(World Pharmacist Day 25th September 2020)
Primary healthcare can be described as a patient’s first contact point in the health care system. As such, pharmacists are an important part of primary health care because they are the most easily accessible in the community. the position of the pharmacist extends beyond the traditional product-oriented role of the dispensing, distribution of medicines and health supplies. Today’s pharmacist plays a more patient-oriented, administrative and public health role.
Aside from dispensing of medicines, pharmacists have proved to be an accessible resource for health and drug information. The centralized placement in the community and the clinical expertise of the pharmacist are invaluable. There are many public health functions that can benefit from the unique knowledge of pharmacists, including pharmacotherapy, access to care and prevention services, they further include;
- Providing pharmaceutical care based on sound therapeutic principles and evidence-based data in collaboration with patients, prescribers, and other members of an inter-professional health care team.
- Manage and use the resources of the health care system in collaboration with prescribers and other health care providers.
- Promote health improvement, wellness and disease prevention in cooperation with patients, communities, at-risk populations and other members of the inter-professional health care team.
- Manage complex drug therapy and make recommendations for initiation, modification and termination of therapy.
- Manage and control drug accessibility to different categories of patient, in addition to the prevention of irrational and illegal drug use.
- Counsel and educate patient on health and nutrition.
- Screen and refer patients to specialists and other health care providers
- Provide education to enable patients make decisions about their health.
- Pharmacists are increasingly integrated into these primary care teams, family practice settings, out-patient clinics and in community-based locations.
It is envisaged, through transdisciplinary approaches, that the contribution of the pharmacist to the public health workforce, health education, disease prevention and health promotion, public health advocacy and the quality of health will contribute to the achievement of optimal public health outcomes.
Abubakar Mukhtar BPharm. MSc