Pharmacists have been urged to play a central role in the realization of universal health coverage in the country.
They have been called upon to provide quality information to patients as they are not only charged with dispensing medicine, but also providing crucial information to patients about their illness, their medication, and the signs to look for of a positive response to the dispensed medication.
Michael Mung’oma, a pharmacist and member of the National Executive Council in PSK said Kenya has many retail pharmacists and that many people seek medication and information from them before seeking help from hospitals or clinics, which makes it important for pharmacists to get continuous training.
Ijeoma Opene, the Route to Market Director for Sub Saharan Africa in AstraZeneca said it is important to provide pharmacists with the latest knowledge in medical science to enable them to determine the best treatment intervention for patients and when to refer to a physician.
“Our key objective is to significantly increase the knowledge of pharmacists in Kenya and across Sub Saharan Africa. We want to focus on increasing knowledge by bringing the latest scientific inventions and making it available to Pharmacists,” He said.
In his keynote presentation on Ethics, Dr. Karanja Ngugi who chairs the Ethics Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya said pharmacy has a critical role to play in the provision of quality healthcare, pharmacists ought to be guided by the higher calling of saving and improving the lives of patients.
He called on the government, the public and the private sector to join hands and rededicate themselves to doing the very best for patients.
They were speaking in Nairobi during the partnership between Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya and AstraZeneca a global science-led biopharmaceutical company to implement the ‘AstraZeneca Pharmacy Academy, a continuous professional development initiative for pharmacists in Kenya.
The AstraZeneca Pharmacy Academy will make use of findings from research and innovation from global pharmaceutical companies to impact new and up to date knowledge on Kenyan pharmacists. AstraZeneca’s commitment is to ensure that there is a platform to raise the bar in how to empower pharmacists as a first point of contact with patients.
“We want to drive science to the pharmacists to ensure that they understand the disease area more thoroughly and can direct the patient in better behavior change,” said Dr. Sylvia Vito, Regional Director East Africa Cluster in AstraZeneca.
It was also noted that Pharmacists are incredibly important to the healthcare system because they act as an interface between doctors and patients by educating the patient on the various medicines and drugs techniques.
Therefore, continuous professional development for pharmacists has got to be absolutely essential due to the nature of this role of providing clinical information to patients.
This is against the background that the first port of call for most Kenyans residing in the rural areas is at the pharmacy whenever they are unwell.