With the surge in the number of pharmacy faculties in Egypt’s public and private universities, it has become necessary for pharmacy graduates to search for new fields in the labour market, especially with recent proposals to restrict their opportunities to be officially hired directly upon graduation, according to Egypt’s employment system.
With about 250,000 pharmacists in Egypt, Mohie Obeid, former head of Egypt’s Pharmacists Syndicate, said Egypt does not need more than 20,000 new pharmacists. “I advise current students to look at the labour market before taking future steps,” he told Al-Fanar Media, noting that the Egyptian pharmaceutical industry accommodates large numbers of pharmacists. Obeid hopes that medical advertising work will be limited to pharmacy graduates like elsewhere in the world.
Amid rapid development in the pharmaceutical industry in the Arab world, such as the use of robots to dispense medications in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, this article presents brief information about non-traditional jobs that Arab pharmacists can consider to maximise their chances in the labour market after graduation.
Digital marketing has become a mainstay in almost every segment of the healthcare industry. No person is better at this than someone with a medical degree. For this purpose, you can immediately start learning the basics of digital marketing and social media marketing through free online courses like those provided by Google or Coursera.
The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s Information Technology Institute also offers a free digital marketing course in Arabic.
Medical Graphic Design
Medical graphic design includes designing marketing materials and graphics for the medical industry, or health content. It is closely related to and integrated with e-marketing. All you need is to learn how to use some design software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, besides having a strong knowledge of the basics of design and the use of colours. You can learn about this software through online courses, such as those offered by the Information Technology Institute. You can also learn the fundamentals of graphic design through a course offered by the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) on Coursera.
Creating Medical Software Applications
As food and medicine started to reach us at home easily through mobile applications, medical consultations and booking clinic appointments can be done through similar applications. In 2020, the healthcare startup economy witnessed huge support from investors around the world and a record $15.3 billion in funding.
To learn how to create such applications, you need to know some important software languages, such as Java and Python, besides learning the basics of building databases. You can learn such languages free on various educational YouTube channels, or through a learning website such as the Information Technology Institute, and courses on software development and mobile and website applications. You can also join a diploma-granting programme at a university faculty of computers and information, or participate in the One Million Arab Coders initiative on Udacity.
Bioinformatics in Scientific Research
Traditional drug development methodologies are subject to long, costly cycles and prone to economic failure. Therefore, bioinformatics, as an interdisciplinary field, reveals a research advantage in managing and processing large-scale biological and medical data, at relatively low cost and high throughput. Bioinformatics is often used in drug development research to discover drug efficacy, action mechanisms, and side effects, and to guide research and development toward possible new therapeutic targets.
“Egypt does not need more than 20,000 new pharmacists. I advise current students to have a look at the labour market before taking future steps.”Mohie Obeid, former head of Egypt’s Pharmacists Syndicate.
Studies suggest applying bioinformatics to new drug development and knowing how to use bioinformatics platforms. In order to learn bioinformatics, you, as a pharmacist, will have to enroll in a bioinformatics professional diploma programme offered at some universities, such as Egypt’s Nile University and the Faculty of Computers at Ain Shams University, or complete an online course such as the an biomatics specialisation offered by the University of California San Diego on Coursera.
Nutrition for Patients and Athletes
In order to be able to provide advice in nutrition and meet the requirements to practice this profession, you can submit your documents to Cairo University to obtain a diploma in applied and therapeutic nutrition, a joint programme offered by the faculties of agriculture and medicine; a diploma in therapeutic nutrition at Helwan University, or diplomas in clinical nutrition provided by Cairo University and Mansoura University’s Faculty of Pharmacy. Other options include the American Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist programme (BCNSP), the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) certification, and the Nutrition Support Certificate provided by ASPEN and AHSP, the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists.
It is important to consult the Pharmacists Syndicate about the diplomas that qualify for registration as a nutritionist in Egypt or to explore the diplomas approved in the country you wish to travel to so as not to fall victim to a misunderstanding.
Coursera also offers a number of online courses, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s Nutrition Essentials, Stanford University’s Child Nutrition and Cooking, and the Ludwig-Maximillian University of Munich’s Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy.
Medical Analysis Jobs
Pharmacists can study to get a diploma in medical analysis at the University of Alexandria’s High Institute of Public Health and most Egyptian science faculties. There are many specialisations in the field, such as microbiology, biochemistry, hematology, immunology, genetic analysis, molecular biology, pathology, and parasitology.
You can get a license to practice medical analysis upon getting a diploma or a master’s degree in the departments of microbiology or biochemistry in the faculties of pharmacy, according to the conditions announced by the Pharmacists Syndicate.
Medical Content Creation
The field of medical content creation and scientific translation are among the areas that you can delve into on a scientific basis. Your chances in this field will be enhanced by obtaining a certificate in digital media or translation to qualify you to practice translation or journalism on strong scientific foundations. You can also work with many e-marketing companies targeting health institutions and medical clinics, or provide your services as a freelancer on popular freelance websites, such as Upwork, Mostaql, and others.
In order to increase your chances of practicing administrative work in the health sector, you can study management sciences at a university faculty of commerce. The American University in Cairo, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, and the Sadat Academy for Management Sciences also offer programmes for quality, hospital management, business management, and human resource management.
E-Health Training and Education
With the spread of online learning websites, you can transfer your experience to those who need it after mastering training skills. The courses provided by the Information Technology Institute may help you.
Specialised genetic counsellors work with health-care providers, as part of providing a comprehensive health service for the patient. However, this profession is not widely known in the Arab world except in limited countries such as Qatar, which recently issued laws regulating the work of genetic counselors.