Ten years after its establishment, the African Pharmaceutical Forum (APF) has formerly launched a website. According to Pharm. Anthony Akhimien, APF president, the website, sponsored by Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, will help to strengthen information system and encourage collaboration with various partners and stakeholders in the continent and the world generally.
APF is one of the 6 regional forums of the International Pharmaceutical Forum (IPF) in corporation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) with the aim of increasing partnership, dialogue, understanding and activity in different world regions enabling pharmacy profession to have greater impact on improving pharmacy services and healthcare by focusing on distinct , local and regional needs.
Akhimien, said the launch of the website came late because of language barrier among its member groups from different countries in Africa and low level of activity in most Pharmacy National Associations in Africa. He noted that the problems of language barrier even extends to their meeting as they found it difficult to settle on a particular language whether French, English, Portuguese or other to use but however affirmed that such barrier has been arrested with the multilingual structure of the website.
“This forum is about 10 years and one would ask why a website after almost ten years. This is not unconnected with some challenges like language barriers, low level of activity in most pharmacy National Associations in Africa. Today’s website launch will indeed help to strengthen information system and encourage collaboration with various partners and stakeholders in the continent generally. The website is robust and multilingual and issue of language barrier has been addressed.”
He said APF also hopes to use the website to connect to regulatory bodies and manufacturers to standardize the pharmacy profession and also control the distribution of fake and substandard drugs within the continent. “Africa as a developing part of the world needs to raise standard of pharmacy practice the way they have done it in England, ensure that pharmaceutical care is of importance; it is not just giving the drugs but the quality of drugs is also guaranteed by member countries using the network because we are going to connect to all stakeholders.”
The multilingual website is said to have about five lingual-franca of African nations which include: Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English and the beauty of it is that the website is able to convert articles posted in any of the recognised languages to whichever of the African languages of the visitor’s choice.