MAHE Association of Pharmacy Students (MAPS) under Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences hosted the first ever Good Pharmacy Practice education conference from 2nd-5th March. This was hosted under the banner of the International Pharmaceutical Student Federation(IPSF). At present, MAPS is the only member representing India.
Here we are in conversation with the Chairperson of IPSF Asia-Pacific region, Miss Choi YoonJung about her experience in her role as the chairperson and about her vision and aim with this conference.
MTTN: What does your role as the chairperson of the IPSF-APRO region entail?
Ms. Choi:As the chairperson, all the activities in my region come under me. I divide the work and manpower according to the perspective of the working group. I am also a part of the IPSF Executive Committee so I also have to work on behalf of them in my region. It will take really long to explain what IPSF does. We have a total of 17 executive committees. Except for the President-Elect, President, Congress Chairperson and 5 regional offices, we have 9 executive committees. So as a part of the executive committee, I have to take part in board decisions so that we ensure the mission of IPSF runs smoothly globally. The importance of my role as a Chairperson is more centred to the regional office. The Asia Pacific regional office is my priority and we have 7 regional working groups who all work under me except for the IPC- the immediate past chairperson. My immediate team consists of 5 people. First, the project officer who is in charge of implementing projects according to the IPSF objectives – Public Health, Professional Development and Pharmacy Education. We also have a public relations officer whose major job is the branding of IPSF APRO and also public relations. Then we have the regional relationship officer who is in charge of working with representatives from various countries, communicating with them, clarifying problems in the association, providing them with the help they need and motivating them to be active in IPSF. Also, we have students exchange programmes which come under the regional relationship officer. Lastly, we have the APPS Chairperson whose role is to prepare for the Asia Pacific Pharmaceutical Symposium which is going to be held in Bandung, Indonesia this year.
MTTN: As the chairperson, I am sure you must have had some expectations from GPPed and India. Did this conference meet your expectations?
Ms.Choi: I’m really proud of what the GPPEd organising committee has done. GPP stands for Good Pharmacy Practice, which aims to improve pharmacy services offered to the general public. GPPEd, on the other hand, is more centred on pharmacy education and aims to improve it via practical learning. This involves making budding pharmacists more aware of their role and their country’s needs so that after graduating, they can make practical use of their education by providing better services. According to this perspective, I can see that the GPPEd team has prepared the content of the conference really well. We had a compounding event, a clinical simulation and many workshops on pharmacy practice. Having said that, I am proud of everything the committee prepared for the event. If I could improve it and take it up a notch, I would like each member from their respective country to share their GPP standards so that we could learn to be better pharmacists on a global scale.
MTTN: How is this conference different from the other IPSF conferences you have attended?
Ms.Choi : The World Congress and Asia Pacific Pharmaceutical Symposium have their own theme each year like anti-ageing for APPS and universal healthcare for world congress. Their scale is massive and the audience is larger. GPPed is centred on GPP and its education. Usually, if you go to the WC or APPS, there are about 400 participants which means you can meet more international students and communicate with them. The difference between big and small conferences is that in big conferences you mostly hang out with people from your country whereas in small conferences you have a better chance of communicating with everyone.
MTTN: Lastly, what advice would you give to the MAHE Association of Pharmacy Students (MAPS) as they are newly recruited members of the IPSF?
Ms.Choi: MAPS should consider GPPed to be a milestone. Today, all the students and professors might have come to know about this international organization and must have learnt something from it. It is this communication with students and delegates across the globe which will help in bringing MAPS to the limelight. I hope this motivates MAPS to encourage students to join IPSF and live the experience.