World Pharmacist day was birthed by the Turkish Pharmacy Association at the council meeting for International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Congress in Istanbul, Turkey in 2009. Following a unanimous decision by all council members, World Pharmacist Day was instituted on 25th September which has been recognized and celebrated globally since 2010.
World Pharmacist Day 2020 Theme
The 2020 World Pharmacist day theme focuses on the pharmacist role in transforming global health. The day aims to showcase the positive impact of pharmacists on quality healthcare service delivery within their communities, nationally and globally.
FIP announces a theme every year to commemorate the day. Various pharmaceutical bodies, i.e. associations, institutions, companies, pharmacies adopt this theme through a range of activities such as exhibitions, lectures, Medicine Therapy Management sessions, brown bag reviews among other activities, among other activities. This year marks the 10th Word Pharmacist Day and the theme set by FIP is “Transforming global health”.
The Role of Pharmacists in Healthcare
Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professional to members of the public and therefore, are significantly positioned as the first respondents to the public’s healthcare needs and emergencies.
As the custodian of medicines, pharmacists not only promote access to medicines, they optimize treatment through medicines by ensuring that the medicines are safe and effective. Pharmacists teach the patients on their medicines, to ensure that the patient takes the right medicine, at the right time, dose, for the right duration.
This, in turn, ensures positive patient clinical outcomes. By doing so, pharmacists are playing a large role in meeting the UN Sustainable goal, which aims to promote good health and wellbeing.
At the hospital, manufacturing (industry) or the community level, pharmacists are the experts on drugs and therefore, key persons to educating the public on drug-related issues. Depending on the kind of pharmacy set-up, aside from serving as drug information centres pharmacists offer other services which are key to health promotion. Such services include:
- Serving as vaccinating centres
- Lifestyle improvement centres: Patients can monitor their blood pressure, blood sugars and weight as well as receive advice on healthy lifestyles choices and disease prevention strategies.
Medical Innovation and Technology in Pharmacy
In current times where lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity are on the rise, pharmacists are pivotal in ensuring compliance for patients on chronic medicines. Traditionally this had always been done face to face when patients visit the pharmacy for repeat prescriptions.
More recently, through technological innovations, new approaches are being embraced such as virtual consultations and dispensing sessions for both prescription and OTC medicines. This is then followed up with the delivery of medicines to patients in the comfort of their own homes.
For those who prefer to come to the pharmacy medicine collection, reminders are issued via SMS or telephone. Others have adopted more state of the art technologies such as pharmacist robots which dispense medicines for patients upon being prompted to refill prescriptions by an automated system.
In such cases, the pharmacist reviews the package before dispatching the medicines to the patient. The parcel is then delivered to the patient in the comfort of their home.
Such interventions demonstrate that pharmacy is dynamic. We live fast-paced lifestyles, most patients on chronic medicines may not have the luxury of taking time off their work every month to have their prescriptions refilled.
The goal of the pharmacy department in KUTRRH is to promote access to quality, safe and effective treatments to all our patients, and though these interventions may seem unconventional, they ensure that we fulfil that goal.
Critical to medicines access is not only ensuring availability of quality, safe and efficacious medicines but also ensuring that the patient obtains the medicines at a price point which they can afford.
Pharmacists are well equipped to conduct a patient socio-economic assessment through effective communication with the patient. Thereafter, the pharmacist provides suitable alternative treatments. In the case where medicines are prescribed, and it is warranted, the switch is done in consultation with the prescriber. Such interventions intervention further strengthens access to medicines.
The Role of Pharmacy In COVID-19 Pandemic
In the world of drug innovation and formulation, the function of pharmacists cannot be understated, especially in current times, where we are racing to battle a global pandemic.
Pharmaceutical scientists in all parts of the world are working relentlessly to find a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19. As these efforts continue, pharmacists at KUTRRH continue to ensure that pharmaceutical services remain accessible to the public.
Some members of the public are succumbing to myths around COVID-19, and as a result, some patients have resorted to avoiding hospitals and clinics where they previously sought care, in a bid not to contract COVID-19.
Pharmacists, especially at the community level are addressing this misinformation within the public as well as ensuring that there is continuity of care to those members of the public who require medicines.
Inarguably, the pharmacist is a multi-faceted member of the healthcare fraternity who is integral to healthcare service delivery at all levels of healthcare.
Article by: Dr Wanjiru Mburu - Pharmacist at KUTRRH