Is Pharmacy a good course to study in and how to become a pharmacist in Kenya

a pharmacist in Kenya

Pharmacy is one of the best courses to study in Kenya-it’s also the most marketable course in Africa.

To begin with, if you are planning to study Pharmacy or you are already in college waiting for graduation, I will say something that will excite you. This course is very good only that may students don’t know.

In Kenya this is the only course you can complete and get a job without struggling much-you can also start your own pharmacy if you have something like Ksh 700,000.

To say that a course is marketable we mean that you cannot become desperate even if employers reject you-Pharmacy is the course. Once you are through with college, you start dropping your CV to pharmaceutical companies, government institutions and hospitals and for sure you will land a nice job.

It is estimated that only 20 % of pharmacy graduates are jobless in Kenya, the rest are employed and enjoying their salaries.

The best companies to work for include GlaxoSmithKline, Ministry of Health, NASCOP, KEMSA, UN, KEMRI and NGOs.

The starting salary for fresh graduates is Ksh 70,000 but there are individuals who earn even more. 

A career in Pharmacy

Students who excel in their KCSE pick pharmacy as a career path because of its potential rewards after medical school. Additionally, this course exposes a student to a whole new world of science with more emphasis on medical drug administration. However, there are requirements that you are supposed to meet for you to become a pharmacist in Kenya.

In general, a pharmacist knows different medications, prescription, wellness, and disease prevention/management. Pharmacy science is broad, challenging, yet very lucrative.

The pharmacy business majorly thrives in a community setting, such as a retail drugstore, or a healthcare facility, such as a hospital. Pharmacists dispense medications, counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and advise physicians about medication therapy.

How to become a pharmacist in Kenya

To be registered as a pharmacist in Kenya, one must be a holder of a Bachelor's degree in pharmacy approved by the Commission of University Education, followed by a one-year supervised internship, regulated by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Those who undertake the degree program abroad have to sit for a prior internship examination. It entails six months of hospital pharmacy-based practice, three months in a community (retail) pharmacy, and three months practicum in the pharmaceutical industry. Upon completion of their internship, practitioners undertake a registration examination administered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Where to study pharmacy in Kenya

Enrolling in the best school to accomplish your dream is one of the most challenging decisions any potential pharmacist has to make. Fulfilling your passion calls for a well done due diligence so that you do not end up in an unrecognized institution.

In Kenya, various universities, both public and private, offer pharmaceutical-based courses. The decision on a suitable school is left to you since different criteria are considered before one settles on a specific school.

Institutions that offer a degree in pharmacy include:
  • The University of Nairobi. The fee structure varies from the student's category. The regular student pays a minimum of Ksh 470,000 for the entire course.
  • Mount Kenya University. Direct entry, an aggregate grade of B- With C+ in Mathematics/Physics, Chemistry/Physical Science, Biology/Biological Science, and English/Kiswahili. A-Level Entry: Minimum of two principal passes in Biology and Chemistry, and a Subsidiary Pass in Mathematics or Physics. The cost is at least Ksh 156,825 per semester.
  • The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, situated in Juja, (Public). Students must attain a minimum min grade of C+.
  • The Kenya Methodist University, in Meru – Mission. Government-sponsored students pay Ksh 27,500 per semester.
  • Kenyatta University (public). To be enrolled, ensure you meet the school's criteria. To complete the course, you need at least Ksh 360,000 for a degree, not less than Ksh 72,000 for a diploma course, and Ksh 40,000 for a certificate course.

To enrol in Kenyatta University, option one: Biology B, Chemistry B, Mathematics or Physics C+, and English or Kiswahili B

For the second option, you need: Biological Sciences B+, Physical Sciences B+, Mathematics C+, and English or Kiswahili B+

The third alternative requires: two principal passes in Biology and Chemistry and a subsidiary pass In Physics or Mathematics

If you do not meet the requirements to qualify you for the Bachelor's degree, then worry not. Middle-level colleges offer diploma in pharmacy; an entry-level credential offered to many undergraduate candidates. They include:
  • The Technical University of Kenya, formerly Kenya Polytechnic, Nairobi.
  • The Technical University of Mombasa, previously Mombasa Polytechnic.
  • The Eldoret National Polytechnic in Eldoret.
  • The Rift Valley Technical Training Institute
  • Kenya Medical Training College, Kisumu campus. The course fee is Ksh 55,600 per year.

Qualifications and requirements for pharmacy

Each school has pre-qualifying requirements for any admission that takes place. To be enrolled for a diploma course, which on average takes three years, you must meet the following minimum requirements:
  • Attain an aggregate of C plain in KCSE with a C in Either English or Kiswahili, C in either Chemistry or Physical Science and Biology and C in either Physics or Mathematics.
  • Alternatively, you can enrol for a certificate course then progress to the next level of a diploma after passing the certificate level.

