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Original Research

Twenty cultural and learning principles to guide the development of pharmacy curriculum in Pacific Island countries

Submitted: 14 March 2013
Revised: 17 February 2014
Accepted: 27 April 2014
Published: 6 October 2014

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Author(s) : Brown AN, McCormack C.

Andrew Brown

Citation: Brown AN, McCormack C.  Twenty cultural and learning principles to guide the development of pharmacy curriculum in Pacific Island countries. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2014; 14: 2581. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=2581 (Accessed 20 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  A lack of education capacity to support the development of medical supply management competency is a major issue affecting Pacific Islands countries (PICs). Limited human resources and underdeveloped medicines supply management competency are two significant impediments to reaching the health-related Millennium Development Goals in many countries in this rural and remote region. Two recent review publications have provided relevant background documenting factors affecting learning and teaching. These articles have presented available information regarding competency and training requirements for health personnel involved in essential medicine supply management in the region. This background research has provided a platform from which tangible principles can be developed to aid educators and professionals in PICs in the development and delivery of appropriate pharmacy curriculum. Specifically the aim of the present article is to identify culturally meaningful learning and teaching principles to guide the development and delivery of pharmaceutical curriculum in PICs. Subsequently, this information will be applied to develop and trial new pedagogical approaches to the training of health personnel involved in essential medicines supply management, to improve medicine availability for patients in their own environment. This article forms part of a wider research project involving the United Nations Population Fund Suva subregional office, the University of Canberra, Ministry of Health officials and health personnel within identified PICs.
Methods:  Two previous reviews, investigating Pacific culture, learning approaches, and training requirements affecting pharmaceutical personnel, were synthesised into a set of principles that could be applied to the development of pharmaceutical curriculum. These principles were validated through focus groups of health personnel using action research methods.
Results:  An initial set of 16 principles was developed from the synthesis of the two reviews. These principles were reviewed by two focus groups held in Fiji and the Solomon Islands to produce a set of 20 validated principles. These validated principles can be grouped under the headings of learning theory, structure and design, and learning and teaching methods.
Conclusions:  The 20 principles outlined in this article will be used to develop and trial culturally relevant training approaches for the development of medicine management competencies for various cadres of health personnel in PICs. These principles provide a practical framework for educators and health professionals to apply to health-based education and training in the Pacific, with potential application to other rural and remote environments.

Key words: culture, education, learning styles, medicines supply management, Pacific Island countries, pharmacy curriculum.

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