Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section
The Military and Emergency Pharmacy Section is one of FIP’s smallest and most specialised sections. Military pharmacy has long been recognised as being separate from community and hospital pharmacy. Whilst military health logistics is undertaken by military pharmacists, logistics operations of many NGOs is undertaken by the emergency pharmacist; a breed also recognised as being different or separate to community and hospital pharmacy. Military and Emergency pharmacists, when not in their home locations, practice pharmacy in more arduous and demanding conditions than most of their ‘civilian’ colleagues. Military medical services often work very closely with international and local relief organisations in humanitarian and disaster relief (HA/DR) situations. As of December 2012, MEPS had 79 members representing 36 countries.
The aim of the section is to establish close co-operation between pharmacists in the military and non-government organisations who respond in time of emergency, whether the emergency is as a result of a natural disaster or man-made.
MEPS members have as their mission the study of all problems relating to Military and Emergency Pharmacy, including the supply chain and workforce aspects, on an international basis with a view to providing sustainable solutions.
Military and Emergency pharmacy colleagues from around the world gather on an annual basis at the FIP congress. The section meets as a whole, generally during the last two days of the Congress with one of the days usually being organized by the Military of the FIP host nation.
This day normally involves a visit to a local military establishment (Navy, Army or Air Force) where members are shown different evacuation methods, deployable hospital containerization, field surgical facilities, various training methods, etc. Specialized companies may also be invited by the host to demonstrate new drugs or medical materiel appropriate to military medicine.
The second day is a ‘class-room’ day and presentations are based on the main theme of each Congress. Examples of previous topics include: HA/DR responses; making medicine information understandable to the illiterate/uneducated (Pictograms); the role of the pharmacist in pandemic situations, eg. Influenza, cholera, etc; and, the role of the pharmacist in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
MEPS members communicate on a regular basis via Newsletters, group emails, the FIP on-line discussion forums and face-to-face on an annual basis. Newsletters include topics such as Board Annual Reports, interesting papers, personal experiences, summaries of past Congress presentations, and much more. Military and emergency pharmacists take being excellent communicators to the next level by being able to do it in a wide variety of 'abnormal' places of work.
MEPS frequently establishes working groups of interested members to investigate special topics and report these findings. For example, the now widely recognized and used Pictograms; this project was initiated by MEPS. Another recent working group established is researching the development of tools required to assist emergency health and logistics responders in HA/DR situations eg. Earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. This form of international collaboration is very productive and enhances the relationship between MEPS members and members of other organizations.
Section President: Commander Sylvain Grenier, Canada
Section Secretary: Mrs Jane Dawson, New Zealand