TRANSFORMING GLOBAL HEALTH-The Role of Nigerian Pharmacists
Transforming global health, is the theme of this year’s World Pharmacists Day, marked on 25 September 2020.
“This year sees our 10th World Pharmacists Day. We aim to show how pharmacists contribute to a world where everyone benefits from access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and health technologies, as well as from pharmaceutical care services’,” said FIP President Dominique Jordan.
Pharmacists are one of the healthcare professionals who are easily accessible, 24 hours in a day, for instance community pharmacies are available for the local community and they provide walk-in services without appointment. Most pharmacies in developed countries are open 24 hours a day and with online facilities patients could have access to consultations with their pharmacists remotely. Pharmacists serve vulnerable populations in deprived areas which contributes to global health.
The Role of Pharmacists
The pharmacy profession has shifted more towards patient cantered care and disease management in the community. In developed countries, Pharmacists contribute to National public health policies and they participate either as private or public healthcare providers to bring public health awareness and health promotion to the grassroots.
Pharmacists are one of the key health actors that will help meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Globally Pharmacists have been working efficiently to stop the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure people continue to have access to safe, cost effective medicines during the lockdown period.
Over last few years, I have been leading advocacy for better healthcare systems and campaigning for the UN SDG goals, my main focus is goal 3- Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. I have also engaged my patients in health promotion and disease prevention activities
Density of pharmacists (total number per 10 000 population, latest available year)
‘Over 65% of WHO Member States report to have less than 5 pharmacists per 10 000 population. (about 36% report to have less than 1).
Pharmacists have an important role to play in health care more than just selling medicines at pharmacies. Pharmacists play an integral part in the health care team and assumes varied functions ranging from the procurement and supply of medicines to pharmaceutical care services, helping to ensure the best treatment for patients. The pharmaceutical care process involves establishing a relationship between the patient and the pharmacist, developing an evidence-based care plan for medicine therapy and follow-up on the patient’s expected health outcome’. WHO
The Nigerian Government has to up their game in ensuring we have enough pharmacists per 10,000 of population and one sure way to do this is to ensure we utilise the expertise of pharmacists and create more work opportunities in the Local, State and Federal Government level.
Transforming the Health Sector
To transform global health, we have to prioritise patient centred care. The world has moved to integrated healthcare and patient centred care.
In Nigeria, Patient-centred care is prominently positioned on the political agenda, but our measures are not yet up to the challenge of ensuring that it is happening. We need to remove every iota of selfish political agenda for the benefit of the patient.
This is a call for all healthcare professionals to put the patient first in anything they do and the Nigerian Government/policy makers to ensure they utilise the expertise of the pharmacists towards the provision of safe medicines, education and support for disease prevention and long-term condition management.
Areas of improvement include:
• Putting patient care at the centre of healthcare provision and allowing patients to participate fully
• Giving every member of the healthcare team the opportunity to bring their expertise towards patient care
• Government ensuring the health budget is adequate to meet the needs to the population.
• Retaining health professionals and reducing the number of doctors, pharmacists, nurses that leave the shores of Nigeria for ‘greener pastures’
• Prioritising Public health/health promotion at all levels as a tool for disease prevention and disease management
What can Nigerian Pharmacists bring to the table
Evidence has shown that global health is inclusive of local public health; pharmacists have the opportunity to move the profession forward globally by establishing themselves as health care providers who also serve as global health practitioners.
Pharmacists are well placed to provide the following services among others:
· Disease prevention and control
· Stop Smoking Service- Nicotine replacement therapy
· Supply chain management
· Preventive screenings
· Health policy development
· Emergency preparedness
· Medicines reconciliation
· Patient education and support to enhance concordance
· Health and wellbeing coaching
· Long term disease management
· Annual medication reviews
· Independent Prescribing
· Specialist/Consultant care
· Drug misuse and abuse management
· Providing cost effective, safe medicines
· Drug discovery and development
· Health promotion
· Medicines Information
I call on all pharmacists to continue to optimise their efforts towards providing patient centered and transforming global health.
Global Health Observatory (GHO) data
Adaku Efuribe is a Clinical Pharmacists and Independent prescriber, she is also a UN SDG Action partner and spends her time coaching people to live their best lives through healthy living, exercise, self-care and mindfulness.
She has over 15 years’ experience and has contributed her skills across two continents- Nigeria and the UK.
Adaku is available for consultancy services and health policy drafting to help developing countries implement patient centered care and achieve the UN SDG, Goal 3- Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
She has helped other pharmacists and medical professionals to start up health promotion projects in their communities.
To connect with Adaku Efuribe; follow her on social media (Facebook,Instagram,LinkedIn) or