Abu Dhabi: Over 565 pharmacists across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi will now be required to complete a 20-hour Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) programme to renew their licences.

The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announced that the CPE programme is now a requirement for pharmacists working in the public and private sector, effective February 2009.

The CPE will offer educational programmes for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other health practitioners through courses that cover advances in pharmacy, insights on the innovative use of technology and developing and delivering learning opportunities to practice pharmacy.

There are currently a total of 358 pharmacies across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, of which 237 are located in Abu Dhabi, 108 in the Eastern Region and 13 in the Western Region.

According to Dr Oliver Harrison, Director of HAAD's Public Health and Policy Division, pharmacists before being licensed to work in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi will be required to complete 20 hours of the CPE, with a minimum of 10 hours to be accredited by HAAD.

"This decision will contribute towards maintaining the skill levels and experience of professionals...The new programme for Continuing Pharmacy Education, offers opportunities for pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to enrich and expand their knowledge in the framework of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," said Harrison.

"Continuing Pharmacy Education is an essential part of professional development for pharmacists, not an optional extra," said Dr Mohammad Abu Al Khair, Advisor to the Pharma/Medicine Department, HAAD.