POCATELLO – Dave Hachey, a professor of Family Medicine that has been with Idaho State University since 1998, recently returned from a four-month sabbatical with the University of Namibia.
Hachey graduated from University of Rhode Island in 1998 where he earned his Pharm.D., and completed a residency and fellowship in Family Medicine at Idaho State University in 2000. Currently, he is a professor at Idaho State University Kasiska College of Health Professions in the Department of Family Medicine where he manages a federally-funded program that provides care for patients living with HIV in eastern Idaho.
In January of 2018, Hachey travelled to Namibia with his family where he spent four months with UNAM’s Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine supporting teaching efforts, research endeavors and clinical services. UNAM has about 25,000 total students, with 600 enrolled in medical school and 200 in pharmacy school.
Great strides have been made in the improvement of education and building a health care workforce within the country over the past decade. Specific training of health care professionals focuses on controlling the epidemics of HIV, where 15 percent of the population is estimated to be infected, and tuberculosis, which the country has the fith highest incidence in the world. In Namibia and other resource-limited countries, obtaining, distributing and managing medication inventory has been the focus of pharmacists.
“Currently, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Namibia is graduating more qualified and higher skilled pharmacists that are at the level of US graduating pharmacists,” Hachey said. “In other words, these pharmacists will be clinically trained to improve patient outcomes. They will be instructed in the management of common disease states seen in Namibia in addition to managing medication supply.”
Part of Hachey’s sabbatical was to provide individual clinical teaching at the practice site of the student. The flow, process and distribution of medication is similar to U.S. practice, and pharmacies are generally located near medical providers’ offices allowing for excellent provider communication and partnerships.
Additionally, Hachey provided clinical ward-round teaching to medical and pharmacy students in their last year of training at a 100-bed hospital for patients with tuberculosis. Students of his learned about drug therapy, treatment outcomes, drug interactions and how to manage patients infected with both HIV and tuberculosis.
Hachey indicated that university faculty and health care providers in Namibia are generally overworked, underpaid and significantly under-resourced. He spoke highly of the students and health care providers in Namibia.
“It is powerful to see individuals wanting to make their country better and that makes you want to give everything you can to see them succeed,” he said.
He goes commented on their resourcefulness, , noting the medical providers in Nambia don’t have the same access to diagnostic equipment that is available in the United States and must rely heavily on their clinical assessment skills.
“Laboratory tests that can result in a couple hours in the U.S. at times may take a couple days to result in Namibia,” Hachey said. “Whether patient care or education, there is a lot of country pride. They just want to make their country a better place.”
Hachey’s wife and two young children were part of his sabbatical where they travelled the country, experienced unique cultures, saw diverse wildlife, and connected with local organizations.
Future partnerships are being explored between ISU and UNAM to engage with student and faculty exchanges to build on the initial work that has been done.