-As AHAPN commemorates World Pharmacists Day 2020
The celebration of World Pharmacists Day 2020 may not be completed without pharmacists baring their minds on the bottlenecks to the successful practice of Pharmacy in the country. This explains why members of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) have highlighted a number of challenges hindering the progress of the profession in Nigeria.
The limitations to the practice in the country, ranging from lack of full integration of pharmacists into the healthcare sector; delayed implementation of newly approved consultancy cadre for pharmacists in Nigeria; dismantling of open drug markets; high cost of imported medicines; mismanagement of drug revolving fund recapitalization, shortage of pharmacists and increased remuneration for pharmacists, payment of earned allowances to pharmacists, among others, need to be urgently resolved for the essence of the commemoration to be achieved in Nigeria, the National Chairman, AHAPN, Dr Kingsley Amibor has said.
Amibor made the disclosure to pharmanewsonline through a press statement in commemoration of World Pharmacists Day 2020, themed: “Pharmacists transforming global health”. He said it is an opportunity to communicate pharmacists roles in transforming health through a variety of health services in their communities, including healthy living counseling, vaccination and ensuring that medicines are taken correctly, thereby managing diseases well and improving quality of life.
“The roles of pharmacists have been expanding in the last couple of years. Specialist pharmacists are becoming highly sought after based on the need to maximize benefits of pharmacotherapy for better patient outcomes. Pharmaceutical care has emerged to replace the traditional dispensing role with its inherent limitations of practice.
“Improper medication use is a multibillion dollar challenge worldwide with pharmacists positioned to be part of the solution, given their medication expertise. More than half of this cost is due to medication adherence issues which pharmacists can readily address.
“A recent research of self-medication use in developing countries estimates that over 38% of patients self-diagnose and treat, contributing to the growing global burden of antimicrobial resistance. Pharmacists can address this by developing optimal treatment regimens based on available resources, providing appropriate patient medication education, and conducting medication reviews to help improve health outcomes.
“Pharmacists can contribute towards improving medication use and other global health issues at both individual and systems level. The rational use of medications will be essential in helping address the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in developing countries like Nigeria”, he explained.
Amibor further emphasized the responsibility of a consultant clinical pharmacist as he described the practitioner as a specialist in drugs and drug related matters, who has undergone a thorough and didactic training to provide the highest level of pharmaceutical care to patients in clinical settings, in collaboration with other healthcare givers. He equally provides expert advice to the physicians, nurses and other team players to ensure that the safest and best medications are provided to patients on individual basis (individualization of therapy) based on the patient’s biodata. This ensures optimization of individual therapy with best medications that are cost- effective, safe, available, affordable and with minimal side effects.
He listed other general roles of a clinical pharmacists to include: to evaluate and validate prescriptions or treatment regimens; reconcile the various prescriptions from various prescribers especially in comorbid patients. He said many COVID-19 patients suffered from elevated blood pressure and diabetes mellitus, in the absent of a clinician to advise on their medication accordingly.