The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has called on government to leverage the expansive expertise of pharmacists in medicines and other health technologies, including vaccines, and their unique accessibility to the general public.
In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency and signed by Benjamin K. Botwe, President PSGH said the professionals could be key players in wide-scale administration of vaccines once a safe vaccine for the COVID-19 was approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and available to be used in Ghana.
It said Pharmacists could be advocates, educators and qualified providers of vaccinations against COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable diseases; “this will make vaccines widely available in convenient locations and in familiar settings as many people already utilize pharmacies as their first port of call for many ailments.”
It said despite the commendable effort by government to control the spread of the disease, the PSGH noted with concern the upsurge of active cases over the past few weeks and the rise in number of severe cases and mortality.
The PSGH said it fully supported the restrictions placed on weddings, funerals, concerts, among other social gatherings and called on the government, as a matter of utmost urgency to further intensify the pandemic response by strengthening diseases surveillance and public health interventions.
The PSGH commended Pharmacists for adhering to all the relevant standard operating procedures (SOPs) relating to COVID-19 as well as general infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols in pharmacies.
It said just as there was a rush for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the early days of the pandemic, the general public was now fixated on procuring Ivermectin and Azithromycin tablets from community pharmacies as prophylaxis against COVID-19 sometimes on scanned prescriptions, text or WhatsApp messages from sources that cannot be immediately verified.
“I encourage all Pharmacists not to dispense these to clients without a valid prescription but rather seek to offer appropriate pharmaceutical care for immediate symptoms and refer where necessary,” it said.
It said the decision was to avoid possible resistance in patients who may depend on these medications to improve their quality of life as they fight off parasitic infections.
The statement encouraged Pharmacists to continue to bring their pharmaceutical knowledge and expertise to bear as they extemporaneously prepare safe and efficacious alcohol-based hand sanitizers for use by various facilities, staff, personnel and the general public.
It also called on all Pharmacists to regularly engage their patients and clients to mollify their fears regarding safety and credibility of COVID-19 vaccines, arising out of the many myths, misconceptions and unfounded conspiracy theories.
“We need to reinforce beyond doubt the critical role immunization plays within a functioning health delivery system. We need to prepare a ‘vaccine literate’ public who will trust the science and embrace new vaccines for COVID-19 as they become available,” it said.
It assured the citizenry that pharmacies and pharmacists have the shared responsibility of storing appropriate stocks of pharmaceutical products (medicines, masks, sanitizers, etc) to supply on demand, informing and educating the public, patient counselling, medicines use review and adherence, referring of suspected cases to public health and other designated facilities, promoting disease prevention and promoting infection control.
It called on the public to call on pharmacists and pharmacies in their locality for appropriate pharmaceutical care and services.
Source: Ghana News Agency