-Says at This Year’s World Pharmacists Day
Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, has called on pharmacists across the country to work together to end the continued streets selling of drugs.
Dr. Jallah said she believes that pharmacists working together is the best solution to eradicate the selling of drugs in street corners in the country.
Dr Jallah spoke recently on the ground of the Ministry of Health where it was a scene of excitements and jubilation after pharmacists across the country converged to Joined ranks with millions of pharmacists globally to celebrate World Pharmacists Day.
September 25 every year is used to highlight the value of the pharmacy profession to stakeholders and to celebrate pharmacy globally, which was originally adopted in 2009 at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
At this year’s celebration in Monrovia, Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said the immediate engagement of the Pharmaceutical Department at the ministry upon ascendency was intended to help improve the sector.
“We firstly invited the Department’s heads to a meeting to keep the system workable. Thereafter, we also engaged all of our pharmacists across the Country. This strategy was aimed to bring all our professional pharmacists together, so we can collectively work in unison,” Dr. Jallah told the celebrants.
Dr. Jallah indicated that pharmacists use their broad knowledge and unique expertise to ensure that people get the best from their medicines.
“We ensure access to medicines and their appropriate use, improve adherence, coordinate care transitions and so much more,” Dr. Jallah said.
Dr. Jallah added that selling of drugs in streets is causing a problem for the country stating “drugs that are sole in buckets have gone partially, but yet some are still around.”
Reacting to ongoing saga with health workers’ refusal to return work due to salary increment and ambiguous demands, Dr. Jallah said the Ministry is still concerned but negotiation and dialogue are the best solutions to addressing their plights.
“People just think we are not concerned about the health care workers’ demands, but we are concerned. What I think is happening here is we cannot just address all the issues as once. They are important to us because when you are sick it is their responsibility to take care of you,” she said.
“Remember, sickness has no border. Therefore, dialoguing and negotiating with them will give us all a long way. We are here to take care of the people. This is a responsibility that has been given to us,” she noted
Dr. Jallah extended unflinching thanks and appreciation to the Pharmaceutical Association of Liberia (PAL) as well as partners for always working with the Ministry and encouraged the association to continue on its good footing for the betterment of the country’s health Sector.
Dr. Clement Lugala, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Liberia, who serves as keynote speaker said he believes the role of Pharmacists in the health sector is beyond the product-oriented fashion of medicines and distribution.
According to the WHO’s Representative, Pharmacists should seek the interest of their patients and at the same time build a workable relationship with them in order to meet their professional goals.
“We must build a relationship with patients; we must listen to them; it is the services we provide to the patients. However, when it comes to pharmacists, you probably think of the person behind the counter that fills your prescription. These pharmacists work long hours, usually standing the entire time. Along with dispensing pills and providing advice on medications, pharmacists also administer immunizations. Pharmacists who conduct research discover and test new medications,” Dr. Lugala said.
He said no matter what capacity pharmacists work in; they are considered medicine experts and these experts have considerable responsibility in health care.
“It’s up to them to ensure that medicine is effective and safe. Besides knowing about each type of medication, they must know about the different forms it comes in. There are liquids, tablets, capsules, topical medicines, drops, inhalers, and injections. They must also know how different medications react with one another. No wonder it takes eight years of college to become a pharmacist!” he indicated.
Dr. Lugala calls on to health practitioners and scientists to embark on manufacturing medication to curtail the importation of drugs on the African continent: “Africa is spending a lot on drugs imputation instead of manufacturing. We have the capacity here. The opportunity of the African Medicine Agency can be a game-changer if we stand up.”
Dr. Lugala said transforming the global health agenda will not be achieved fully “if we cannot define the role of the pharmacists, so pharmacists can contribute to key global health areas across different levels; and they must be enabled to serve in these capacities. They need to be facilitated if our pharmacists are to play a role in ECOWAS.”
According to him, Pharmacists can help to reduce the health disparity and achieve health for all if the needed opportunity is given. “If the needed opportunity is given to our pharmacists, they will help to reduce the health disparity and achieve health for all…because they are there wherever we talk about access to drugs—even in our own planning and development agenda.”
He proposed for the Pharmaceutical workforce to be “fundamental in the country, adding that Liberia can achieve universal health coverage, health security, and the sustainable development goal by 2030.”
Dr. Lugala said providing personalized and individualized care for patients is important to ensuring that they’re on the correct medication, at the correct dose, and taking it when appropriate.