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Health News Wed, 20 May 2009

Pharmacy Council inducts newly qualified pharmacists

Accra, May 20, GNA - The Pharmacy Council on Wednesday inducted 131 newly qualified candidates into the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSG).

The induction service on the theme: "Optimising Pharmaceutical Workforce for National Development," was to stress the need for ensuring equitable access to quality and affordable pharmaceutical care and services, while maintaining a viable regulatory environment for rational use of medicines.

The Council presented two awards - The John Ocran Award (GH¢500) and the Pharmacy Practice Award (GH¢900) - to Mr Samuel Elvin Nii Blankson-Darku for emerging the over all best candidate. Mr Eric Mensah Ofori also received GH¢500 and a certificate for emerging the best in Pharmacy Law and Ethics. Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, Deputy Minister of Health, congratulated the inductees for their hard work and success and urged them to be committed to ensuring quality pharmaceutical services. He said it was the primary objective of government to support primary health care and ensure that quality services were made accessible to deprived communities and also ensure extended training for health institutions to be able to meet the expected demands. Dr Kunbuor said the Ministry of Health would urgently require the services of professional pharmacists to ensure the success of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) especially in ensuring the administration of prescribed drugs for patients and in the distribution of Anti-Retroviral Drugs to persons infected by HIV/AIDS. He said, while improving on curative health care for all, emphasis should also be laid on preventive health through healthy living and proper dietary practices, combined with a lot of exercises and rest. He said the cost of health care for both government and families had been noted to be always high, putting a lot of stress on their limited resources.

Dr Kunbuor said the Ministry of Health's agenda to pursue the promotion of preventive health would require professional support in the sensitization of the public on the need to observe basic environmental and personal hygiene and other healthy lifestyles. He expressed worry over the proliferation of herbal concoctions and products on the market and called on the Pharmacy Council to collaborate with the Food and Drugs Board and the Mampong Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine to rid the system of charlatans. Mr. Joseph Nyoagbe, Registrar, Pharmacy Council, said the pharmacy workforce was going through gradual transformations and had acquired skills which were yet to be fully optimized.

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He said though pharmacists were embracing changing professional roles, there appeared a growing perception among various pharmaceutical care providers of lack of support for broadening pharmacy responsibilities beyond dispensing functions. "Currently pharmacists and pharmaceutical workforce potentially posses large stores of untapped skills, knowledge and experience for health improvement programmes," he said. Mr Nyoagbe said all over the world health care systems were going through dramatic changes, with increasing disease burdens due to malaria, HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases, adding that corresponding growth in demand on health systems and patients' needs had increased pressures on health care facilities, thereby overstretching them. He stated that maximizing the potential of pharmaceutical workforce was achievable, adding that there was the need to focus more on factors that promoted changing professional roles. He said this should include activities that positively impacted patients' drug therapy outcomes through disease state management, expanding the use of information and communication technology, promoting and involving the roles of pharmacy technicians, Medicine Counter Assistants and Licensed Chemical Sellers in the medicine supply process.

Dr Alex Dodoo, President, PSG, the new member to exhibit a high sense of responsibility, professionalism, truthfulness and integrity. Mrs Akua Kese Ofori-Asumadu, National Programme Co-ordinator, International Labour Organisation (ILO), encouraged the inductees to look outside the pharmacy shop and laboratories and also consider the services of public health practitioners.

Source: GNA