PSF Canada collaborated on this mission with PSF –International Committee; it took place from October 2000 to April 2001. Montenegro was a zone little bombarded during the war, but with increased presence of refugees (Bosnia and Kosovo). The country suffered from inertia of the health system for 10 years (end of the war). No association or order to represent pharmacists in Montenegro.
One product provider for the state health facilities, with a small budget and a lot of missing products. Based in Podogrica (capital), PSFCI provided drugs and missing products to more than 50 state structures (hospital, community pharmacy and state Dom Zdravlja (CLSC)).
My role in the mission
A pharmacist was in charge of drug orders from these health structures. My role was to ensure proper monitoring of orders (accumulation phenomenon for fear of war). I travelled throughout Montenegro and met hospital managers responsible for Dom Zdravlja and pharmacies. My role was to implement the GPP (Good Pharmacy Practice). These are standards set at the time by the WHO to ensure basic pharmaceutical services and good quality for the population. We organized a seminar with Diane Lamarre on these GPP’s. We also discussed with a dynamic group of pharmacists to replace the Association of Pharmacists of Montenegro.
When I left the mission, the Chamber of Pharmacists of Montenegro was recreated, which gave way to a return of the Pharmacists Association. We had patient information leaflets printed that pharmacists could give their patient. We have also destroyed a large amount of drugs that had accumulated in the basement structures.
On a personal level, my role gave me the chance to see the province, a few times. Magnificent Balkan region, where on weekends, with the stability that prevailed there, we organized skiing in the Durmitor or the beach in Budva. Despite the war, people warmly received us. Despite my young age at the time, my decisions were respected. A multicultural experience. There were many NGOs and I have met people from all over the world. We were a working team consisting of Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims without any religious friction.
Simon Caron, Pharmacist