Until recently, cancer patients at Tikur Anbessa Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, were unable to receive chemotherapy for a wide variety of cancers.
Two students from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, in Ethiopia as part of the Global Pharmacy Scholars program, noticed this limitation and worked with the hospital to develop a training program so the hospital’s pharmacists could begin administering treatment.
“They noticed this gap in the pharmacists’ role in chemotherapy and developed a review guide that is now part of the curriculum at the clinic and at Addis Ababa University,” said Benyam Muluneh, Pharm.D., a clinical pharmacy practitioner at UNC Hospitals and an assistant professor of clinical education at the school. “It’s incredible to see that kind of impact for our students in an international setting — going beyond simply shadowing to actually affect change in the clinic.”
The group is also working with Tikur Anbessa to design and construct a cancer registry to better understand the epidemiology of cancers and assess ways to change chemotherapy and care to best serve patients.
“In 20 or 30 years, those Addis Ababa University students are going to be leading the pharmacy profession, with the potential to revolutionize the field in Ethiopia,” said Muluneh. Additionally, the Carolina participants “learned how to be advocates for the pharmacy profession — a skill they can use to advance pharmacy at home.”