59th IPSF World Congress in Netherlands

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It’s been years since I put this writing on the draft. >.< Finally, I could finish it! Even though it took almost 4 years. LoL. I don’t know why, but it feels like I have a debt to everyone if I go travelling without sharing the story. As the event that I’m going to tell you lasted for 11 days, I really wanted to tell you a lot. However, I decided to summarize it so everyone won’t be bored. ^^

Well, one of the biggest events of world pharmacy students that I will share is IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation) World Congress. In 2013, I had the opportunity to attend the 59th IPSF World Congress at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. The Congress lasted for 11 days with packed events, ranging from workshops, symposiums, competitions, general assembly, campaign, pharmacy visit, etc. In one session, there could be 2-3 event options that we could choose because they were held together. If you participated in world congress as a participant / non official delegates, then there were many options of events that could be joined, you could choose an event that suited your interests, whether workshops, competitions, visits, etc. Whereas if you came as official delegates, then you were required to attend a general assembly that took place almost a whole day and every day. The General Assembly is IPSF annual meeting, where members of the organization gather to report the activities of each member, discuss IPSF Executive’s accountability report, and selection of the new IPSF Executives. There is also bidding for members who want to host World Congress in the next two years, while the next year’s congress host was already decided in the last year’s world congress.

As an LIT participant, I and the other LIT participants were given the task to be the organizer of auction night and sell auction coupons during the IPSF World Congress. The collected funds would be donated to the IPSF Development Fund.


LIT last day

Now, we start from the first day! ^ O ^

The first day was registration and the opening ceremony. From the LIT spot, I and the other LIT participants were immediately driven to world congress location using a limo (mini bus).

limo (mini bus)

When we arrived, there were quite a number of people had arrived. Wow, It felt like a United Nations miniature!! There were more than 60 countries from 5 continents delegated their pharmacy students to this event. It was really nice to see it.  Yup, we aree created in nations and tribes to know each other. ^^

Somehow I felt lucky that I joined LIT program before the congress as we had a chance to get acquainted with the committees first. Also, I get used to the environment, so it was easier to be friends with the others, as the other LIT participants introduced the congress delegates from their country.

During the conference, there were several workshops which were handled by LIT participants. Because at that time I was still a newbie, I only helped with the ice breaking. Well, when I got to know the other congress participants, most of them were fifth and sixth graders who were going to graduate. In fact, there were also many who had already graduated, hehe, so I was still classified as a newbie as I was a sophomore. In general, most of pharmacy education in universities lasts for 5-6 years. In some countries, after taking bachelor degree in Pharmacy for 5-6 years and pass the national exams, you can become a pharmacist directly. Meanwhile in Indonesia, I have to study for 4 years to get bachelor degree in pharmacy and one more year professional degree to be a licensed pharmacist in a pharmacy. In Indonesia, after graduating from the 4-years bachelor degree, you can work in pharmaceutical industries or other industries, but you cannot work in a pharmacy without license (by taking one more year professional degree).

I had a chat with a Dutch girl called Anne, who picked me up at LIT event earlier. She said pharmacy education in the Netherlands lasted for 6 years.  If you want to be a pharmacist at the hospital, you have to study 3 years more. Wow!! Clinical and hospital-oriented pharmacy are indeed more popular today. Well, pharmacist is a quite promising job abroad, for example in the United States, pharmacist is in the top 5 jobs with the highest salary. Suddenly I remembered my conversation with a Dutch friend who took medical degree, when I said that I was taking a pharmacy degree, she was amazed because she had previously attended pharmacy education, but decided to change the mayor because she couldn’t stand with it. Well, I admit that studying pharmacy is quite a burden.  There are laboratory practices every day, lectures from morning to evening, reports, journals, and you have to master in chemistry, biology, math, and physics. >.< So, for those who don’t like to be busy at school, you need to consider taking a pharmacy degree, haha. But if you think about how useful pharmacy knowledge in everyday life, you can forget the burden.

Well, come back to registration. After registration (taking name tags, bags, booklets, keys, etc.), time to check the room! It turned out that I was in the same room with my friend in my college, named Afina. Previously, we were able to request who our roommate is. Then, we were ready for the opening ceremony in the evening. The opening ceremony took place at Dom Church, a church that become the mascot of Utrecht.

Opening Ceremony at Dom Church Utrecht

Opening Ceremony at Dom Church

Dom Church Utrecht

Dom Church from a distance

Most of the girls wore dresses at this opening ceremony, while I wore batik blazer, I felt somehow quite formal. >.< The opening ceremony consisted of welcoming speech from the president of IPSF, the chairman of the event, etc. And here we were served with super tasty food. :9

The second day consisted of several workshops. For non-official delegates, there were many workshops to join. I think it was quite confusing to choose because almost all the workshops were interesting. Today’s workshops’ options included Discover IPSF, Leadership and the FIP YPG, IPSF in Your Corner, Pharmacy Games, PCE Preparation Workshop, CSE Preparation Workshop, Innovation and the Responsible Use of Medicine, Pharmaceutical Branding – Keeping it Up, Humanitarian Relief: What Can a Pharmacist Do? Group Dynamics and Team Building. Then, in the evening there was Neon Lab Coat Party. The party was held every night, but it was not mandatory to join. Actually the party was the opportunity to get know the other participants.

