Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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CPD programme, a pragmatic approach in a resource stretched setting

Dan Kibuule, Timothy Rennie


The following is extracted from International Pharmaceutical Federation – FIP (2014). Continuing Professional Development/Continuing Education in Pharmacy: Global Report. 

  • CPD is compulsory in Namibia but capacity and resource constraints reduce the opportunity to provide comprehensive quality education;
  • The new School of Pharmacy identified CPD as one of Namibia’s greatest needs in retaining and improving competence in the country;
  • Practitioners can be awarded credit on a number of different levels through the professional accreditor as well as University credit;
  • This CPD programme represents a pragmatic approach in a resource stretched setting.
Full project description: 

Full project description: To download the FIP Global Report click here 

Current drivers

  • There is serious shortage of healthcare professionals in Namibia, particularly in pharmacy (347 pharmacists total), with huge demands on public healthcare infrastructure and high rates of communicable and non-communicable disease;
  • Lack of expertise within the health professions;
  • The creation of new health education Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine;
  • Creation of the National Health Training Centre to train Pharmacist’s Assistants in the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) since 1992.

Although CPD has been compulsory in Namibia for a number of years, the desire to meet this professional requirement has not yet been achieved. Namibia is getting to grips with new regulations and proposed pharmaceutical policy and the new education programmes cannot provide a quick fix to the huge needs in Namibia. However, the University’s place in setting the standard of CPD is clear, as the only provider of higher education in health in Namibia. Lessons are being learned from other settings to improve efficiency of delivery of CPD without sacrificing quality.

Challenges faced in the implementation

  • Not enough practitioners in higher education to support the CPD programme;
  • Practitioners (the market) are distributed sparsely across a wide geographical area;
  • Pharmacists are accustomed to free CPD provision from pharmaceutical/interest groups thereby reducing the likelihood of paying for this service;
  • Attitudinal change towards competence rather than completion of a task (CPD) for the sake of retaining registration;
  • Not enough practitioners as part of the accreditation body to truly ensure that the compulsory CPD policy is enacted;
  • Lack of technical ‘know-how’ for implementing a robust online system to support the CPD process.

Lessons learned

1. There is no quick solution / 2. It is easier to start something from scratch than to change an existing practice / 3. Making use of existing resources and partners to support.

The CPD Model in Namibia comprises of modular CPD units at three different levels: Level 1 being one-off activities (e.g. a lecture) that a number of different healthcare practitioners could benefit from; Level 2 being a comprehensive module including a number of activities incorporating Level 1 but that would more likely be orientated to pharmacy (e.g. rational use of medicines; Pharmacy Law and Ethics); and Level 3 being the culmination of undertaking a specific number of modules (from Level 2) to result in a post-graduate certified qualification through the University (Figure 1).

National strategies for health care services

It is refreshing that a country, such as Namibia, with all its challenges in healthcare delivery, lack of capacity and expertise, has chosen from a regulatory standpoint to enact CPD as a compulsory entity of professional membership and registration. Although the challenges have been described, there is a great opportunity for a country with such a small, sparsely distributed population to effect change through collaboration between the public and private sectors, so it can be enforced across sectors and across professions.

The University’s primary education focus makes it the perfect partner both of the public and private sector to implement a comprehensive CPD programme. The Pharmacy Council of Namibia under the Health Professions Councils of Namibia (HPCNA), has required that health professionals – including pharmacists and pharmacist’s assistants - undertake minimum Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to remain competently registered.

Plans for the future

  • Implement additional CPD modules.
  • Certify the CPD programme, offered through the University.
  • Build on the CPD programme to initiate post-graduate programmes in Pharmacy.

This case study relates to:

Case study addresses: