Graduates from the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to take part in the 41st edition of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) Conference

By Brenda Odhiambo

Three Bachelor of Pharmacy graduates from the Class of 2021 presented their research papers at the 41st Annual Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) Scientific Conference held from October 27-29, 2021. The students, Dr. Brigit Mulwa, Dr. Dharti Patel and Dr. Andiva Laura Betty, presented papers on Ethnopharmacological study on medicinal plants used for skin conditions in Mwala Sub-county, Kenya, Assessment of prescribing practice at Thika level 5 Hospital and Antibacterial activity of solvent fractions of Croton dichogamus against Vibro cholera and Staphylococcus aureus, respectively.

Dr. Andiva’s paper investigated the in vitro bactericidal activity of Croton dichogamous aerial part extracts against Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio cholerae. In her paper, she notes that in many parts of the world bacterial infections continue to undermine health of individuals and communities due to continued resistance of bacteria to existing antibiotics. This occurrence has threatened our ability to treat common infectious diseases therefore necessitating the search for new antibiotics.

The study analyzed hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts of the aerial parts of Croton dichogamus were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against S. aureus and V. Cholera. The paper concluded that the methanol extract exhibited the most significant inhibition of the test bacteria as compared to the other extracts. In all tested extracts the highest inhibition was observed against V. cholerae, which shows that V. cholerae was more susceptible to the antibiotic effect of the plant. This could justify the traditional use of this plant in stomach ailments, abdominal pains, fever and other infections.

Dr. Mulwa’s paper looked at the medicinal plants used for skin conditions in Mwala Sub-county, Kenya, where she investigated the use of medicinal plants by patients with skin conditions who could not afford more conventional treatments. In her findings, she noted that traditional medicine practitioners in the Kamba community mostly use leaves of medicinal plants to majorly treat wounds, abscess, rashes, burns, ringworms and boils. Some of the commonly used plants documented in the study include Acacia seyal, Commiphora habessinica, Euphorbia tuncelli, Dovyalis caffra and Acacia Nilotica, among others.

In her paper, Dr. Patel looked at the assessment of prescribing practice at Thika level 5 Hospital, where she assessed the prescribing practices of Thika level V hospital using the WHO core prescribing indicators. Her study showed that irrational prescribing practices were common in the hospital. Prescribers were not compliant with the WHO prescribing indicators. There was the practice of polypharmacy, irrational prescribing of antibiotics, and increased prescription of drugs using the brand name instead of the generic name in the hospital. The results indicated that there is scope for improvement and the hospital can offer better healthcare services with compliance to the national guidelines and consistent monitoring of the prescribing practices in the hospital.
The Conference brought together delegates from across the country from various sectors in Pharmacy who came together to share their knowledge and vast experience with fellow pharmacists at the Conference.

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