IPSF in Your Corner

IPSF in Your Corner

Activities that took place on the third day included ‘Personalized Medicine’ Scientific Symposium, Career and Scientific Poster Exhibition, Congress Photo, and Elections Candidate Meeting. At night, as usual, there was a party. This day’s party theme was Casino Royale 007 Party. At the symposium scientific session, several professors from various European and American universities gave lectures on personalized medicine, which is treatment based on the character of the patient’s genome, not generalized as a general medical practice, because certain genes do affect a person’s vulnerability to a disease. The lectures included, ‘Personalized Health and Its Implementation into Healthcare’, ‘Systems Pharmacology-Towards the Prediction of Efficacy and Safety’, ‘Personalized Medicine and Cancer Research’, ‘Personalized Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Asthma’, ‘Personalized Medicine and Drug Metabolism’, ‘Personalized Medicine and Economics’.

During the symposium coffee break, participants could see the scientific poster and visited several company booths related to pharmacy careers. In the afternoon session, a photo was taken with all congress participants and organizers in front of the David de Wield Building (De Uithof, University of Utrech). At night, after dinner, participants prepared themselves for Casino Royale 007 Party which started at 10pm, whereas for participants who wanted to become IPSF Executives or Coordinators held a meeting in Locke Building D.

Well, there was something quite funny. When I had a coffee break, I was suddenly invited to chat in English with Fyda, a delegation from UGM. When I saw her name tag, she was from Indonesia. I said to her “Hey, why don’t we just speak in Bahasa  Indonesia? Don’t speak in English, haha”. After hearing that, she was quite shocked, “eh you are Indonesian?” Me: “Of course, my nametag clearly showed that I’m from Indonesia,”. Fyda: “Gosh, I thought that you’re from Turkey.” Me: “Turkey? Well, thank you, I think Turkish girls are beautiful, haha”

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Congress Photo

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Scientific Symposium

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Casino Royale 007 Party

On the fourth day, the activities were as follows: Educational Symposium with the theme ‘Developing Pharmaceutical Care through Collaborative Practice’, Career and Member’s Poster Exhibition, Pharmastep Workshop, and International Evening. Meanwhile, this day’s Educational Symposium consisted of several lectures that were given by professors and practitioners from Europe and America, such as ‘Pharmacy Workforce Development’, ‘Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice: The Challenge for Students and Teachers’, ‘Collaborative Drug Therapy Management: Implication for Education and Practice’, ‘Collaborative Practice Require a Healthcare Team’, ‘The Pharmacist’s Role in the Multi-Professional Healthcare Team’, ‘Physicians-Pharmacists Quality Circle and Other Collaborative Practices’.

During the symposium coffee break, participants could see posters of IPSF member activities from various countries. Not all countries display posters. Well, my country presented posters of IPSF activities.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

HMF ‘Ars Paeparandi’ Activity Poster

Develop Pharmaceutical Care Through Collaborative Practice

In addition, like the previous day, participants could also visit several booths of the sponsoring companies regarding the career. For the party, the theme was international night, where each country performed or introduced its culture. The delegates from Indonesia performed a popular dangdut rock dance, haha.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

International Night

On the fifth day, the schedule was very packed. For official delegates, there was general assembly from morning to evening. Whereas for nonofficial delegates, they could take part in competitions (Patient Counseling Event and Clinical Skills Event) or various workshop options, such as ‘Your Opportunity in IPSF’, ‘Management Team’, ‘Young Researches Forum’, ‘Integrated Pharmaceutical Healthcare’, ‘EPSA-IPSF Joint Workshop’, ‘Compounding Event Workshop’, ‘IPSF in Policy, Pharmacists: an endangered species?’, ‘Integrated Pharmaceutical Care’, ‘Effective Desk for Pharmacists’, ‘Public Speaking & Presentation Skills’, ‘PHSC Workshop: Anti Counterfeit Drugs Campaign’. Then at night, there was a party with the theme ‘Underwater World: Will You Find your Nemo?’

