Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CiplaQCIL) is a state of the art pharmaceutical plant that manufactures the latest anti-retroviral (ARVs) and anti-malarial (ACTs) medicines in Luzira, Kampala. The plant is the only World Health Organization (WHO) approved pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the region and 1 of only 3 in Sub-Saharan Africa. CiplaQCIL was established in 2005 and the biggest challenge then was finding skilled manpower to use in the factory. From the onset, it was evident that CiplaQCIL had to train its own people and also create a pool of skilled manpower in the country that it could employ from in the future.
Since then, CiplaQCIL has been training mostly Ugandan pharmacy students and also students studying industrial chemistry, engineering and business administration. Out of over 200 applications, we usually take a cohort of about 30 interns every year for 2 months. The internships at CiplaQCIL orient the students to the nature of the business first and students are then exposed to how their areas of study play a role in medicinal manufacturing. The training demands critical thinking and encourages initiative and idea-generation on the part of the student. Students are asked for recommendations in improving processes and embark on projects to solve problems in their areas of work.
In the past few years, CiplaQCIL has also attracted pharmacy students from Africa as they seek a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get industrial training at a WHO prequalified facility. These internships are usually tailored to the demands of the institutions’ requirements and however short or long, students are still required to make presentations to the managers on their findings at the facility.
This year, we trained 17 3rd year students from Mt. Kenya University in Rwanda and five students from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Namibia were sent for internship placements at CiplaQCIL to gain work experience that will enrich their BPharma Degree. As divulged by one of the students, Frieda Shigwedha, “Due to the absence of a strong pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Namibia, the school has to look elsewhere on the continent to place the students to get training in industrial pharmacy.”
In addition to the 22 international students, we also trained 30 Ugandan interns and 4 A-Level students. CiplaQCIL trains the best S.6 Science students from Bishop Cipriano Kahangire Secondary School every year for 2 weeks and gives them a unique opportunity at their level of study to be exposed to best practices in the industry and world-class standards like current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).
In total, CiplaQCIL trained over 55 students in various fields of pharmaceutical manufacturing this year and all students gave final presentations of their work and findings during their internships. We are confident that we have sent out more empowered students with new skills and knowledge and to that effort, CiplaQCIL remains committed to training the country’s future pharmacists and creating a skilled work pool that will continue to benefit the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.