Pharmacists in the Pandemic

Amid the pandemic, students at the University of Cyberjaya make waves by contributing to the community, excelling in competitions and inspiring with informational webinars

Cyberjaya, 25th August 2021 – Pharmacists – a role commonly overlooked – join doctors and other essential healthcare providers to combat the challenges faced during this global pandemic. Pharmacists today are also providing triage services, seeing patients, and dealing with an increasing rate of patients coming through pharmacies to boost immunity or combat other illnesses.

“In the fight against COVID-19, pharmacists are advocators of vaccines and have played a crucial role in ensuring the efficacy, effectiveness, safety as well as distribution of vaccines, their role is not confined behind the dispensing counter alone,” says Issac Danker, pharmacy enforcement officer at the Ministry of Health.

Issac Danker is an alumnus of the University of Cyberjaya who graduated with the Chancellor’s Award in 2017, the highest Academic Award granted to a student. Aside from his stellar academic performance, Isaac was also formerly the national President for the Malaysian Pharmacy Students’ Association (MyPSA) which represents thousands of Pharmacy students from various Malaysian universities.

“Thanks to the University of Cyberjaya, I had the opportunity to gain experience in the community and industry during my internship where I gained plenty of knowledge in the field. Upon graduating, I started out with a pharmaceutical company. Then, I got the opportunity to join the Ministry of Health in an exciting role to protect public health by monitoring importation and sales of medicine, health products and more in accordance with enforced law and regulations,” Issac adds.

“We have plenty of pharmacy graduates in Malaysia and the industry is growing fast with the increasing need for COVID-19 vaccines but there is something that makes our graduates stand out and that’s our emphasis on patient care as well as being an all-rounded student,” said Professor Datin Dr. Rosnani Hashim, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Cyberjaya.

Just before their final year, Pharmacy students hold a public health programme, Karnival Mesra Ubat (KaMU) to educate and create awareness among the local community on various aspects of health especially in the proper management of medicine handling. Ultimately, these programmes are meant to forge closer ties with local communities whom they will serve when they enter the profession in the future.

“This year, we focused on geriatric care targeted at Kampung Jenderam Hilir, Dengkil where we held multiple virtual and physical events which included a collaboration with Alpro Pharmacy and LH Pharmacy. Licensed pharmacists as well as our student facilitators were at participants’ houses to review their medication and provide needful information where necessary,” said Nurul Akmar, student director of KaMU 2021.

Nurul Akmar is a 3rd year student of who is currently undergoing her internship at Duopharma as a Quality Assurance Compliance intern.

With her direction, KaMU 2021 took off with multiple hybrid (virtual and physical) projects including telepharmacy consultations, the setting up of a mini library for the community, mural painting, and a virtual COVID-19 immunisation awareness talk. All these projects were a cohesive effort from the Pharmacy students of the university together with Majlis Perbandaran Sepang (MPS), the Malaysian Pharmacy Student Society (MyPSA), and Majlis Pengurusan Komuniti Kampung (MPKK) Kampung Jenderam Hilir.

The options for pharmacists are not limited to working with community pharmacies, clinics or hospitals. The University of Cyberjaya International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering Student Chapter aims to shed some light on the other options they are able to explore as a Pharmacy graduate. The society recently held a webinar to expose students to the pharmaceutical industry.

“The webinar which featured our alumni helped to guide students to choose their pathway upon becoming a Provisionally Registered Pharmacist. It was a great platform for our seniors to educate us as on the industry,” said moderator, Muhammad Aqif bin Badrul Hisham, Year 2 student.

With pharmacists being versatile members of the healthcare team, the pharmacy students at the University of Cyberjaya take it up a notch with their competitiveness in extracurricular activities. After winning 1st place for 4 consecutive years, the university scored 2nd place this year at the virtual 14th MyPSA National Pharmacy Sports Carnival 2021.

Lau Hui Ong, a 4th year student who bagged a gold medal in a sports quiz said, “I am grateful that I was able to represent the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Cyberjaya and winning the sports quiz. As I had taken the Sports Pharmacy elective course during my previous semester, I was able to understand and answer the questions effectively. The only challenge I faced was answering questions on e-sport which had garnered popularity over the past few years.”

University of Cyberjaya first started out as a healthcare university that offered various fully accredited programmes including in the field of Pharmacy, Medical, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering and more.

It is also one of the very few Malaysian universities with a Master’s in Clinical Pharmacy and the only Malaysian university with a Doctor of Pharmacy which was developed with academic contributions by the University of Southern California, United States. The university’s Faculty of Pharmacy is also among one of the largest private Pharmacy schools in the country.

University of Cyberjaya has been awarded a 5-Star (Very Competitive) rating by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education and has received a rating of 5-Stars for Teaching, Facilities, Employability and Inclusiveness under the QS Stars programme. The university also joins a growing list of world leading universities in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021.

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