For a bachelor's degree course, which takes five years, a student needs to:

  • Complete at least two years of relevant undergraduate coursework within the program, including studies in Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, advanced Mathematics, and English. Once this work is completed, students take the PCAT examination to qualify for the advanced portion of the combined degree.
  • Alternatively, different universities have basic requirements. One may be enrolled for the Bachelor's program directly if they meet the cut-off points, with a minimum of C plus in KCSE with C in Either English or Kiswahili, C in either Chemistry or Physical Science and Biology and C in either Physics or Mathematics.
  • The third option would be the progress from the diploma level, then enrol for the undergraduate.

How much does it cost to open a pharmacy in Kenya?

By all means, the pharmacy business in Kenya is fertile and evergreen. It is rarely affected by the country's economic changes or disasters. However, starting a pharmacy can be very stressful from all the requirements needed and a large amount of capital required.

The start-up capital needed to start a chemist business, which is a wholesale pharmacy ranges from 600,000 to 800,000 Kenya shillings. The money caters to the most significant documents required including;
  • Annual practice license
  • Premises registration
  • Wholesale licenses
  • Trading license
  • Stock deposit
  • Rent

Kenya pharmaceutical association of pharmacist in Kenya

It's also referred to as the pharmaceutical society of Kenya (PSK). It is the representative organization that enables pharmacists' to employ their professional expertise in the care of patients.

It enhances the quality of pharmacy practice and keeps members up-to-date with changes in pharmacy practice, the law relating to pharmacy, and the latest technology applicable to the Pharmacy. Its main objectives are

  • To advance the practice of pharmacy
  • To create and maintain a standard for professional conduct and code ethics
  • To encourage a high standard of control over the quality and distribution of medicines and other related products.
  • To promote the role of pharmacists as integral members of the healthcare team to ensure rational drug use.
  • To facilitate information exchange between PSK members, other healthcare professionals, consumers, pharmaceutical, and allied industries.

How do you check if a pharmacist is registered?

With the rise of many quacks in the industry, one may fall victim to being served by an unregistered pharmacist. It is necessary to check if a pharmacist is registered.

Luckily, the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board has ensured that all medical practitioners are licensed with the relevant documentation. An individual can verify if one is legitimate through a Health Safety Code, which can be assessed through a free mobile phone SMS code 21031. The response enables any customer to ascertain the identity by name and location of legal pharmacists.

The role of the Kenya Pharmacy and Poison Board in Kenya is to ensure the availability of high and efficient pharmaceutical services all around the country. These services must be perfect for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of any disease using safe, quality, and cost-effective products.

Pharmacist job description Kenya

The job description of a clinical pharmacist in Kenya entails working directly with medical professionals and patients, usually in a medical centre, hospital, or health care unit. They determine the best medications for a given symptom a patient at exhibits.

The salary scale for pharmacists in Kenya is approximately 166,000 KES per month. Salaries range from 81,300 KES on the minimum to 259,000 KES (highest).

The field of pharmacy is divided into three categories, namely, Pharmaceutics Medicinal Chemistry and pharmacognosy, and pharmacy practice.

Code of ethics for pharmacists in Kenya

The code of ethics guides in a given profession. These give expectations and limitations for effective practice. Majorly, PSK, through its code of ethics, guides members to comply with the ethical and professional standards, thus enhancing its credibility.

The Consensus statement made by the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya yearly meeting in 2019, made the ultimate goal that hospital pharmacist in Kenya should be used to optimize patients’ results through the efficient, appropriate, and safe use of medicine.

  • It is a legal need for suppliers to sell drugs strictly to licensed healthcare practitioners and registered pharmacies. Some of this type of rules include:
  • Making the welfare and safety of patients their priority to avoid mistakes
  • Respect and treat all patients as one, and protecting their dignity and privacy always
  • By abiding with the laws of their nature, uphold professional standards and continuous in the promotion and administering of health services and products
  • Behave in a way that shows trust and maintains the effectiveness of the profession
  • Always try to develop and increase professional knowledge and credibility day in, day out
  • Impact knowledge, experience, and skills to gain future and new pharmacists
  • Have an inter-professional relationship to prevent any disputes at work
  • Adhere to professionalism by dressing decently at all times
  • Carry out responsibilities in a professional manner according to the regulations of nature of work one is engaged in

From the look of things, young people are embracing this career. Being a pharmacist in Kenya is not only a noble duty but also a profession that is worth venturing into. It is commendable for individuals who wish to be in a different field of medicine.

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