A DEVELOPING country can rapidly improve its physical infrastructure, but it takes much longer to establish a first-rate healthcare system, states the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar.
Now, he is co-editor of a new 450-page book that describes the challenges and offers solutions to nations that aspire to improve their standards of medical treatment and the effective use of medicines.
It is titled Social and Administrative Aspects of Pharmacy in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, with the subtitle Present Challenges and Future Solutions. Its 25 chapters, authored by almost 40 experts and practitioners from around the world, addresses a wide range of topics, including socio-behavioural aspects of pharmacy and health, pharmacoeconomics, pharmaceutical policy, medicine pricing, generic drugs, public health, methods to improve adherence to medication and the issue of “pharamacovigilance – the need to ensure patient safety.
All of the issues and the analyses are geared to the needs of countries that are categorised as low or middle income, and the book offers a blueprint for the development of pharmacy in them.
Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar is Professor in Medicines and Healthcare at the University of Huddersfield’s Department of Pharmacy. He has edited the new book with his associates Professor Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim of Qatar University and Professor Albert Wertheimer of Nova Southeastern University in Florida, USA.
Middle income countries are good at building things. If you go to a country such as Malaysia, you will see that it is as technologically advanced as the UK, but its health system lags behind. It takes much more time to advance the social and health determinants.
Professor Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar
They invited contributions from a global network of experts who bring the theories and the techniques of social science to the subject of pharmacy. This can lead to a better understanding of the use of medicines, said Professor Babar. “Social pharmacy” is the term that has been coined.
The book’s concluding chapter was co-authored by Professor Babar himself. It synthesises the themes explored in the preceding 400 pages and points to future directions for social pharmacy.
Usually, as a country’s economy grows, its system of healthcare will improve, said Professor Babar. But he is concerned that the gap in standards between low or medium and high income countries has been widening because of the established strength of the systems in the latter.
“Middle income countries are good at building things. If you go to a country such as Malaysia, you will see that it is as technologically advanced as the UK, but its health system lags behind. It takes much more time to advance the social and health determinants,” said Professor Babar.
“A building project such as a railway or an airport is fast, compared to improvements in social challenges such as healthcare and education, which can require a whole generation.”
Professor Babar hopes the new book – which has a large number of authors based in low and middle income countries – will help to address the challenges.