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

General Assembly

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

With Chizuru Official Delegates from Japan

On the sixth day, Dutch Day was being held and there were outdoor activities during the day. Meanwhile, in the morning, there were PAR America (Pan America Regional Office) Assembly and the EMRO (East Mediterranian Regional Office) Assembly. So I, who is from Indonesia, represented by APRO (Asia Pacific Regional Office), did not have an event in the morning. I decided to take a walk around the Utrecht campus to enjoy the environment in the Netherlands. On the road, several Dutch people greeted me with Bahasa Indonesia! They were very friendly to Indonesians, haha.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands
59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Utrecht City

Dutch Day was a kind of cultural day to get know Dutch culture. During Dutch Day, there were competitions and games that related to Dutch culture. Besides getting know Dutch culture, I think the event was held so that the participants from many countries would mingle each others. As sometimes some people only mingled with friend from their own country. In addition, we also had the opportunity to take pictures with a number of organizers who were wearing Dutch traditional costume.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Dutch Day

On the seventh day, there was still general assembly for official delegates. Whereas for the nonofficial delegates, the activities were Compounding Event and Workshops, including WHSA-Team Collaboration, PPAC Workshop, Time Management, Integrated Pharmaceutical Healthcare, Pharmacists Role in Disasters, Project Management, Integrated Pharmaceutical Healthcare, PHSC Workshop: Tuberculosis, Strategic Management, Pharmacy Care in the Absence of Adequate Regulations. In the afternoon, I decided to join Pharmacy Visit, which was visiting a pharmacy in the Netherlands. I was amazed by the pharmacies in the Netherlands, because the pharmaceutical services were really great. Drugs were packaged based on the number of drugs that should be taken per day. It was not collected based on type of drugs. Suppose a patient drinks 6 types of drugs (multipharmacy), divided into three times, morning, afternoon, and night. Each pack contained 6 drugs, thus avoiding the patient forget to take one of the drugs. Because multipharmacy patients are very susceptible to forget taking their drugs. In addition, the pharmacy also provided drug delivery, especially for elderly patients.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Pharmacist Counseling Room

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Behind Pharmacy

I and Afina visited different pharmacy. I visited Pharmacy Koert Biltstraat, while afina visited Pharmacy Lombok. Yup, Pharmacy Lombok! In the Netherlands, there are quite a number of street names that are related to Indonesian. Several times I found streets and places with the name of the island and heroes from Indonesia.

Pharmacy Lombok
Pharmacy Lombok
Pharmacy Lombok
Pharmacy Lombok

Pharmacy Lombok

Museum Maluku in Utrecht

‘Museum Maluku’ in Utrecht

The evening agenda was Auction Night. As an LiT participant, I got a task to sell Auction Night coupons. So the Auction Night was used to collect IPSF Development Fund. The collected funds would then be used for IPSF events or grant for IPSF members who want to take part in the IPSF events but do not have funds. The more coupons you buy, the more likely you are to get the auction item. The auction items were collected from IPSF World Congress participants during the registration. Congress participants were encouraged to bring souvenirs from their respective countries to be auctioned at auction night. It was not mandatory. I decided to donate batik, a famous cloth from Indonesia for the auction night.

On the eighth day, there was still general assembly for official delegates. As for participants, they could attend Public Health Campaign (PHC) and Pharmacy Profession Awareness Campaign (PPAC), as well as workshops such as ‘Patient Education Training (PET) Junior Safety’, ‘PET Research Methodology’, ‘Intellectual Property, Social Media for Organizations’, ‘Aspect of Military Pharmacy’, ‘Cannabis as a Medicine’, ‘How to Preserve Medical Safety in Airport Pharmacy, and Humanitarian Relief: What Can a Pharmacists Do?’

FYI, regarding one of the workshop themes, Cannabis as a Medicine, I was really curious about its legal aspect in the Netherlands. I asked one of the Dutch committees. Even though in the Netherlands using marijuana is legal, it does not mean there are no rules at all. The marijuana is consumed in cafes, you cannot use it anywhere, especially in public space. Mostlyly the consumers are foreigners.

On the ninth day, is non official delegates were permitted to join general assembly which could only be attended if you were official delegates. They could sit behind the official delegates. The evening agenda was Executive Handover Meeting for the newly elected IPSF Executives and the ‘Ramadhan-Arabian Nights Evening’ where participants were encouraged to use an Arabic dress code.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

Together with Sudanese and South Korean (Arabian Night)

The tenth day coincided with Eid al-Fitr. The committees gave Muslim participants the opportunity to pray Eid al-Fitr, as all the activities started at 11.00. Meanwhile in the afternoon, the final of the Patient Counseling Event (PCE) and Clinical Skill Event (CSE) were hold. The participants who did not take part in the competitions could take part in the workshop, including: ‘Contact Person Workshop’, ‘Student Exchange Officer Workshop’, ‘Introduction to Pharmacoeconomics’, ‘Pharmaceutical Care in the Pacific’, ‘Intellectual Property in Medicine, Pharmacists or Entrepreneurs’. And … at night there was an official closing of the congress activities, namely ‘Gala Dinner’ and ‘Gala Party’.

59th IPSF World Congress the Netherlands

with LIT Friends at Gala Dinner

The eleventh day was the last day. All participants were ready to go home. Meanwhile, for those who had registered for a tour around the Netherlands (you had to pay again and it was more expensive than traveling alone), they had to get ready for the tour.

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