Health News of Thursday, 12 June 2014
The outgoing Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, has advised pharmacists and other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry to continuously update their knowledge to be able to contribute meaningfully to meet the evolving needs of society and ensure best practices.
She stressed the need for the authorities to seek ways of improving practice standards to ensure the provision of quality pharmaceutical services. Ms Ayittey made the call at the induction of 205 newly qualified pharmacists into the pharmaceutical profession in Accra yesterday.
The pharmacists were drawn from the School of Pharmacy of the University of Ghana, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Department of Pharmacy of the Central University College.
She urged the Pharmacy Council of Ghana to create sustainable avenues and employ multiple tools for the regulation and continuing professional development of pharmacists and other practitioners to bring local players in the industry at par with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
Change in pharmacy practice
Ms Ayittey said the trend in pharmacy had moved away from the supply of medicines to a more inclusive focus on the patient.
The role of a pharmacist, she added, had also evolved from a supplier of pharmaceutical products to a provider of services and information.
By taking responsibility for the needs of patients, she said, pharmacists could contribute to improving the lives of patients.
While acknowledging the exposure of patients to a wide range of information on drugs, some of which she noted might be inaccurate, Ms Ayittey said pharmacists could educate patients on drug prescriptions and usage.
On the issue of substandard and falsified medicines, she called for a concerted effort by the various stakeholders to ensure that medicines on the market were genuine and safe to use.
Speaking on the theme, “Advancing Pharmaceutical Care in Contemporary Ghana — Public Expectations”, the Founding Dean of the School of Pharmacy of the University of Ghana, Professor Arthur Commey Sackeyfio, said the key beneficiary of pharmacy practice was the patient.
He, therefore, urged the new pharmacists to make the well-being of patients their primary focus.
He advised the newly inducted pharmacists to consider forming partnerships as a means of pooling resources for the establishment of viable companies, instead of going for bank loans which attracted huge interests.
“The desire to acquire material possessions and affluence can significantly obscure your professional judgement, but you have to summon moral courage and a high sense of personal discipline to address these issues,” he advised.
Prof. Sackeyfio pointed out that the sale of restricted medicines by unauthorised persons, sometimes with the connivance of pharmacists, posed a serious health hazard to the public.
“These and other practices by the public that contravene the laws regulating the use of medicines can be corrected through the efforts of newly registered pharmacists who should see these practices as a threat to their professional heritage,” he said.
He congratulated the new pharmacists on their hard work and reminded them that the profession was a call to duty which required exceptional dedication and commitment.