Role of pharmacists in the global healthcare system
World Pharmacist Day is celebrated on September 25 every year to promote awareness about the importance and role of pharmacists in today’s world
Pharmacists comprise the third-largest group of healthcare professionals in the world and, over the past 50 years, the role of pharmacists has evolved along with the health care needs of our population. Today, pharmacists have extended their responsibility from dispensing to pharmaceutical care by maximizing the benefits of medications and their safety. In addition to dispensing medications and ensuring the safety and well-being of patients, pharmacists are assuming a larger role as medical counsellors, educators and advocates.
Let’s have a look at the dynamic role of pharmacists vis-à-vis the global healthcare care system:
1) Recognizing pharmacists as part of the public health workforce
Formal recognition of pharmacists by associations and governments in developing countries as part of the public health workforce can give pharmacists the confidence to act in a global health context. With the global health workforce shortage and lack of appropriately-trained providers in limited-resource settings, maximizing the skills and knowledge of pharmacists can fill gaps in care and provide a platform for different levels of professional development, including global health engagement.
2) Incorporate global public health principles in pharmacy education
While pharmacists have the technical skills and competencies based on medication expertise to contribute to global health efforts, they often lack the foundational public health knowledge needed to fully exploit their skills as global health practitioners. To implement public health services, students should be appropriately trained in basic public health competencies to effectively manage the health of a community, the essentials of program planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The complementary knowledge and skills in public health can empower pharmacists to serve as global health leaders in their community and abroad.
3) Utilize implementation science methods in pharmacy across limited-resource settings
Implementation science is understanding how to translate evidence into everyday practice and can be utilized across public health issues from medication safety to mobile health. Implementation research for strengthening pharmacy systems and delivery processes in developing countries can help provide the data needed for government leaders to support the integration of pharmacists into public health services. As pharmacists develop their niche within global public health, there will be the need to understand how and why pharmacy services can improve the health and well-being of societies throughout the world in resource-limited settings.
They have a role to play in providing population-based care; developing disease prevention and control programs; providing health education; collaborating with state and local authorities to address local and regional health care needs, including emergency preparedness and response; advocating for sound legislation, regulations, and public policy regarding disease prevention and management; and engaging in public health research.
World Pharmacist Day is celebrated on September 25 every year to promote awareness about the importance and role of pharmacists in today’s world. Each year a new theme is developed to highlight their contribution to the health ecosystem. The theme for this year is ‘Transforming Global Health’. The day is an opportunity to communicate how pharmacists are transforming health through a variety of health services in their communities, including advising on healthy living, vaccination to prevent disease, and ensuring that medicines are taken correctly, thereby managing diseases well and improving the quality of life. It also covers how pharmaceutical scientists transform and prolong people’s lives by developing safe and effective medicines and vaccines.
On the education front, educational institutions are transforming outcomes by ensuring that there are enough qualified and competent pharmaceutical professionals to meet the growing needs of our societies.
This year World Pharmacist Day is particularly significant as the world faces the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacists across the globe have been working tirelessly to stop the spread of the virus and to ensure people continue to have access to medicines they need. UPES School of Health Sciences has organised an online one-day event to commemorate the same. The celebration includes activities such as a pharma quiz, elocution and poster making and panel discussion on Technology Transformation in the healthcare sector.