A recent study carried out by Esayas Tadesse Gebremariam and Diriba Alemayehu Gadisa, both of the Department of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ambo University, Ambo, Ethiopia shows that pharmacy students of Ambo University carryout more of survey projects instead of clinical research or laboratory-based projects. This is alarming and a negative trend since pharmacy ought to be a clinical/laboratory research-based discipline.
According to the authors’ background statement, academic research is an essential part of undergraduate Pharmacy education to produce qualified Pharmacists. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize the nature of students’ research project conducted for a bachelor of Pharmacy degree program at Ambo University, Ethiopia. Clearly, the authors met no harm to the reputation of the pharmacy department of his school. However, his study results are quite shocking.
A cross-sectional, retrospective review using data extraction form was conducted on 279 research reports of undergraduate Pharmacy students at Ambo University from 2013/14 to 2018/2019. The National Harmonized Modular Curriculum program for the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in Ethiopia was used as a framework to group research projects by research topics and domains. Students’ profile (gender, program), supervisors profile, research types and topics, a domain of pharmacy curriculum, study setting, study design, target population, data collection strategy and techniques, and therapeutic classes of medicines for each project were extracted to see the characteristics of students’ research project. Data were entered and analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS version 25. Descriptive statistics were used to present the data.
From 279 Pharmacy undergraduate students’ research projects, 83.9% were conducted by male students and 64.1% were by regular program students. Two hundred fifty (89.6%) of the projects were surveys. Slightly less than half (49.8%) of the research projects were clinical researches. One hundred twenty-six (45.2%) of the research projects were focused on the pharmaceutical care domain followed by dispensing (22.6%) and research and education domain (10%). Out of the 250 survey research projects, the majority 226 (90.4%) of them were used cross-sectional study design, 205 (82%) were conducted at hospitals and 187 (74.8%) were done on the clinical population.
The authors concluded that their showed that the majority of the abstracted projects were surveyed type quantitative clinical researches focused on the Pharmaceutical care domain and takes place at hospitals affiliated with the University. On the contrary, a lower proportion of the research projects were laboratory-based researches, focused on Pharmaceuticals manufacturing, drug information service, regulation, and supply chain management domains, and takes place at community Pharmacy and educational institutions. Thus, it is highly recommended the University has to devise a system for expansion of the study settings other than its affiliated hospitals, and the research topics would encompass all areas and domains of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical sciences.