The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition that has been adopted by many schools and colleges of Pharmacy as a way to recognize and celebrate the transition of students into the clinical years of their program. It is an important rite of passage, as it signifies the beginning of the professionalization process and serves as a reminder of the responsibility, professionalism, and commitment that are expected of Pharmacists.

Central University recently held its Maiden White Coat Ceremony for Level 500 Pharmacy students. The ceremony was held in the presence of the Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor, preceptors, parents, and invited special guests. A total of 124 Level 500 students were adorned in a beautiful white pharmaceutical gown in 15 batches of 8 students, with each being gowned by a Pharmacist Preceptor or Mentor.

The Dean of School of Pharmacy, Central University, Professor Kwasi Adomako Ohemeng welcomed all participants, giving a history of the Doctor of Pharmacy program and how far it had come. He mentioned that Central University’s School of Pharmacy has some of the best laboratories in the country, with equipment such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and manual capsule fillers, which help in the professional training of pharmacy students.

The ceremony was also graced by a keynote speaker, Dr. Florence Amah Nkansah, who spoke on the theme “Excellence in Scientific Knowledge, Skills, And Professionalism in Pharmacy Practice in The 21st Century.”
The Vice Chancellor of Central University, Professor Bill Buenar Puplampu, admonished the celebrants on the fact that there is no room for errors in the pharmacy profession, as any mistakes could be costly given the importance of their work in caring for the health and well-being of patients. He urged the students to keep striving for excellence and to make the institution proud.

To acknowledge the excellent performances of the students so far, Silvia Amoah, Bawa Nafiu Issah, and Benedict Stanley were awarded as the top students of the Doctor of Pharmacy class of 2024. Each student of the class as well received a generous donation of BNFs from the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) as presented by the Executive Secretary of the Society, Rev. Dr. Denis Sena Awitty.

Overall, the White Coat Ceremony at Central University was a meaningful and significant event, marking the transition of students into the clinical years of their pharmacy program and emphasizing the importance of professionalism and excellence in the field. It was a proud moment for the students, their families, and the entire pharmacy community, and it served as a reminder of the important role that Pharmacists play in the healthcare system.

30% of palm oil on Ghanaian markets fail FDA’s Sudan dye test 

About 30% of palm oils found on the Ghanaian Market have failed the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA)’s nationwide Zero Sudan IV dye test, an increase from 7.3% in 2018.

This came to the fore as part of the Authority’s routine market surveillance activities on food safety conducted last year.

In October last year, the Authority sampled palm oils from major markets across the country including 10 major markets in Greater Accra to test for the presence of Sudan IV dye leading to several arrests.

The Laboratory analysis indicated that out of the 306 samples analysed, 70 representing failed the test for Sudan IV dye.

Except for the Upper West Region, all the regions had one or more samples from their markets testing positive for the presence of Sudan IV dye with Greater Accra recording the highest of failure rate (60.8%).

Some markets like Dome and the Mallam Attah Market in the Greater Accra Region had 100% failure for their samples analysed.

Sudan IV dye is a chemical used for in the production of textiles, leather, plastics, papers, hair, mineral oils, waxes, and cosmetics and not to be ingested.

The toxicity and illegal use of Sudan IV as food additives are strongly banned by the Food and Drugs Authority and other international bodies in the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius.

Despite the enormous public education and sensitization activities on the health implications of adding Sudan IV dye in foods especially palm oils, such as hyperactivity in children, severe allergies, hives, migraine, and diseases such as cancer, producers and Ghanaian traders continue to use this chemical as an enhancer in palm oil due to consumers preference and demand for “redness” in their palm oil products.

The FDA has initiated a rigorous public education campaign in major markets like Mallam Atta Market, Dome Market in Accra as well as other Satellite Markets across the country.

As part of this campaign, more samples are continuously being sampled across the markets and traders whose palm oil products fail the test will be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Additionally, the FDA is in the process of introducing a traceability system for AgroProducts in the country which would help in enhancing food safety issues as far as Agroproducts are concerned and safeguard the health and safety of the consuming public.