Pharmacy is a lucrative course to study in Kenya. On average, diploma graduates in pharmacy will earn more than three times the salary of a high school teacher. Pharmacy is a marketable course with promising avenues for self-employment.
Who is a pharmacist?
A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who is trained to store, handle, prepare, and dispense various medications.
They play an essential role in educating patients about using or administering their medications. Likewise, they serve as a “final check” to ensure that doses are correct and that a patient will not experience negative or harmful drug interactions.
What do pharmacists do?
The specific role of a pharmacist varies depending on where they work. There work is a mix of the following:
- Verifying dosage on medications prescribed by health care providers
- Preparing prescriptions according to prescriber instructions
- Ensuring whether or not a particular medication will interact with other medications used by the patient
- Verifying that the patient is not otherwise at risk of adverse reactions caused by a prescription
- Educating patients about how and when to take or administer the prescription
- Advising patients about potential side effects of medication and answering any questions they may have
- Administering various vaccinations, such as flu shots
- Oversee and manage pharmacy interns and technicians
- Basic record-keeping and administrative tasks, as required
Where do pharmacists work?
Pharmacists typically work in pharmacies around Kenya. Pharmacies can be found in many different locations, and pharmacists’ specific duties can vary significantly depending on their work setting.
Pharmacists are commonly employed in:
- Addiction treatment centers
- Rehabilitation centers
- Nursing homes and long term care facilities
- Hospice or home care centers
- Poison control centers
- Oncology centers
- Specialty clinics
- Mental health facilities
- Medication distribution centers
- Community pharmacies
- Cardiac care centers
A pharmacist will be present in any place where a patient might need medication prepared or distributed.
Types of pharmacists
There are various types of pharmacists depending on what they do and where they work:
- Community Pharmacists: These are those pharmacists who work in community (retail) pharmacies. They primarily dispense medications and educate patients about their drugs, illness, over-the-counter medications, and more.
- Clinical Pharmacists: These pharmacists work in healthcare settings such as clinics, hospitals, or other locations. Clinical pharmacists typically spend a significant amount of time providing direct care to patients, recommending medications, and overseeing or adjusting dosages as necessary throughout treatment. They may also be involved in conducting medical tests or in educating patients.
- Consultant Pharmacists: These pharmacists provide consulting services to hospitals, insurance providers, and other healthcare centers, typically as a means of improving pharmacy services. They may also consult directly with patients about subjects such as prescription management.
- Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmacists: These pharmacists work in the pharmaceutical industry, and therefore have much less interaction with patients. They might be involved in the research and development of new medications or other areas such as sales and marketing.
Pharmacist salary in Kenya, how much does a pharmacist make?
A fresh graduate with a diploma in Pharmacy will earn about Ksh40,000 while an experienced one will earn about Ksh70,000 on average. While this is a rough estimate, many pharmacists earn less or more, depending on various factors such as the industry and company one works with.
Companies will pay more than other institutions. Working with an NGO will most likely result in one one earning at least Ksh90,0000. Examples of NGOs that pharmacists can work for include Red Cross, MSF, International Rescue Committee, etc.
The lowest pharmacists are those who work for pharmaceutical companies as sales executives. This job attracts a salary of Ksh25, 000-Ksh40, 000 and it can be done by anyone.