and practice both at the district hospital and also at the health center.  The practical training exposed us to a lot of real situations which we could not have learned in class. This made the program more exciting to me, and also helped to prepare us for the challenges we would face once deployed.

I can forsee a great improvement in several important areas  within the pharmacies we will work in:

1) Safer dispensing practices. Because we are trained in pharmacology and pharmaceutics, we will be able to provide a good service at the dispensing window to people in rural communities. I am very sure that if patients are provided with necessary, complete information they will better understand how to take medicines and this will increase compliance on the use of medicines.

2) Improved access to medicines in rural communities.  Since we will be managing stocks and stock records, medicines will be ordered in good time and also we will be able to identify potential stock out situations before they happen, and eliminate avoidable stock outs. This should help us improve both access to medicines and also good quality health care service.

During my attachment both at district hospital and health centers, I learned about the following challenges at rural health facilities, which helped me to prepare for these situations when I am deployed:

  • Deliveries that are made to health facilities are not always in accordance with the request made by facilities. Most of the time, facilities get less than what they have requested in their requisitions.
  • Deliveries of some commodities are very erratic in the sense that some months will go by without getting any delivery of those commodities.
  • I may not always have all the necessary tools for me to function at the maximum level. For instance, dispensing trays may not be available, hence I may have to improvise where possible.

Despite these challenges, I still anticipate a lot of positive contributions to be made once we are deployed to facilities. I will help to reduce government expenditure in medicines and medical supplies by reducing avoidable expiry of medicines  due to poor reporting, stockroom  management, or poor record-keeping.  All of this will improve the LMIS reports the government uses for accurate forecasting.

I wanted to work in the health sector. It is so exciting to be assured of employment in the public sector where I can grow in the profession. This gives me a clear path towards my career.  From here, I will do a technician diploma, then a degree. I want to take my career as far as I can.   This program is the start of my path toward success, and the start of positive changes for rural health centers in Malawi.

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