The Aga Khan University (AKU) Hospital’s flagship Pharmacy Trainee Program has received the coveted American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) accreditation for International Pharmacy Practice Residency Programs (IPPR), becoming the first academic medical centre outside the United States, the third international hospital and the first in Pakistan, to receive the prestigious three-year accreditation.

This accreditation helps raise the standards of training for pharmacists, who offer critical services in patient care. Well-dispensed medicines ensure their best use and efficacy with expert management of the patient’s response as well as medicine interaction. With this accreditation, the AKUH Pharmacy Residency Program has become an internationally recognized training site and will serve as a role model for producing exemplary practitioners, who will positively impact the practice of pharmacy in Pakistan.

The one-year pharmacy traineeship program, being offered at AKUH since 1990, has more than 800 alumni rendering professional pharmacy services, and acting as pioneers in the field in Pakistan. The accreditation also advances AKUH’s traineeship program to a residency model with international recognition, joining a community of over 2,000 sites across the world with accredited programs.

As part of the accreditation process, AKUH’s pharmacy traineeship program complied with stringent competencies, educational goals, and objectives, including more than 100 ASHP residency learning objectives, and more than 200 measurable elements.

ASHP standards cover fundamental pharmacy practice areas such as Practice Foundation Skills, Drug Information Medication Policy, and Drug Safety, Practice Management and Leadership, Patient care, Education of others, and Project management.

Congratulating the pharmacy team on achieving this milestone, Dr Farhat Abbas, Interim CEO AKU Health Services Pakistan, said, “the ASHP accreditation is a testament to the fact that our patients are at the forefront of everything we do,” adding that, “this accreditation is not only a feather in the cap for AKUH but also for the country.”

Lauding the teams for their dedication and hard work, Dr Adil Haider, Dean Medical College, AKU, said, “By getting ASHP-accredited, AKU has demonstrated its continuing commitment to advancing pharmacy practice and providing quality patient care,” adding that the accreditation will serve as means to adopt and implement an even higher quality pharmacy practice and an enhanced residency program.

Highlighting the impact of the accreditation, Syed Shamim Raza, Director of Pharmacy Services, Pakistan, said, “We set ourselves the goal to develop our pharmacy practices further to fulfill AKUH’s vision of raising the standards of healthcare in Pakistan and we achieved this goal through the ASHP accreditation which marks us as a world-class institution for hospital pharmacy practice and training, ensuring that our patients benefit from international best practices of pharmacy.”

ASHP is a US-based professional organization that represents pharmacists serving as patient care providers in hospitals and other healthcare settings. They believe that hospitals with accredited pharmacy residency programs are publicly demonstrating their commitment to advancing pharmacy practice and providing high-quality patient care. The organization’s nearly 75,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians.

Being one of the most innovative and comprehensive institutional pharmacy networks in Pakistan, AKUH pharmacies are trusted for delivering high-quality and authentic medications, through a robust team of highly qualified pharmacists and technicians. Our pharmacy residency program, is the largest ASHP-accredited program in the world and aims to develop competent pharmacists, who are equipped with the necessary skills and professional knowledge to raise the standards of pharmacy practice in Pakistan.

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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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