(picture is taken from offthemarkcartoon)
This is my note I wrote last year. It was about the correlation between poor macroeconomic figures and the poor role of the profession of pharmacist in Indonesia that then leads to the lack of public appreciation to the profession. I think it might be worth posting it here.
Mr. Pharmacists, just Stop Blaming Others and Yourselves!
Around 10 years ago, during my study in the university, I involved myself quite deeply in the student organization, especially in the field of the professional role of pharmacist in Indonesia’s health care system. Since that time until now, it has been a common topic among pharmacists and pharmacy students that the profession of pharmacist in Indonesia isn’t appreciated as good as it is in other countries.
Discussions sometimes led to the blaming of other professions, especially doctors, who are said to be taking over pharmacists’ role in the health care system. Doctors dispense medication to patients to get the benefit of the business, or even the full of corruption practice of drug prescription by doctors who seek to get direct benefits from pharmaceutical industries such us bonuses, prizes, sponsorships, etc.
Some discussions also lead to the blaming of the lack of a proper regulation on the national health care system. Then it blames the absence of pharmacist in the parliament and other strategic position in the government.
All these, then lead to useless bashings, debates, and also (useless) efforts to make the better appreciation of the profession of pharmacist in Indonesia.
I too, once tried several efforts at that time during my study time in the uni. Joining with other peers, we successfully started the weekly radio talkshow by pharmacy students in the hope of the better appreciation to pharmacists by the public. The program is now still running and formalized in the student organization. I’m happy for that. And we also pioneered the internship session for students during holiday session in several pharmacies and industries arround Bandung. This was hoped to give an earlier exposures to pharmacy students to the reality of their profession in the community, compared to the school programs to do the thing at the very end of the study time. Then we encouraged other fellow students to get an early involvement in the pharmacist profession organisation (ISFI), attending discussions and seminars, and we even organized a national seminar to take a closer look at the possibility that the curriculum and the regulation on the education themselves lack somethings that leads to the problems.
But, after all those efforts and thoughts, I then realize that such things won’t generate significant effect for the better role of pharmacists in Indonesia’s health care system. I then realized the the country’s poor macroeconomic figure is the cause. This has been the fundamental cause of it.
Take a look at Indonesia’s current GDP per capita. The number is arround USD 1,600. Even if this figure is normalized with the cost of living, that will result in the number of GDP(PPP) per capita of USD 3,900-4,500 (variable numbers resulted from various methods by various insitutions), this number is way too low compared to countries with acceptably proper role of pharmacist in their health care system.
For example, United States and some European countries, where the profession of pharmacist is considered to be a role model by idealists, have their number between USD 25,000 – 40ks. That is a well 10-20 folds of Indonesia’s. Even Malaysia and Singapore have USD 12k and 30k respectively. Thus I think comparing the role of the profession of pharmacist in Indonesia with what they have in those countries would be absurd.
I do really appreciate and respect my fellow pharmacists who dedicate their fullest effort for a better situation and some have really gained appreciation in several working environments.
But, by realizing at this fact, idealist pharmacists in forums and discussion boards should have a more realistic view on the problem. You wont open an authorized Mercedes-Benz service center in a poor village and then expect villagers to treat you as an important person in their life there, will you? They use motorcycles, for rice shake! Trying to convince the villagers to buy Mercedes sedans because it is good and provide a safer mean of transportation would lead to frustration.
I welcome any comments and feedbacks on this.