“Transforming Global Health” is the theme selected by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) for the 10th World Pharmacists Day celebration in 2020.
This theme is very appropriate in the present scenario with all the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic ever since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019.
Echoing the words of FIP President, Mr Dorminique Jordan, the World Pharmacists Day celebration this year is to showcase the various contributions by pharmacists all over the world in terms of patients having access to medications which are of safe, effective, quality and affordable. It also involves the use of health technology as a medium to deliver the various pharmaceutical care services.
Pharmacists are also one of the health care professionals which are heavily involved to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDP) by the United Nations, as mentioned by Mr Dominique. Pharmacists at all sectors play a very important role to transform the health care landscape at the community level.
For the time being, pharmacists everywhere had and have been working hard to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus. We ensure that medication supply remain adequate at the community level.
In Malaysia, the importance of pharmacists cannot be understated. They act as frontliners at the community level, as well as the final line of defence at hospitals in the treatment of Covid-19 infections. Ever since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced on the 18th of March 2020, pharmacy services have been classified as an essential service.
According to FIP, the World Pharmacists Day celebration is a great opportunity for pharmacists to showcase how we are involved in transforming the health care landscape at the community level via various services, such as medication counselling, vaccination, ensuring compliance towards quality use of medicines, disease management as well as enhancing the quality of life in the community in which they serve.
It is clear about the roles of pharmacists in Malaysia, whether in the private or public sector. We have seen many innovative value-added pharmaceutical services for the rakyat. Among them are medication counselling, medication therapy adherence clinic (MTAC) for warfarin, asthma, diabetes and hypertension, home medication review, home medication delivery, medication delivery via post, Locker4, and drive-through pharmacy. All these services have contributed immensely to the quality use of medicines among patients.
The Covid-19 pandemic had also opened new windows of opportunities for pharmacists to serve in new innovative ways. There are currently many pharmacists all over the world serving the public via e-platforms, e-pharmacies, and tele-pharmacy with the aid of digital equipment and applications.
Not forgetting to mention, pharmacists are also actively involved in health care transformation in research participation, as well as development of new drugs and vaccines which are safe and effective. Pharmacists are also involved in logistics and the monitoring of various clinical trials.
Academic pharmacists too play an important in health transformation by producing quality pharmacy graduates and competent scientists with high caliber to fill the needs of the country and community.
Last but not least, to all the 19,792 registered pharmacists in Malaysia, wishing all of you a happy World Pharmacists Day 2020!
Amrahi Buang is president of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society.
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