Now preparing to celebrate its silver jubilee, the Eritrean Pharmaceutical Association (ERIPA)was established in 1992.
The association was made with a strong vision to enhance the pharmaceutical standard of the professionals and community. Now after twenty five years, ERIPA has managed to overcome the initial challenges any association would tackle and made through unwavering efforts on organizing campaigns to raise awareness of the society and enhance the professional skills of pharmaciststhroughout the country.
Q&A invites two of its board members, Lemlem Hussien and Filimon Tesfai, to talk about the association’s goals and achievements.
Congratulations to ERIPA for its tremendous achievements over the 25 years from Q&A.
- Lemelem Hussien, General Secretary
- -Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Yes, I am Lemlem Hussien Saleh. I was born in the historic Ararb, Sahl in 1991. I went to Asmara College of Health Science and got my degree from the School of Pharmacy. I have beenworking at the Pharmaceutical Department of Orotta Hospital since 2014. I am also the general secretary of ERIPA.
- ERIPA establishment…
The association was established in 1992 with around 40 pharmacists.This number has now grown tremendously, especially since every pharmacy graduate automatically becomes a member.The association was setup to advance the pharmacy profession and promote the welfare of members in giving good service to the society. Which has been a success during the 25 years.
ERIPA was founded; to organize education and training programs, to establish a functional office, produce and distribute publications, encourage research activities, and advocate the rights and interests of the professionals and strengthen collaborative WORKwith the Ministry of Health and other stake holders. These are SOME of the main goals of the association.
- Has the association made impact on the community as well as the individual professionals?
Certainly. Clearly, ERIPA looks after its members. It fights for their rights. It works hard to unite the professionals and seeks for a greater collaborative outcome. It allows them to exercise their profession and expand their knowledgethrough the environment it has offered them to upgrade their skills. In the past 25 years, the association has managed to organize numerous scientific conferences where original research papers and articles were presented and discussed. The association surely has big influence on upgrading the pharmaceutical standard of the individuals and the country, I would say.
Every two years, the association holds scientific conferences where research papers and other issues are discussed. Besides, it publishes a scientific journal, Pharma Focus, which publishes articles on the topicspresented during the conference.The journal is published bi-annually and is given out to the members to keep them informed.
- Anything you would like to say regarding ERIPA’s silver jubilee?
Yes. I want to congratulate the members for their achievements. It is nice to see this big achievement over 25 years. Again, I would like to say that woman empowerment on the Pharmacy Department is an important issue, especially in leadership. I for women to be more active and passionate about the field. We haven’t had that much of a number in the department until now, but, hopefully, we would see an escalation in future.
Again, the pharmacists should take the initiative to advocate the importance of proper drug use. There should be more campaigns in raising the awareness of the community.
- Filimon Tesfai, Vice president for the pharmaceutical science
I was born in 1989. I went to the College of Health Science and got my degree from the School of Pharmacy in 2014. I worked in the Orotta Hospital from 2013 to 2016. I was then re-assigned to work at the NMFA(National Medicine and Food Administration) control unit, and I have been working here for two years as a traditional medicine officer.
- What is your role at ERIPA?
I am the vice-president for the pharmaceutical science. My team’s responsibility is to follow up science related issues of the association.We organize pharmacy week activities, which are the campaigns we take to raise awareness of the society. We also have theresponsibility to publish the Pharma Focus journal.We collect research papers and edit. We interact professionally and discuss issues that would help us grow in the profession.
- The achievements of the association over the past 25 years?
Over the past 25 years, the association has focused on enhancing education and training programs, which was one of its main goals.
Certainly, the association has achieved most of its goals over the years. After carefully studying and analyzing the professional task force and degree of professional scarcity, ERIPA has been activelyworking with the Ministry of Health in all the initiatives taken regarding this concern. As a result, the association made a huge influence in opening up a pharmacy school In Asmara University in 1997 which contributed a big number of pharmacists. The school has also allowed many competent pharmacy technicians to upgrade to B. Pharm level. On top of that, more than 80 ex-fighters who were formerly staff of the ArarbPharmaceuticalwere upgraded to pharmacy technician level in 1995-96. Also, pharmacy technician enrolment started at Asmara Nursing and Medical Technology Institution in 2003.These are some of the triumphsERIPAconsiders to be the biggest because the association has given more emphasis since its establishment,to the human resource challenges it faced. Along with the efforts to upgrade the educational sector, we took initiatives advocating community’s awareness as well. Furthermore, the association has published more than 150 original research papers. Even though the association has succeeded in most of its goals, it has a vision toaccomplish more in the future.
- What are the activities that ERIPA is planning for its silver jubilee?
The association is going to review the success and achievementsit has realized over the years. Asses the past experiences and current status and practices against the association’s goal. So weare also going to publish our bi-annual journal regarding the activities and research papers. We are going to celebrate our silver jubilee in June.
- What does ERIPA expect in the future?
More active members. That is for certain. Also, we would like to think that the association would be more influential on upgrading the pharmacy standard of the country, and the standard of individual pharmacists. Medical work is a collaborative work and, as such, the pharmacistsshouldbe professional in doing their job.
- Anything you would like to add?
I want to mention how grateful we all are to our senior members. They give young pharmacists the platform to be creative and to work. They allow them to come in the leading role of the board and allows us to have the leadership experiences. Again, I hope to see more young members work hard for the advancement of the association.