The current global situation caused by the unprecedented COVI-19 pandemic continues to adversely affect all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal. The health care system of most countries are overwhelmed by the situation to an extent that it is becoming a norm for the health care professionals to overlap in their duties to contain the spread of the novel virus. In this regard, it is necessary for pharmacists to take a stronger role as a healthcare professional from their previous passive roles to a more advanced and active role in the considering it is unclear when the vaccine for the virus shall be developed. The current paper outlines how pharmacists can play a more advanced role in fighting the pandemic.
Pharmacists and COVID-19
The basic role of pharmacists in the health system is to provide and ensure that the supply of medication is within the law. They are also tasked with ensuring that the medicines which are prescribed to patients by physicians are suitable for consumption and providing the instructions and directions on how the medicine should be taken (Ghebreyesus, 2020). At least, this what was or is expected of them but the unprecedented emergence and quick spread of the novel corona virus popularly referred to as COVID-19 seems to require a change in the dynamics of the operation of the pharmacy sector. The virus has created a situation where the role of pharmacists needs to be stepped up which would require them to properly understand the contraindications of the drugs and to analyze the patient closely (Kampf, 2020). It is important to note that pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals which makes them an essential first line caregiver to provide medical information and manage medication therapies to the patents infected with the virus.
The quick spread of the virus has led to an increase in the delivery requests from patents with most people calling pharmacies and requests rather than coming in person. This has changed the whole dynamics of how the pharmacy sector operates since the pharmacists have to spend a lot of time educating people on how to deal with the virus while also reinforcing messages and information on how to reduce the spread (Ghebreyesus, 2020). This clearly explains why it is important for pharmacists to adopt a wider scope of responsibilities which would be critical in the provision of information in regards to the virus while also trying to debunk myths and ensuring that the public understands the importance of staying and social distancing (CPA, 2020). With the adoption of the increased roles, it has also become important to adopt communication methods that would provide effective information and medical products to patients as required.
As a result of the virus, there are countries such as France and Portugal which have authorized pharmacists to ensure the increased and repeated dispensation of physician prescribed medicines for patients who have pre-existing and long term conditions so as to reduce their need for medical appointments (ANF, 2020). This also reduces their exposure to the virus which in turn is critical in the prevention of its spread. It has also become important for pharmacists to be trained on how to detect and what to do when there is a suspicion of an infection by the virus. To this extent, therefore, the pharmacists should be trained to undertake critical roles such as strategies on how to handle a suspected case, technical and scientific information on the virus and epidemiological information on the affected areas (WHO, 2020). This clearly means that pharmacists might take on some of the roles of other health care workers such as epidemiologists and nurses while also undertaking their legally outlined roles.