by Stephen Vodhanel, PhD
Growing up in Ethiopia, DeKabo Saba, PharmD, witnessed how medicine used to be practiced in Ethiopia just 20 years ago. Back then, a neighbor of Dr. Saba began his own pharmacy and medical clinic with less than three months of formal training. “I am in no way discrediting this individual because at that moment that was what we were supposed to have, but this guy did everything from delivering babies to surgery,” said Dr. Saba.
Dr. Saba’s current assessment of healthcare in Ethiopia, as well as all African countries, is that the role of pharmacist in the multi-disciplinary medical team is vague. “I thought there is a clear regard to their professional image in medicinal knowledge, but the perceived value of their expertise to patients’ healthcare is limited,” said Dr. Saba.
According to Dr. Saba, there continues to be challenges to provide healthcare to Africa’s poor, such as occur when unregulated and improperly compounded drugs are dispensed in what are sometimes lethal doses—something pharmacists can correct.
Dr. Saba returned to Ethiopia shortly after receiving the PharmD degree here at Loma Linda University in order to “promote indigenous solutions to indigenous healthcare problems.” For Dr. Saba, this means focusing on education by providing guidelines for certain disease states to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in Africa to help them know how to manage, treat, and prevent diseases. It also involves working with pharmacy boards in Africa to develop laws for pharmacists, pharmacies, and drugs, said Dr. Saba.
The entire School of Pharmacy is very proud of DeKabo Saba, PharmD, and his commitment to better healthcare in Ethiopia.
Saba DeKabo, PharmD, (right), in a new pharmacy in Ethiopia.