Pharmacists shortlisted for international award

​Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) pharmacists have been shortlisted for an international award for sharing learning about antibiotics with a community in northern Ghana.

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The pharmacy team from NSFT developed a partnership with the Assemblies of God Hospital in Saboba following a successful grant application, awarded in January 2019, with funds from the Department of Health and Social Care, The Fleming Fund, the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association and the THET partnership for global health. The aim of the partnership is to reduce the overuse of antibiotics, which is blamed for the rise of bacteria immune to them, meaning the work in Ghana will help people around the world, including in the UK.

News of the shortlisting in the Antibiotic Guardian Shared Learning and Awards Registration comes as the world marks Antibiotic Awareness Week, which runs 18-24 November.

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Anwen Metastasio, Deputy Chief Pharmacist at NSFT said: “I am so pleased to have been shortlisted and think it is very important to publicise the activities of the partnership and the issues that we are trying to address.

It is very different to other partnerships in the project as there is a focus on issues within the wider community with a strong public health message. It has been incredibly hard work but so rewarding and a real-life experience that I feel is a privilege to be involved in. On a personal level it has enabled me to develop new skills. I never thought that I would be able to speak in front of hundreds of people or run a radio show.”

Saboba is a small town in the rural northern region of Ghana close to the border with Togo. The majority of the local population are farmers, with market day being an important opportunity to sell and exchange produce. The local population is very diverse with a number of local tribes, including Konkomba and Anufo.

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Talking of the visit to Saboba, Anwen said: “During our visits, we found everyone to be friendly and welcoming and really enjoyed forming links with people from such a different culture. Facilities were basic, we had electricity and running water in our accommodation, although blackouts were a daily occurrence,”

“We would like to continue our activities with the area beyond the partnership as we feel that we have made some really good friends in the region and hope that there will be more opportunities to work together on other projects if more funding becomes available.”

Esther Johnston, Chief Pharmacist at NSFT who lives in Ipswich said: “Nothing quite prepares you for what you find on the ground. 

“But we were given such a friendly welcome, and you can’t help but admire how much the staff there do with so little.” 

The awards will take place remotely on Thursday (26 November). Speakers at the awards event will include:

  • Dr Haileyesus Getahun, Director of Antimicrobial Resistance Global Coordination and Partnership for the World Health organisation;
  • Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England;
  • Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England;
  • Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope, a lead pharmacist for the National Infection Service, Public Health England.