First Step Towards Innovating Education Pharmacy Students Rawa Ismail in Iraq

I was born in Erbil in 1994, but our family moved to the Netherlands when I was only 1,5 years old. I am a pharmacist and PhD candidate and always felt the need to go back one day to share my knowledge and experiences on the health care system of the Netherlands. IOM’s CD4D project made this possible.

For a period of two weeks I was in my heritage city, Erbil, to provide seminars and workshops at the Hawler Medical University – Department of Pharmacy.

In the first week of the project, I provided seminars for all 70 teachers of the Department of Pharmacy. The seminar focused on the curriculum of the study pharmacy in the Netherlands and the teaching methods, which was a good starting point for an interactive discussion on the Dutch system compared to the one used in Iraq.

I showed them what system is used in the first-line of treatment in the Netherlands, how local pharmacies work and I explained the roles of the pharmacist and the pharmacist assistants.

Furthermore, I told them about establishing a new pharmacy and which laws/rules apply. This practical work in a pharmacy and starting a new pharmacy is quite different in the Kurdish region. This led to a lot of questions and an interesting discussion. The teachers were very enthusiastic about the Dutch system and also saw the need to change the current curriculum.

Interesting discussions with the teachers led to the need to change the current curriculum
In the second week of the project, I met the pharmacy students. I showed them the programme used in the Netherlands and informed them about exchange opportunities and the possibilities do a Master or a PhD in the Netherlands.

We talked about patient counselling, starting a new pharmacy and why the role of the pharmacist is important in the Netherlands.

I gave them insights in the PhD work I do on immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer to motivate them to gain interest in research work. After the seminars, the students still had lots of questions and they all wanted to have my email address.

This gave me a sense of fulfilment and I was more than happy to help them in any way possible.

After the seminars, we planned on how we could get in contact with the University of Utrecht to learn from the curriculum they are using.

Taking important steps towards improving the education of pharmacy students