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Health News Fri, 13 Nov 2009

Pharmacists shouldn't shy away from dispensing at OPDs

Miotso (GA/R), Nov 13, GNA - Pharmacists have been reminded that they could only deliver quality service to out-patients if they do not shy away from dispensing medicines at Out-Patient-Departments (OPDs). Mr James Ohemeng Kyei, Chief Pharmacist of the Ghana Health Service, gave the reminder at the inauguration of the Central University College (CUC) branch of the Ghana Pharmaceutical Students Association (GPSA) at Miotso near Prampram on Thursday.

It was on the theme: "The Student Pharmacist: Championing Excellent and Quality Pharmaceutical Care in Ghana and beyond". Mr Kyei expressed regret that most pharmacists had the erroneous perception that dispensing "is probably demeaning and a job for the unskilled staff of the pharmacy, for example, dispensing attendants." He said the attendants were not capable of assessing prescriptions for accuracy and completeness, in terms of dosage, medication interaction, medication error, incompatibility, and document all actions and interventions made on such prescriptions.

Mr Kyei said: "It is the pharmacist who has the requisite training and confidence to make such prescription interventions." He charged members of GPSA-CUC to be committed to their course to enable them provide OPD pharmaceutical care in accordance with the Standards of Pharmaceutical Care Document (SPCD).

Mr Kyei advised pharmacists working for local small scale manufacturing units to be guided by the SPCD, in order to produce quality, safe and efficacious products that would address the therapeutic needs of their clients.

The Chief Pharmacist said that medicines were an essential daily aid for millions of patients for relief of pain and suffering and the treatment of diseases. He said non-availability of essential medicines in the healthcare delivery system "leads to loss of confidence in the health system by the public."

Mr Kyei said currently, local pharmaceutical manufacturers had the capacity to produce only about 20 per cent of the essential drugs, and said this was challenge to the local pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase output.

He said a recent study on "Assessment of Human Resources for Pharmaceutical Services in Ghana," conducted by the Pharmacy Council with support from the World Health Organization revealed that Ghana could boast of only three per cent of pharmacists in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector compared with South East Asia which employed 55 per cent of their pharmacists in industry.

Mr Kyei said he envisioned that the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Ghana would employ 30 per cent of the pharmacists by 2020, and 50 per cent ten years later, by which time over 90.2 per cent of medicines on the National Health Insurance Authority medicines list, would be locally produced.

He reminded qualified pharmacists that quality pharmaceutical care in the country would remain a mirage if they refused to accept postings to deprived areas where their services would be needed most. Mr Joseph Nyoagbe, Registrar of the Pharmacy Council, in a speech read on his behalf, urged students to abide by the code of ethics of the profession as well as regulations governing the practice of pharmacy in the country.

Dr Alex Dodoo, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, called on student-pharmacists to take their training seriously to enable offer effective services after completion of their programmes. Prof Victor Gadzekpo, President of the University, urged members of the association to take their lessons seriously so that they could measure up to professional standards.

Prof George Konning, Head of the Pharmaceutical Science Department of the University, asked members of the association to contribute to the development of their communities. Mr Emmanuel Kwaku Ireland, First President of the GPSA-CUC, said the Association would inculcate in members sense of duty, confidence and high ethical and professional standards. Mr Ireland said it would also encourage members to disseminate scientific and professional knowledge. 13 Nov 09

Source: GNA