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Health News of Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Source: GNA

Pharmacists have critical role to play in meeting MDGs

Accra, May 31, GNA - Speakers at the induction of 179 newly register= ed pharmacists, on Tuesday, agreed that pharmacists had a critical role to pla= y in ensuring the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They contended that whatever clich=E9 or acronyms that would be adopte= d after 2015, the substantive health challenges would continue to bedevil human developmental efforts and pharmacists would continue to seek appropriate means to play roles to make the desired impact on society. The inductees made up of 96 women and 83 men were inducted on the theme: 93The Pharmacist 96 The key link in achieving the Millennium Development Goals" in Accra. They swore the Apothecary's Oath to maintain the highest standards o= f moral and ethical conduct and uphold the dignity of the Pharmacy profession.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, Director of Human Resource (MOH), said the theme was appropriate and timely at a time when malaria, HIV and other diseases exacted a heavy toll on the nation, in terms of human resource while the MDGs were expected to at least reduce these diseases by 2015. He noted that, as the first point of call in the communities, the role of pharmacists in providing quality pharmaceutical services could not be underestimated because they were in the unique position to influence communities on basic health needs in combating the MDGs. "A reduction in the incidence of diseases and health cost to individuals, especially the poor and vulnerable, would go a long way in reducing poverty and hunger. He said the Introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme is on= e way of addressing the problem. The Sector Minister said the Ministry would endeavour to create the necessary conditions to ensure that there was equitable and accessible distribution of health professionals and facilities in all parts of the country and entreated the registered pharmacists to accept postings into th= e districts.

"Over the years, more emphasis has been on curative aspect of diseas= es instead of prevention. The public has great confidence in you on matters of health; you should therefore use the opportunity to educate the public on topics such as sanitation, good nutrition, good eating habits and regular physical activities, which are critical for healthy living," he said. The Health Minister said the sale of drugs by peddlers was a threat to the profession and commended the Pharmacy Council's efforts at stemming t= he tide, adding that, 93Eradication of the canker must be the collective responsibility of all with the Council leading the way" "The Ministry would therefore push for the speedy passage of the New Health Bill currently with the Parliamentary Sub=96committee on Health to provide the authority and legal framework to the Pharmacy Council to perfor= m its mandatory regulatory duties more effectively," he added. Mr Kofi Nsiah-Poku, Chief Executive Officer of Kinapharma Limited said the induction provided a platform for pharmacists to affirm their commitmen= t towards attainment of the MDGs whilst redefining strategies that promoted accelerated progress in the remaining three-and-a-half years until the 2015 deadline.

He said though Ghana had made strides in stepping up the fight against malaria, HIV and AIDS, reducing infant and maternal mortality, high economi= c growth and low inflation, which were pre-conditions for human development, still needed to be done to meet the MDGs. "Today pharmacy has moved from historical orientation of product focused services to patient centred approaches and enhanced professional relationships with other healthcare providers to improve health care delivery". Mr Nsiah-Poku said over the last 20 years, pharmacists had doubled to over 1,700 in Ghana and it was expected that the number could increase to 3,000 by 2015, and noted that, the role of pharmacists to meet the MDGs could not be overemphasised. He charged the inductees to set goals and targets to help them unleash their potential, adding that, 93Educate before you medicate. Knowledge is the best medicine. The more you know the better you will feel". Mr Joseph Nyoagbe, Registrar of Pharmacy Council said contemporary rol= e of the pharmacists was ever changing and expanding with the advent of "pharmaceutical care" philosophy.

He said pharmacists were essential part of the clinical care team and rendered a lot towards quality therapeutic care, especially towards the achievement of the health related MDGs.

"The contribution of pharmacists towards reducing maternal mortality,= by clearly providing their expertise in management of uterotonics, falls in place" in that in pharmaceutical production, the supply of quality, safe and efficacious medicines attest to this assertion," he added. Mr Nyoagbe noted that besides their pivotal role in health care delivery, pharmacists could also contribute to policy analysis, formation and decision making as well as appreciate the major social-economic and environmental challenges to health. These are poverty and hunger, limited education, poor hygiene and health, literacy; gender inequality, unsafe water, poor sanitation, housing and other environmental problems. The Registrar said though there were a lot to be done to ensure a breakthrough in national efforts towards efficient health delivery and with a picture not all gloomy, there were still many bright spots as well. "The picture is therefore to prepare you against the tasks ahead, as new, young, energetic crusading pharmacists, very determined to cause changes in improving the lives of our people through your professional calling," he said.

He said with the strong support from the training institution and academia, present and future pharmacists must possess specific knowledge, attitude, skills and behaviour in support of these new roles. "The Pharmacy Council insists that pharmacists are present in pharmacies when such facilities are opened to the public for them to access advice on drugs and medications," He told the inductees that their role was sacred, a professional calling and legally binding and that the Council would strictly enforce the rules and regulation governing the practice. Dr Alex Dodoo, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana charge= d the inductees to be statesmen and women and not mere health professional an= d also stand up to the truth in all their endeavour.

He said they would be 93confronted with myriads of challenges that wo= uld demoralise them but they should not be perturbed", but stand up for their right and think outside the pharmacy box, adding that, 93don't only belo= ng and run through the mill but be outstanding". Awards were presented to Ms Adwoa Aboagyewa Asamoah, as the Best in Pharmacy Law and Ms Shelta Genfior, the Best in Ethics.

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