Under the theme “Transforming global health”, today September 25th, 2020, Pharmacist in Dominica joined the rest of the world in not only observing but celebrating the 10th World Pharmacists Day.
Today, members of the public got the opportunity to understand how pharmacists are transforming health through a variety of health services in their communities, including advising on healthy living, vaccinating to prevent disease, and ensuring that medicines are taken correctly, thereby managing diseases well and improving quality of life.
As highlighted by Chief Pharmacist (Ag.) Anna Royer-Edmund, “We aim to show how pharmacists contribute to a world where everyone benefits from access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and health technologies, as well as from pharmaceutical care services.”
The message for today’s observance, according to Royer-Edmund, also covers how pharmaceutical scientists transform and prolong people’s lives by developing safe and effective medicines and vaccines.
She notes, “On the education front, pharmacy educators are transforming outcomes by ensuring that there are enough qualified and competent pharmacists and scientists to meet the growing needs of our societies.”
In celebration of this year’s World Pharmacists Day, members were encouraged to wear T- Shirts depicting the Dominica Pharmaceutical Society and World Pharmacist Day logo and theme. Pharmacists also interacted with clients providing information on their roles and responsibilities as well as provide patient counselling services, mediation therapy management, etc.
The Chief Pharmacist saluted all pharmacists who have contributed and continue to contribute to the development of the pharmacy profession in Dominica.
Meantime, speaking to Dominica News Online (DNO) Pharmacist of 26 years, Israel Fontaine, who is also the lead pharmacist at Fresh Market Pharmacy, depicted the profession as a vitally important one, referring to the pharmacist as “the drug expert.”
“Daily, we have to ensure that the patients get proper pharmaceutical care. We are the go-to person between the doctor and the patient so it’s our responsibility to procure proper medication or good quality medicine that the patient can use,” Fontaine stated. “We have to ensure that the patient knows why they are taking it, how and what they are taking, and the things they can do and what they cannot do; all of these things fall under our responsibility.”
He said pharmacists also have to ensure that whatever medication patients take is not going to interfere with their disease condition or interact with another medicine that they are taking or other food that they eat.
He said some of the challenges include accessibility and affordability of certain medicines, especially emergency medicine and the newer ones that are coming out.
Fountaine pointed to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a greater strain on the sector.
“Because of the disease, we have in some way more restrictions than before as it pertains to obtaining top quality medication especially those that are used or have some value in the treatment of the COVID infections. The bigger countries that are manufacturing these medications most of them have placed restrictions on the export of those products,” the Pharmacist stated.
“In the United States, an order can only contain a certain amount of gloves or mask so that’s a challenge in itself for us. However, we have been able to shop around and get alternative brands but it is still a challenge in getting certain products especially from Europe because a lot of the factories are operating on skeleton staff and there’s a greater demand for certain products,” he pointed out.
Paracetamol, for example, Fountain went on to explain, are very difficult to get because of a present ban on placed on the importation of the product from China as well as a limitation on the product from India.
“So COVID-19 has played a part in making medicine more difficult to source,” he noted.
He described the profession as “lucrative” disclosing that anyone who wished to join “will certainly not be unemployed as throughout the world, there is a shortage of over a million pharmacists; so there are jobs available.”
The Fresh Market Chief Pharmacist encouraged persons who are interested in learning more about the profession, to visit the team at Fresh Market or call 1 767 3160310 or 2556883.