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Friday 26 April 2019
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BLOG: The best job in the world?

My work takes me all over the world, meeting amazing people, seeing memorable sights; it seems as though I am fulfilling the dreams and ambitions of a lifetime!

And yes I am a pharmacist – with over 20 years' hospital experience. That is the ‘passport’ that makes it all possible.

In the last five years, I have been involved in everything from investigating a fatal medication error, developing and running the dispensing of a clinical trial, training in clinical pharmacy, and enabling the chronically mentally ill to access medicines that transformed their lives; I have worked in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nepal and Sierra Leone, both in response to disasters and in a more development role.

There are very few global pharmacist positions advertised but as there is increased focus on the risks associated with sub-standard and counterfeit medicines, many agencies are now recruiting medicines experts. Save the Children UK is building a comprehensive pharmacy team and many countries have created Pharmaciens Sans Frontiers (PSF) volunteer networks which deploy pharmacists to work in development roles.

Furthermore, globally, there is an increased professionalisation of disaster response, with recognition of the fact that 'something is not necessarily better than nothing'. Pharmacists are an essential part of Emergency Medical Teams and can significantly improve the rational and appropriate use of medicines in what are going to be some of the most challenging situations.

What we need now is a cohort of skilled, motivated pharmacists who can bring leadership, knowledge and expertise to the field of humanitarian aid and response. But let's not forget what we get in return… I have learned so much from the most extraordinary pharmacists working in desperate, resource-poor settings with passion and determination, often for very little personal gain.

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