World Pharmacists Day was brought to life at the FIP Council 2009 in Istanbul with the purpose of encouraging activities that promote and advocate for the role of the Pharmacist in improving health in every corner of the world. Each year, the organization announces a unique theme so that associations and individuals in the pharmaceutical industry can put together national campaigns or local projects to showcase the good work they do in helping to improve the health of people around the world.
This year’s theme is “Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health”.
Trust is an integral part of all human relationships. Trust is also essential to health care: there is a significant association between trust in healthcare professionals and health outcomes for patients. Across diverse clinical settings, patients reported greater satisfaction with treatment, showed more beneficial health behaviours and fewer symptoms, and experienced improved quality of life when they had higher trust in their healthcare professionals.
Recently, distrust of societal leaders has increased and distrust of information sources is at a historical peak, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying infodemic. At a time of uncertainty and when vaccine hesitancy remains a major hurdle, public trust in pharmacy is more important than ever.
Over the years, Pharmacists have earned the confidence of the public through consistent provision of healthcare and public education. Since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, Pharmacists have been working on the frontlines of health care every day, providing essential health care services in various settings in an effort to prevent, manage, and contain the disease.
Community Pharmacists worldwide have provided uninterrupted support to the healthcare system by diverting the influx of patients away from hospitals, delivering medications to patients, educating patients on telehealth services, assessing patients for renewal of chronic medications, performing consultations on minor ailments, clarifying misconceptions about COVID-19 treatments, and contributing to COVID-19 screening.
Public Health Pharmacists have been focused on improving the health of the population through the use of medicines and pharmacy services. They help in the establishment of some screening programs to check out the status of immunization and identify of some undiagnosed medical conditions. Their activities also help to reduce the number of hospital admissions due to drug therapy mismanagement and counterfeit medications. The role of Public Health Pharmacists in public education as well as emergency planning and service delivery of specialized pharmaceuticals such as vaccines, has been critical during the pandemic.
Clinical Pharmacists have been part of the COVID-19 efforts, playing roles in the management of drug shortages, development of treatment protocols, participation in patient rounds, interpretation of lab results for COVID-19, participant recruitment for clinical trials, exploration of new drugs, medication management advice, and antimicrobial stewardship.
Pharmacists in the field of Drug Production are well aware of the significance of timely distribution of medications to patients, particularly life-saving and essential drugs during the current emergency circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increased demand of drugs, surgical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers and supportive care appliances. It further affected the global supply chain network for manufacturing and delivering medicines. Nonetheless, Pharmacists in this area have quickly adapted new ways to ensure the continuous and timely production and delivery of key medicines being utilized, not only for COVID-19 but also for other diseases.
In the Area of Quality Assurance, Pharmacists ensure that the medicine that reaches the patient is safe, effective, and acceptable to the patient. They have been involved in COVID-19 research, vaccine and broad-spectrum antiviral drug development during the pandemic. Pharmacists in this area make sure that medications are used safely and appropriately during clinical trials and research experiments. They also play a crucial role in ensuring the ethical aspect and effective resource utilization during clinical research conducted by the industry
The rapid increase in drug demand requires vigilant monitoring of supply, procurement, and storage of medicines and medical equipment. Regulatory and Administrative Pharmacists have been working hard to ensure that Pharmacists performing in community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, or in industrial sectors are fully equipped and authorized to respond to the COVID-19 emergency plan. Drug Regulatory Pharmacists are constantly on the lookout and taking all necessary steps to assure the supply of quality medicines. Pharmacists at the administrative levels make sure that pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders realize their duty and ensure the availability of the drugs to those who need them the most.
This year’s World Pharmacists Day campaign is an opportunity for Pharmacy to show appreciation for the trust placed in the profession and increase awareness of this trust and Pharmacists’ vital role in improving health.
We can also put this trust to good use by providing all the relevant information relating to vaccines and vaccination.
On this year’s World Pharmacist Day, the Ghana College of Pharmacists urges all Pharmacists around the world to join this year’s campaign and spread these relevant messages. We also urge Pharmacists to act to continually build on the trust that we have among our community members.