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[e-drug] Literature Review on pharmaceutical workforce

E-DRUG: Literature Review on pharmaceutical workforce
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Dear e-druggers,

A couple of months ago I posted a message on e-drug asking for information 
on the pharmaceutical workforce in sub-Saharan Africa for my Master Thesis.
You will find below the executive summary of the finalized paper. Please 
feel free to contact me at anke.meiburg@gmx.de if you are interested in 
the whole paper. I will be happy to send it to you as pdf-file.

Kind regards

Anke Meiburg
Pharmacist, MScIH
c/o Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network EPN
Musa Gitau Road
P.O.Box 73860 - 00200
Nairobi, Kenya
mobile: +254 737 563314
mail to: anke.meiburg@gmx.de


Distribution of and Possible Retention-Strategies for Pharmacists and 
Other Pharmaceutical Cadres in the Public and Private-Not-For-Profit 
Sector. A literature review with focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Master's thesis submitted to the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 
Freie Universität and Humboldt Universität Berlin in partial fulfilment 
of the requirements for the award of a Master of Science Degree in 
International Health

Pharmacists are the third largest group of health workers (FIP, 2006) 
and play an important role within the health system with regard to 
access to essential medicines, rational use of drugs and the provision 
of high quality pharmaceuticals for the population. In line with these 
aspects, the traditional pharmacist's role has changed toward a role 
that increasingly focuses on pharmaceutical care (Awad et al., 2006).
Despite the global health workforce crisis, publications in reference to 
the pharmaceutical workforce hardly exist.

This literature review aims at describing the workforce imbalances of 
pharmacists and other pharmaceutical cadres in the public/not-for-profit 
sector in sub-Saharan Africa and at assessing underlying factors and 
proposed strategies to improve distribution and retention. The review 
takes account of the changed professional role of pharmacists and 
relates it to the workforce issues.

Due to the limited number of publications on the pharmaceutical 
workforce, the review includes peer-reviewed articles as well as grey 
literature.

The results illustrate characteristics of the pharmaceutical workforce. 
Furthermore, factors contributing to the crisis and opinions of 
pharmacists and pharmacy students concerning job satisfaction, retention 
and migration are discussed.

This review shows clearly that the pharmacists' workforce is 
experiencing a crisis similar to that of the overall health workforce 
with comparable factors leading to the crisis. However, this review 
reveals exceptional points which highlight the need of strategies to 
improve the workforce situation being adapted to the pharmaceutical 
workforce.

First, lower level pharmaceutical cadres have been neglected and many 
countries lack even national regulations on these workers. Yet, skill 
balance is important for a well-functioning workforce as it facilitates 
the delegation of tasks and saves scarce resources. Secondly, 
pharmacists frequently reported to not being appreciated within the 
health system and to facing difficulties concerning their professional 
role. This resulted in frustration. A study by Viberg et al. (2007) 
revealed that even among pharmacists diverse perceptions of their own 
role existed. This underlines the need to not only clearly define the 
role of pharmacists, but also to promote it among pharmacists 
themselves, other health professionals and the population. Thirdly, the 
review demonstrates that in contrast to other health workers the 
majority of pharmacists are employed within the private sector. This 
implies the possibility to minimise the shortage of pharmacists by the 
outsourcing of services from the public to private sector pharmacists. 
Finally, the importance of training of the pharmaceutical workforce in 
reference to the described issues is illustrated.

This review not only offers an insight into the issue of the 
pharmaceutical workforce and unique starting points to minimise the 
workforce crisis, but also asks for regulations that ensure the proper 
functioning of a well-balanced pharmaceutical workforce and underlines 
the urgency of further research.



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