• 2016
  • Benin

Centres de Santé, Avrankou et Tokan

Pharmacists Without Borders (PSF) in collaboration with the St. Camille Association will be conducting a developement mission from 2016-2019 in Benin.

Cities: Avrankou, Adjarra, Bohicon et Djougou

The Saint Camille Association is an African charity established in Benin since 2004 that provides services for the mentally ill. It leads a fight against all forms of social exclusion. It targets primarily the mentally ill people homeless, chained or nailed in the woods. It also combats ignorance regarding mental health, and makes efforts to eradicate ill-treatment of the mentally ill. By the hard work of its founder, Gregory Ahongbonon, surrounded by a team he has built around him seven centers operate in Benin. The patient is welcomed into a shelter, diagnosed by a psychiatrist or nurse, treated and surrounded by stakeholders (former patients) which ensure a caregiver living environment, loving and revaluation. An external network provides medication and medical care in the community. In 2010, there were more than 30,000 men and women who have benefited from the care of the organization and that are now active in their community. The Saint-Camille Association counts on donations to operate: no government funding is provided.


  1. Improve the management of medicines in mental health centers and physical health hospital for people with mental health.
  2. Train staff on site on the development of pharmacy, inventory management and order and delivery of patient counseling.
  3. Optimize the use of antipsychotics through the revision of clinical guidelines, in collaboration with psychiatrists who cooperate with the Saint-Camille Association.

    Volunteer Contribution: A contribution as a donation of approximately $4000 to $4500 to PSF Canada is required. This donation will automatically confer annual membership to PSF Canada. An income tax receipt will be issued.

    Duration: Missions of four to twelve weeks from

    • June 2018
    • July 2018
    • November 2018
    • February 2019

     Two to three pre-mission meetings and one post mission meeting will be required with the Mission Lead. The mission will include at a minimum a pharmacist, occasionnally accompanied by pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians. 

    Mission Objectives:

    1. Local personnel training on inventory management and the redesigning of the workflow of the pharmacy. In the health centers, the management of the pharmacy is not always carried out by a pharmacist, the local pharmacy manager must be able to know how to properly manage all inventory of the establishment. PSF Canada will implement the training program for pharmacy managers; and will ensure the theoretical and practical applications in the pharmacy health centers.
    2. The pictogram project: In an environment where illiteracy affects over 50% adult population and in which there is no universal system for providing medication to patient in place, patient counseling is compromised. The pictograms are small illustrations to explain dosage and the details of pharmacological treatment. This improves adherence to treatment and aims to ensure optimal transmission of information so that the patient takes his medication properly to achieve the desired results.
    3. Training on health topics to local population: Several trainings can be given to the population, whether with children, pregnant women or villagers. These aim the prevention and treatment of various health problems and health education.
    4. Training of medical staff: Scientific presentations are also conducted with physicians, pharmacist and nurses in order to discuss the different practices.
    5. Topical preparations for dermatology: The preparation of topical products by the pharmacy can solve many skin problems. This involves providing tools for developing these preparations and training the local staff.

    Please note that no compensation is provided for the volunteers. The following costs must be assumed by the volunteers, approximately 4000$CDN.

    1. Airfare
    2. Accommodation
    3. Food
    4. Local transportation in connection with the mission
    5. Entry VISA to Benin
    6. Travel Insurance
    7. Vaccination

    Please send your application as follows:

    Motivation letter and updated Curriculum Vitae at

    For more information, contact Mary Ghattas, Benin Mission Lead at 

Our volunteers:

Mary Ghattas, Mission Leader

September -October 2016

Marie-Eve Canuel, Pharmacy Student University of Montreal
Melissa Coutu, Pharmacy Student University of Montreal
Rose-Marie Huynh, Pharmacist

November-December 2016

Massilia Azzi, Pharmacy Student University of Montreal
Nadia Bannour, Pharmacy Student University of Montreal
Frederique Chauret-Denault, Pharmacist

Novembre-December 2017
Mary Ghattas, Pharmacist
Clara Elmicar, Student pharmacy Université de Montreal
Kassandra Bussiere Bourgeois, Student pharmacy Université de Montreal

February 2018

Sabrina Baillargeon Blouin, Pharmacist
Nikita Nitsoulenko, Student pharmacy Université de Montreal

June 2018

Francois Semhat, Pharmacist

July 2018

Catherine Poitras, Pharmacy student Université Laval (July and August)
Érika Mercier, Pharmacy technician 

News from the September 2016 Mission in Benin, first week:

Third day of the 2016 September mission in Benin: We began the training of assistant pharmacists of the 5 psychiatric clinics of the Saint-Camille Association. Our students, all former patients, are ready to learn. Notebook in hand, visibly enthusiastic and grateful to be there, it is pleasant to see. So much interest and attention is heartwarming. While the inventory and order management training initially planned to take several days, was completed after one day as our students quickly integrated the concepts. They also easily completed the exercises we gave them.

Their thirst for learning and understanding seems insatiable, they want to learn more, much more than simply managing inventory: malaria, typhoid fever, HIV, cholera and many other subjects. They have so many questions: How do Largactil, Elavil, Tegretol work in the brain? Why choose Artane when a patient experiences side effects with antipsychotics?

We are impressed and we feel privileged. Obviously, there is an important training potential in these medical centers. A beautiful week has just finished, a week filled with fun, smiles and sharing that certainly guarantees future sustainable results in the field of pharmacy management.

Other news, september 2016 Benin Mission, second week:

The second week of the Benin mission has just ended, it's time for mid internship assessments for our pharmacy team. Various activities have taken place in the last days: Training on clinical topics for pharmacy assistants, review of inventory management concepts, stock card modifications, development of the new pharmacy center in Tokan. Rose-Marie and Marie-Eve are progressing well according to their mission objectives, and are still delighted by their experience.

Highlights of this week:

The PWB team, in response to their students' requests, offers them complete course on different infectious diseases (malaria, HIV, infectious diarrhea). They focused mainly on modes of transmission and disease prevention, as well as on the clinical presentation of these infections. Rose-Marie and Marie-Eve are making pharmacy assistants very happy thanks to this initiative; students seem really satisfied with the training they received. Our pharmacy volunteers even prepare exams to verify student learnings, but most importantly to offer them a little challenge. All of them finished the week with very good results!

Moreover, while Gregoire had given the PWB team the mandate to design plans for the Tokan pharmacy during the first week, our team have obviously taken this project seriously. They are currently working closely with a local carpenter, guiding him in building the shelves of the future pharmacy. The pharmacy premises are slowly starting to look like a dispensary center, perhaps will we see the result of all their work in a few weeks ... Stay tuned!

Our mission in pictures

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