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The course will be offered from June 6th through October 17, 2013. Registration is open throug April 30, 2013.Duration: 190 hours in 19 weeks.

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The Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the role of medicines in achieving the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of human beings. The concept of essential medicines was launched in 1977; in 1978, at the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma Ata recognized essential medicines as one of the eight elements needed to achieve the goal of health for all. Since then, essential medicines have become one of the pillars in the development and implementation of national pharmaceutical policies in public health.

During this period major resources have been invested by countries, international organizations and funding agencies to guarantee access to essential medicines in the health care services.  The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) applied to the most disadvantaged nations specifically; Target 17 of Goal 8 establishes that the following should occur: “In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential medicines in developing countries.”

More recently, WHO is attempting to coordinate pharmaceutical policies and health-care delivery systems. WHO considers access to medicines and technologies as one of the six elements needed to strengthen health-care delivery systems and also for achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has hosted important events related to PHC. The primary objective is to strengthen health-care systems based on PHC. Noteworthy is the Regional Declaration on New Orientations for Primary Health Care (Declaration of Montevideo) in 2005, and the meeting in Buenos Aires in 2007 (“Buenos Aires 30-15: Towards a Health Strategy for Equity, Based on Primary Care”).

Countries continue to focus their attention on medicines as products, rather than on medicines for people and communities. This aim of this course is to shift this focus from medicines as products to medicines for people in the community and their health-care needs.

This is the main challenge for strengthening pharmaceutical services based on PHC. Consistent with the 62nd World Health Assembly (2009), the “rising expectations of society regarding health and health care;” expectations that “are driving demand for more people, family, and community-centered access, better community health protection, and more effective participation in decisions.”


Purpose of the Course
Promote the development of pharmaceutical services based on primary health care, by building capacities of pharmaceutical services leaders and managers

Specific Objectives

  • Describe the role of pharmaceutical services in primary health care and in the health delivery system
  • Relate the influence of social determinants on the health of individuals and communities
  • Analyse and apply the acquired knowledge to improving pharmaceutical services in each country 
  • Identify the components and management structure of the existing pharmaceutical services
  • Formulate a plan for shifting pharmaceutical services from medicines-oriented to client/people oriented focus (renewed PHC) 
  • Recognise the competencies required for implementing client oriented/renewed PHC 
  • Propose strategies for implementation of these competencies
  • Design an interventional proposal for introducing renewed PHC

Target Audience

  • Professionals involved in management, administration and technical activities in public sector pharmaceutical services
  • Academics in public health and pharmacy education
  • Primary Health Care professionals in Ministry of Health 
  • Professionals involved in pharmacy service delivery
  • Professionals involved in pharmaceutical delivery research


  • Having the support and conditions provided by the candidate’s institution; 
  • Explicit commitment from the candidate with his/ her institution, their country, and with PAHO/ WHO to meet the requirements and complete the course. 
  • Be working in an area related to the subject and course objectives. 
  • To have access to computer with internet connection 
  • Firm commitment to ten (10) hours per week on course activities (synchronous and asynchronous) 
  • Punctual submission of assignments and required exercises 
  • Course is interactive, not self-instructive and requires ongoing interaction between assigned tutor and learning group 
  • Proficiency in English

The announcement, application, selection, and enrollment process is all done online at the VPHC portal (

PAHO/WHO Representative Offices will assist with the process supported by the institutions where prospective applicants work.

Candidates must meet all the requirements. They must complete their application on-line by the deadline. Final selection will be made by the course co-ordinators. Space in the course is limited.



Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2013 10:47

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