The importance of pharmaceutical services in the promotion of good health and well-being across the globe cannot be ignored. In countries such as Tanzania, adherence to Good Dispensing Practices (GDP) is vital to combating issues such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which pose a significant threat to not only the population of the home country but the entire global health community.
Further, a severe shortage of pharmaceutical staff in Tanzania compounds these challenges and prevents health professionals’ ability to provide the proper dispensing of medication.
Sr. Edna Amilima of the African Benedictine Sisters of Our Lady Help of Christian (SOLHC), an alumna of both ASEC’s Scholarship and Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) programs, is working to fill this gap.
Sr. Edna is currently serving as a pharmaceutical technician at St. Benedict Ndanda Referral Hospital located in the Mtwara region of Tanzania. St. Benedict Ndanda Referral Hospital is a fairly large hospital that is well known in the region, employing 320 workers who provide care for 300 in-patient beds on 12 wards.
In 2019, the hospital expanded to include an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and a Haemodialysis Unit. These new units have been particularly useful during the pandemic, as the hospital has been able to offer 11 isolation beds and run 3 ventilators for those infected with the disease.
Sr. Edna and her eight coworkers in the pharmacy are responsible for dispensing the medication for the entire hospital, an estimated 90-200 patients per day.
According to Sr. Edna, participating in ASEC’s programs has allowed her to competently fulfill her role as a pharmaceutical technician, as she says,
“I can perform very well my duties. ASEC's program helps me to do my works effectively and with confidence.”
Sr. Edna received an ASEC scholarship in 2012 and 2013 to complete her Form 5 and Form 6 level education at the Bigwa Secondary School in Tanzania. Sr. Edna was one of the very first sisters to be supported by an ASEC Scholarship.
Even in 2012, Sr. Edna knew she wanted to eventually serve in the medical field, saying that her long-term goal was to be a doctor.
She then went on to graduate in May of 2014 from the Bigwa Secondary School. In January of 2018, Sr. Edna applied for entry to ASEC’s HESA program and was accepted. She graduated from HESA on November 16, 2019 with a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Catholic University of Health and Allied Services (CUHAS). Sr. Edna performed very well academically during her time in the HESA program, earning Second Class Honors.
Sr. Edna works diligently to provide her hospital’s patients with access to necessary medications, improving their overall health and contributing to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 - Good Health and Well-Being.
She is a shining example of how ASEC’s Scholarship Program endeavors to provide women religious access to higher education by bridging the gap between secondary and postsecondary education credentials.