Pharmaceutical Biology

A) Pharmacy in Global Health

Early in his career, Lutz Heide worked for three years as Senior Pharmacist Adviser to the Refugee Health Unit, Ministry of Health, Somalia. From Jan. 2014 to Dec. 2015, Heide was granted official leave from Tübingen University and worked again in Africa, as a professor of the Pharmacy Department, University of Malawi, under a contract with the German development cooperation (GIZ/CIM). Upon his return to Tuebingen University, Prof. Heide established a new research and teaching focus related to Pharmacy in Global Health.

His interests include:

1) Quality of medicines in Africa

See article on our work in Attempto Magazine, University of Tübingen

Substandard and falsified medicines pose a serious threat to public health, especially in developing countries. In 2017, the World Health Organization published a comprehensive review on this problem. According to this review, one in ten medicines in developing countries is substandard or falsified. The expenditure for such poor-quality medicines amounts to 30 billion US $ per year, and the annual number of deaths resulting from substandard and falsified medicines is estimated to be 74,000 – 169,000 in childhood pneumonia, and 31,000 – 116,000 in malaria. For comparison: the Ebola epidemic in Africa in the years 2014/15 caused a total of 12,000 deaths.

In collaboration with the German Institute für Medical Mission (DIFAEM) in Tuebingen, with the University of Malawi and the University of Rwanda, and with church-based health services in Africa, the group of Prof. Heide carries out research on the quality of medicines in different African countries. One project in Malawi is supported by the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and another one in Rwanda is supported by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation. Further studies are ongoing in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and new studies are in preparation in Nigeria and Chad.

Below is a 15 minute film on our work in Cameroon.

Fighting falsified medicines in Africa

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2) Drug and medical supplies management in developing countries; availability and accessibility of anti-infective medicines

Most of the causes of disability and death in developing countries can be prevented or treated with safe, effective and affordable essential medicines. Nevertheless, hundreds of millions of people do not have regular access to essential medicines. A principal challenge in developing countries is to establish effective pharmaceutical supply chain management systems which ensure that essential medicines are available, accessible and affordable for the patients.

Prof. Heide taught “Drug and Medical Supplies Management” at the University of Malawi, and is teaching this subject in the new course “Pharmacy in Global Health” at Tübingen University. The group of Prof. Heide carries out research projects on the availability and accessibility of medicines in Africa, in collaboration with African partner organizations.

3) Pharmaceutical education in developing countries

Pharmacy education in developing countries is important to ensure access to essential medicines, rational use of medicines, and sustainability of health services. The group of Prof. Heide is involved in the development and implementation of pharmaceutical education projects in Africa, including cooperation with the Regional Centre of Excellence for Health Supply Chain Management at the University of Rwanda, supported by the German Development Bank (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, KfW), the African Centre of Excellence of Public Health and Herbal Medicine at the University of Malawi, supported by the World Bank, and others.

4) Course “Pharmacy in Global Health” at Tübingen University

With support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (“Innovative Curricula and Practice-Oriented Teaching“; ESIT-ICPL) and the WILLE project for Service Learning at Tuebingen University, the unique course “Pharmacy in Global Health” is offered for undergraduate students of pharmacy, for MSc students of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Technologies, and for licensed pharmacists. The course is taught mostly in German language, at the Pharmaceutical Institute of Tuebingen University. Details on this course can be found here.