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Students, start your own ‘Medicines to Ukraine’ campaign at your university

PDA Student Rep, Nonyelum Anigbo talks about a unique opportunity for pharmacy students to get involved with the worldwide humanitarian campaign 'Medicines to Ukraine' and to develop and demonstrate transferable skills like leadership, project management, and advocacy along the way.

Wed 15th March 2023 The PDA

Over a year ago, Russia invaded Ukraine and as a result, the country is currently in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis. It is vital that access to safe healthcare and medicines is maintained so that patients can continue to be treated during conflict.

PDA Chairman and General Secretary of EPhEU, Mark Koziol developed the ‘Medicines to Ukraine’ campaign with the collective efforts of organisations within EPhEU. ‘Medicines to Ukraine’ was conceived in response to requests for help from EPhEU members in Ukraine. The campaign uses donated funds to purchase required medicines centrally from the most appropriate suppliers and delivers them to Ukrainian hospitals.

On 9 February 2023, student members of the PDA were invited to join PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol, for his talk on the role of pharmacists in the Ukrainian crisis, which I had the privilege of co-hosting.

During the webinar, Mark detailed his journey so far in leading this campaign. This ranged from designing awareness posters to raising funds and his first visit to Ukraine to gain a firsthand understanding of the situation.

What Mark learned during his visit to Ukraine was published in a report. These lessons were instrumental in guiding the operations of sending medicines to Ukraine, though that is not the only place these lessons are relevant.

The work of ‘Medicines to Ukraine’ helps to highlight on a global scale the significance of pharmacists and the pharmacy profession in healthcare. It has also inspired us, as global citizens, to get involved and support countries in a humanitarian crisis whenever we can.

How and why pharmacy students should get involved

As pharmacy students, we are not given much exposure to humanitarian issues or taught how pharmacists play a part in these crises. However, even during humanitarian crises, the typical quality and safety assessments that we need to make as pharmacists are still present. Regardless of the setting, patient safety will always be the priority. It is vital that healthcare professionals in crisis zones are able to adapt to ensure that the safety and quality of patient treatment and medicines supply is upheld.

Typically, students are not given the opportunity to get involved with humanitarian campaigns like ‘Medicines to Ukraine’, however, the PDA has opened an exciting opportunity to all pharmacy students! The PDA is encouraging MPharm students to work together in teams to run a campaign at their university. The campaign’s aim is to raise awareness and funds for sending medicines to Ukraine, as well as the role of pharmacists within healthcare.

This is a fantastic opportunity for students to get involved with, as it will give us the opportunity to develop useful transferable skills such as leadership, teamwork, project management, and advocacy.

Each team’s campaign will be judged based on leadership, profile, engagement, innovation, inclusion, and education. The teams that are awarded first, second, and third place will have the opportunity to send one representative to be part of the PDA’s delegation at international pharmacy congresses.

The representative of the team awarded first place will be able to attend FIP’s Congress in Brisbane, Australia and the representative for the teams awarded second and third place will be able to attend EphEU’s Congress in Oslo, Norway.

By Nonyelum Anigbo, PDA Student Rep, Keele University

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