Young Pharmacists Speak Out! [Archives:1998/49/Health]

December 7 1998

Yemen is one of the undeveloped countries. Lack of specialists and highly educated people is one of its features. In spite of this fact, Yemeni university graduates are facing real problems that threaten their ambition, mainly the problem of finding jobs.
This problem does not only affect Yemenis who are graduates of humanities and arts fields, but also scientific faculties graduates such as doctors and pharmacists. This article tries to cover the problems of Yemeni graduates of Pharmacology. Yemeni pharmacists are neglected. This might increase unemployment among Yemeni graduates, which is a catastrophe.
By September 98, the Medicines Supreme Authority issued an administrative act to be applied to all Yemeni medicines’ agents and companies, which seemed to solve the problem. The act indicated the following:

1. Representatives of Yemeni medicine companies are to bring their files to the Medicines Supreme Authority with their CVs and their work contracts enclosed before September 9, 1998.
2. Ending the contracts of non-Yemeni representatives and they are to be cleared before September 9, 1998.
Some students explain their problems, as follows:
Pharmacist Ilham Mahmoud Al-Ba’adani, graduated in 1994, Sanaa University:
Q: What did you do after graduating?
A: We worked at a pharmacy in Sanaa. We were not paid, of course, because we were getting trained. We were sent to public health institutions for that purpose. After graduating we had no real practical period of work.
Students of other Medicine Departments like Medicine and Laboratories are, usually, given from 6 months to one year field work after graduating. We made field studies during the third and fourth years of our academic studies.
Q: And what after that?
A: Because there were better job opportunities in private institutions, most of my colleagues went to work there. Personally, I was employed at Al-Jomhoori Public Hospital. Firstly, I worked as a pharmacist, then I headed the Training Administration Section. Now I’m the director of the Clinical Administration in the hospital. As we were given work license from the Ministry of Labor, I opened my own pharmacy.
Q: Graduates of Pharmacology are having difficulties in getting employed? What are the solutions, in your opinion?
A: What I think is right and must be done is that the relevant authorities must make a survey seeing the number of employees health institutions in the country need. Upon that survey, they have to accept students in the Faculty of Pharmacology. Then, the Ministry of Health must distribute them to all governorates of the country.
Another problem is that foreign candidates, before Yemenis, have the right to be employed. No enough job opportunities are available for graduates.
Q: Is it easy to open your own pharmacy?
A: It is becoming more and more difficult. When we graduated, we were not allowed to open private pharmacies before one year passed by. Now, graduates have to wait for two years to get licenses. Before, the distance between one pharmacy and another allowed was 100 m. Now, it becomes 250 m.
Q: Are the graduates of Pharmacology qualified to work as pharmacists? Why?
A: Frankly, they are not. The main reason is that they were not given real academic study. There are no labs, no real practicing, lack of books, etc.
2. Afrah Abdulaziz, a graduate of the year 1995:
Q. Can you tell us about your experience after graduating?
A: Two years after graduating, I was employed by the government in Mareb. I couldn’t go there because of two reasons. First, It is too difficult for me as a girl to settle there. Second, the salary was very little, about YR7,000. In addition, there were no advantages in that work.
Q: Why don’t you open your own pharmacy?
A: I could do that in the past but now it’s difficult. There is a decision now indicating that nobody is allowed to open a pharmacy or taking another person’s license for that sake. We are allowed only to work in private companies or in pharmacies. Nobody is given a license unless he is a technologist.
Q: How many of your colleagues got employed?
A: About 15% of them work in public institutions. Most of the others work in private companies. Generally, most of the graduates prefer to work for private sector because they pay them very well in addition to different privileges private sector offer. However, private companies prefer to employ foreign people.
3. A doctor from the Doctors and Pharmacists Community says:
The graduates has three alternatives. First one, they work for health sector. However, this is very difficult since there are no enough vacancies in the public sector for all the graduates. Second one, they go to work for the private sector. In this respect, either they open their own pharmacies or they work for private companies. However, foreigners are employed more than Yemenis, though they sometimes less qualified. Now, the new Ministry of Health planned to give more job opportunities for Yemenis. By the end of 1998, we expect all pharmacists to be Yemenis.
Different Yemeni legislation, wither laws or administrative acts, are not implemented in Yemen. Will this administrative act be implemented. The conditions in which these pharmacists are living, without job, might push Yemeni medicines agents to recruit young Yemeni pharmacist. But, priority still for the public sector to offer opportunities for Yemeni pharmacists to get a job. In the same time, the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacology should accept the number of students according to the needs of the market.
By: Dr. Salah Haddash,
Yemen Times Managing Editor