Pharmacists in SVG mark World Pharmacy Day
September 28, 2021
Pharmacists in SVG mark World Pharmacy Day

WORLD PHARMACISTS DAY has been celebrated annually on the 25th September since 2009 when the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) suggested its observance to coincide with the above date in 1912 when FIP came into existence. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global body representing four million professionals in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical education. FIP encourages the worlds’ pharmacy professionals to advocate for their roles and contributions in improving healthcare in every corner of the world because “Molecules become medicines when pharmaceutical expertise is added. In turn, pharmacists — through ensuring responsible use — optimise the effects of these medicines.”

This year the theme is “Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health” The theme is a reminder that trust is not only a fundamental element in all human relationships and social capital but also in healthcare, especially now that humanity is facing a COVID-19 pandemic and the infodemic around it.

Pharmacists, as one of the most trusted categories of healthcare providers, must endeavour to retain our title as the arbiters of evidence-based, accurately sourced pharmaceutical information in an age of misinformation. It is imperative that pharmacists as continuous learners keep current and sharpened in their knowledge of trending recent pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, drug devices, safety data and regulatory alerts for substandard or falsified drug products.

The scope of knowledge and depth of training that creates a pharmacist is what enables them to be “the final Gatekeepers of patient safety” in the healthcare service ladder.

The role of pharmacists has evolved from that of a provider of medicines to a provider of pharmaceutical care. And in this current pandemic, pharmacists around the world have operated as frontline workers who kept their pharmacies opened in lockdowns to deliver chronic medications to patients; they did home-visits & telemedicine consultations as Independent Prescribers; they maintained substance/drug abuse clinics; they manufactured hand sanitizers and distributed them; they tested for COVID-19 and in 2021, based on their geographic location, administered thousands of doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

In St. Vincent & the Grenadines, pharmacists have continued to ensure that pharmacies are stocked with adequate supplies of chronic medication for hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions in the face of challenging supply-chain issues around the world due to the pandemic; they have made hand sanitizers for distribution; they have continued to provide chemotherapy pharmacy services and generally engage their clients and customers in medication counselling and guidance on drug interactions, side effects, adverse reactions etc.

Further, pharmacists worked in shelters to bring continued pharmacy service to thousands who were displaced during the volcanic eruption that occurred in April 2021 in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Drug lists were created for hypertensive, diabetic, asthmatic patients in shelters via interviews and medication reviews, and medications were delivered to the displaced populace to ensure their quality of health was preserved as much as possible given the circumstances.

Pharmacy is a dynamic, challenging and rewarding area of healthcare.

Pharmacists are experts in medicines and their use.

They train as pharmaceutical scientists and clinicians and have a unique set of skills and knowledge that are wide in scope but also allow for targeted specializations for diverse, exciting, evolving and emerging career pathways in the field. This also makes pharmacists a highly valued group of healthcare professionals with skills that are consistently in demand worldwide.

The St. Vincent & the Grenadines Pharmaceutical Association Inc. along with the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Pharmacy Council and the Government Pharmaceutical Services join the world in celebrating World Pharmacists Day this 25th September 2021 under the theme “Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health”.

May all pharmacists and pharmacy professionals continue to deliver the highest quality pharmaceutical care and endeavour to uphold the trust earned and vested in us by the Vincentian populace.

Levi Walker Chief Pharmacist Ministry of Health,Wellness & the Environment