Plans announced for a Rwanda Society of Pharmacology

Plans were announced for the launch of a Rwanda Society of Pharmacology at the close of the first International Symposium on Medicines and Patient Safety held in Kigali 5-6 November.

The Symposium was attended by over 170 delegates and speakers from 6 countries (Rwanda, South Africa, Moroccoo, South Africa, UK and USA). who participated in an International Symposium on Medicines and Patient Safety was held in Kigali, Rwanda at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) on Wednesday 5th November 2014, followed on 6th November 2014 by an international videoconference on Prescribing Skills with Professor Simon Maxwell and on Pharmacovigilance with Professor Rita Benabdalleh from the WHO co-ordinating centre in Rabat, Morocco. The meeting included talks on medicines and communicable and non-communicable diseases by national and international clinical and policy experts from Rwanda, South Africa, USA and the UK.

The Symposium was held in partnership with Pharmacology for Africa, a consortium of 18 Sub-Saharan countries supported by the International Union of Pharmacology, and led by Professor Douglas Oliver and Professor Christiaan Brink, from South Africa, both of whom spoke at the meeting. The 3 major themes of the symposium were: educating health professionals in safe and effective use of medicines; regulating drugs, including pharmacovigilance and quality of medicines, reducing harm from high risk medicines and in patients with high risk conditions.

Outcomes of the Symposium included plans to launch the first Rwandan Pharmacology Society, publication of selected reviews and commentaries in the international journal Health Policy and Technology, and plans for a Second International Symposium on Medicines and Patient Safety in June 2015, themes to include Improving Prescribing Skills and Rational Guidelines for Antibiotics.

Speakers discussed ways to reduce risk from medicines for treating children and expectant mothers, preventing disorders of the heart and stroke, and for treating cancer and kidney disease. There were also round table discussions not only on prescribed medicines, but also on the risks of over-the-counter and traditional medicines.

Co-organizer and Pharmacist Dr Kayumba said: “The Symposium was timely in building on strategy in Rwanda on pharmacovigilance and on developing our undergraduate and postgraduate educational systems for good practice in use of medicines.”

Co-organizer and Physician Dr Musabeyezu added: “The Symposium provided important updates for doctors, pharmacists and nurses from Referrral and District Hospitals from throughout Rwanda on reducing risk of harm from high risk medicines often used for high risk diseases”.

Co-organizer and Clinical Pharmacologist Professor Singer said: “Medicines have powerful effects to help patients. However medicines also have the potential to cause powerful harmful effects. Education on how to ensure safe and effective use of medicines is therefore vitally important for patients and health services.”

Pharmacology of Africa President Professor Douglas Oliver said: “Partnership with Pharmacology for Africa brings important opportunities to improve patient health and safety through engaging with a wide range of international experts in education, training, clinical practice and research aimed at best practice in use of medicines.”

The symposium was supported by the World Health Organisation, Pharmacology for Africa, the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, Partners in Health, the Rwanda Social Security Board, the University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences, and by unrestricted educational grants by GSK and Roche.

Information for Editors

For further information, including to arrange an interview with the organisers email

Symposium website

Symposium program

Symposium National and International Advisory Board


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