An Update from Dr. James Barnacle
Managing the drug supply of a hospital in Malawi can be very challenging, which is a key part of overall hospital management. Often, the drugs available for us to order will change, or they may become unavailable with little to no notice. We can seek drug donations or use gifts from generous donors to get the necessary treatment for our patients, but this too is complicated. Donated supplies may not align with the hospital’s needs, and we must always be careful about our expenses against incoming charitable gifts. In other words, there is always a balance when choosing the right drugs at the right prices for patients.
That’s why we introduced the Daeyang Luke Hospital Drug and Therapeutic Committee, which met for the first time in January. This committee will ensure the availability of safe, high-quality drugs at Daeyang Luke Hospital, as well as monitor drug use in the hospital and minimize medication errors. The multi-disciplinary committee includes clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, accounts and admin staff and meets every two weeks to discuss the progress of current issues and any new issues.
How the Committee is Impacting the Hospital
There has been some great progress so far. Most significantly, our new 24-hour pharmacy allows clinicians, patients and nurses to access medications at any time of the day. This was possible following the appointment of a new pharmacy technician, Mayeso, and we are very grateful to the pharmacy staff who are now working nights as well as days.
Other successes have been the development of a Daeyang Luke Essential Medicines List. This is a drug formula of the medications we should have on hand, and it will guide donations and drug purchases. Morphine is now available for patients, which will transform our pain management and palliative care services, and emergency TB medications are also available 24/7.
In ongoing efforts to keep everyone informed, our head pharmacist now publishes a weekly bulletin for clinicians and nurses to let us know what is available that week.
We welcome staff comments or suggestions on further improving the drugs we have available, how drug safety can be better for patients, and how they find the pharmacy at Daeyang Luke Hospital. Our hospital management will continue to improve if we are all involved in providing feedback and ideas. Please give your suggestions to the head pharmacist.