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IPA in process of drafting pharmacist training modules for COVID-19 vaccination drive

Aims to design the module by mid-January 2021

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To create the required talent pool of COVID-19 vaccinators in India, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) is in the process of designing online and offline training modules for pharmacists. The aim is to help the Government of India in executing the COVID 19 vaccine drive across the country, informed the association. 

The association informed that it is in the process of framing the two-week training modules in consultation with international organisations and it is likely to be ready by mid-January 2021. IPA will share the draft guidelines with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for their guidance.

Outlining the objective of designing these pharmacist training modules, the association said that it is an endeavour to understand global regulatory requirements along with the Indian context. 

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) will become the guiding organisation for the IPA to design this pharmacist training programme.

Reportedly, the IPA was instrumental in developing the Public-Private Partnership model to engage community pharmacists for the National TB control programmes in 2012-13. At that time, it developed training modules for pharmacists jointly with the Central TB Division, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and had trained more than 5000 pharmacists across the country.

Now, for COVID-19 vaccination, the IPA and FIP have made a joint representation to Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to enact the enabling legislation allowing pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

Manjiri Gharat, Vice President- IPA, and chairperson community pharmacy Division IPA said, “IPA has been advocating for a larger role of pharmacists in the healthcare sector. Our aim is to bridge the wide gap, which exists in the healthcare sector pertaining to COVID-19 vaccinators human resources. Considering the required qualified, skilled manpower for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, we feel that pharmacists should be trained and engaged in various public health action plans.”

She added, “In the past, with a collaboration with the MoHFW we engaged the community pharmacists for the National TB control programmes in 2012-13, which was an innovative and historic step, till then pharmacists were never engaged in any national health programme. And then IPA had trained pharmacists for the DOTS TB programme along with District TB officers in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO) Consultants. Thus ensuring consistency of service delivery of the health programme through pharmacists, IPA has a full understanding of the ground realities of pharmacy practice and so will make the training module to suit the Indian situation. It will be made in collaboration with international experts in vaccination and it will be designed considering the skill, knowledge level and working practices of pharmacists.”

“IPA will approach the Government with the training module for guidance and further formalities. And we hope that we would work closely with the Government for training pharmacists, in a similar manner we executed the TB training programme across the country,” she said. 

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