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FPPS Holds 8th White Coat Ceremony to usher Fifth-Year Students into their Clinical Studies

CHS, FPPS, KNUST, White Coat


The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has held its eighth White Coat Ceremony for fifth-year students to officially usher them into their clinical years of study.

The event was under the theme "A new era in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ghana: Illuminating the contribution of Pharm Ds to vaccine production," attracted a diverse audience including parents, faculty members, industry representatives, esteemed alumni, and members of the public.

In his welcome remarks, Professor Asare Nkansah, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, acknowledged the prestigious tradition of the White Coat Ceremony, originally introduced by Professor Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson, the Vice Chancellor of KNUST and the distinguished lecturers within the college.

Professor Nkansah affirmed that the ceremony marked the entry of 255 students into their preclinical years or apprenticeship years of training. He inspired the students to embody the qualities of "7-star pharmacists" – individuals who excel as caregivers, decision-makers, effective communicators, leaders, managers, lifelong learners, and teachers. Professor Asare-Nkansah called for support towards the Faculty’s ‘Sponsor a Project’ initiative aimed at improving the learning environment in the reading rooms by donating tables and chairs, air conditioners, and desktop computers to equip pharmacy informatics, and laboratories.


Prof. Samuel Asare-Nkansah
Professor Samuel Asare-Nkansah, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


The Vice-Chancellor, Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson expressed her delight at the theme; underscoring the transformative potential that lies ahead, and the crucial role that PharmD graduates will play in the health sector in Ghana and the world at large. She noted that Ghana has relied heavily on imported vaccines; however, with the Government’s intervention, there has been the inauguration of the National Vaccine Institute to support and coordinate with domestic pharmaceutical companies to produce and manufacture vaccines in Ghana. To this end, she encouraged faculty members to seize the opportunity to train students to create a thriving pharmaceutical industry that fosters innovation, job creation, and economic growth. "As the nation’s premier Faculty for the training of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Scientists, we must continue to work very hard to be at the forefront of this quest and help to find sustainable solutions to our medication requirements," she said.

The Vice-Chancellor assured that the Faculty will continue to equip its students with a comprehensive understanding of drug discovery, development, formulation, production, and quality control expertise in vaccine manufacturing, ensuring adherence to the highest standards of safety and quality of life-saving vaccines and essential medicines for Ghanaians and beyond. "As PharmDs, we are looking forward to you playing a vital role in educating the public about the importance of vaccination, dispelling myths, and addressing vaccine hesitancy," she stated.

Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson urged the students to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and make a significant contribution to shaping a healthier and more prosperous future for Ghana. "KNUST has trained you to be architects of change, the pioneers of innovation, and the champions of public health. This is a charge you must promise all of us you will keep at all times," she stressed.


Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson
Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson, Vice-Chancellor, KNUST


In his keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer of Pharmanova and Atlantic Lifesciences Limited, Mr. Dhananjay Tripathi, indicated that the theme was significant as it would enable PharmD students to prepare themselves to be part of the new paradigm in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ghana. He added that they would be required to acquire some knowledge and develop a diverse range of skills and expertise such as Scientific Knowledge, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance, Technical Proficiency, Ethical and Professional Conduct, and Continuous Learning and Development.

Congratulating the PharmD students, he advised, "As you don your white coats and embark on your next phase, remember that you carry with you the hopes and aspirations of a nation. Embrace the challenges ahead with courage and conviction and always remember that our outfit is ready to support and mentor you in your pursuit of excellence in vaccine manufacturing."

He further called on stakeholders to envision a Ghana where advanced vaccine manufacturing facilities stand as symbols of progress and innovation, ensuring universal access to life-saving vaccines irrespective of socio-economic status.


Mr. Dhananjay Tripathi, CEO, Pharmanova and Atlantic Lifesciences Limited
Mr. Dhananjay Tripathi, CEO, Pharmanova and Atlantic Lifesciences Limited


Dr Samuel Kwaw Donkor, the president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana gave a short message on ethics. He spoke on the theme “The importance of ethics in contemporary pharmacists”. He advised them to utilize their knowledge, skills, experiences, and values in their preparation to become a registered pharmacist. He ended his speech by saying “How you navigate these ethical challenges will not only define your character as health care professionals but also shape the quality of care you provide to your patients”. And then congratulated all the fifth year for reaching this milestone.

The Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Christian Agyare congratulated all the fifth years and also thanked all the lecturers, parents, and also the preceptors for making all this possible for them. Professor Christian Agyare emphasized that the clinical years may be challenging but with the support of their committed faculty, they will sail through. He advised them to be punctual, embrace teamwork, and exhibit good work ethics to stand out and wished them well in their future endeavors.


The Students were Gowned by Lecturers/Preceptors, Alumni, and Parents who are Pharmacists
The Students were Gowned by Lecturers/Preceptors, Alumni, and Parents who are Pharmacists


The Dean of FPPS led the students through the pledge of professionalism that demonstrates their commitment to serving patients and loyalty to the Pharmacy profession. Chairperson of the White Coat Ceremony Committee, Dr. (Mrs.) Mercy Opare Addo led the gowning of the students. The students were gowned by Lecturers/Preceptors, Alumni, and Parents who are Pharmacists. He expressed gratitude to the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana for generously donating 200 copies of the BNF (British National Formulary) to all students before guiding the fifth year through the pledge-taking ceremony.

The 8th White Coat Ceremony was sponsored by CRUSH Smoothie and Juice Bar, Laud K Pharmacy, Peniel Engineering and Supply Limited, TOBINCO Pharmaceuticals Limited, Alpha Duo Pharmacy, Menri Pharmacy Limited, Gilat Chemist Limited, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, and Panacea Pharmaceuticals.