Pharmacists practising or wishing to practise in the humanitarian field, providing pharmaceutical expertise and services during disasters and to people affected by armed conflict, now have an international competency framework to guide their development. The FIP Global Humanitarian Competency Framework — Supporting Pharmacists and the Pharmaceutical Workforce in a Humanitarian Arena was published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) recently.
The framework has been developed by an FIP working group led by Cdr Dr Sylvain Grenier, president of FIP’s Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section and Director, Plasma Protein and Related Products Formulary Programme, Canadian Blood Services. The group represents a wealth of experience, including being deployed to areas of conflict or emergency, researching or volunteering for disaster response, providing advice to the United Nations and other non-governmental international agencies, and serving refugee camps. It also includes experts in the development of competency frameworks.
“In addition to traditional pharmacy practice, pharmacists working in a humanitarian arena are required to fulfill tasks unique to the humanitarian sector. However, few development programmes exist to train these pharmacists and there was no readily available framework for their development. With demand for pharmacists with such skills growing, there was also an increased need for an internationally-recognised competency framework,” said Cdr Grenier.
He explained that, in many cases, pharmacists can only access humanitarian pharmacy training programmes once they have been hired by an organisation. “This limits the number of pharmacists who have received pharmacy training with a focus on the humanitarian arena and leads to an inconsistent skill set throughout the sector and across organisations.
Without a defined and recognised competency framework, it is unclear if the programmes that do exist are relevant and useful,” he said. The FIP competency framework consists of 22 core competencies and 88 associated behaviours, clustered under four domains: Population, patients, system and practice. It was developed based on a literature search and the experiences of the working group members, which led to 588 tasks and responsibilities of pharmacists working in a humanitarian arena (346 related to pharmacists’ roles and 242 related to pharmacologistics) being identified.
“FIP’s competency framework can be used by individuals, mentors and employers to identify learning gaps and development needs and to monitor or assess performance. Educators can use the framework to guide the development of training provision as a mapping tool to support pharmacists working in these critically important roles,” Cdr Grenier said.