The Minister of Health,Mr. Agyeman Manu, has charged pharmacists to critically examine the various roles they play in the value chain to ensure that safe and effective medicines are available to all.
He said now that more pharmacists were being trained, community pharmacies should ensure service provision was always supervised by qualified pharmacists who undertake regular continuous professional development.
This would ensure that pharmacists are abreast with current medical and scientific evolving evidence to preserve the trust that Ghanaians have for them, he stated.
The Minister, in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Emmanuel Odame, the Director of Policy, Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Health made this known at the public lecture and launch of the 2021 World Pharmacists Day in Accra.
It was on the theme; “Pharmacy: Always Trusted for your Health.
“I urge every pharmacist to see the profession as service to God and man as well as the country in line with their motto”, he added.
He said the role of a pharmacist is indeed a calling and a pivotal piece of the healthcare structure, adding that aside being the first point of call in the community, pharmacists were the last point of call from the hospital after seeing a physician.
According to him, the pharmacists needed to be diligent in their work as the right choices made at this point would ensure the overall safety of the patient, and a wrong decision would adversely affect them.
Mr Agyeman-Manu explained that patients have been observed to open up to Pharmacists about their health and medical histories more than to other categories of healthcare staff.
“Pharmacists should, therefore, strive hard to maintain high standards of the profession to preserve the trust the public have placed in them”, he added.
He called on regulatory bodies of the profession to heighten the enforcement of laws that regulate them to build and sustain the trust of the good people of Ghana.
He said government acknowledges the importance of the profession and as such 800 pharmacy caders were being employed into the health system.
The Ministry of Health is proud to have aligned with global best practices in the training of Pharm D graduates with two batches already graduated.
He assured that the Ministry would do all it could to resolve any challenges to ensure a smooth absorption of Pharm D graduates into the health sector with the right salary entitlement.
Mr Samuel Kow Donkor, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, said the celebration allowed pharmacists, stakeholders, and the public to focus and interact on pharmacy related issues.
He said the day offered pharmacists the need to learn from stakeholders with a view to understanding their needs and better serve them.
Mr Donkor speaking on the theme noted that trust forms a fundamental basis in the provision of healthcare and is important in provider-patient interaction and rapport.
He said Trust barometers have found that distrust of societal leaders had increased, and distrust of information sources is at a record high.
He explained that at a time of uncertainty and when vaccines hesitancy remained a major hurdle, the long-standing public trust in pharmacy is important than ever before.
The President stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had been a wake-up call for Ghana and the entire Sub-Saharan Africa to build vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics manufacturing capacity as one of the resources needed to address public health crises.
He expressed excitement by government’s recognition of the need to develop the capacity to produce vaccines locally, and reduce the dependence on foreign supplies, amidst the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines and geopolitics.
“Hon Minister, you can trust the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana to provide the needed support for this ambitious project to come to fruition”, he added.
Mr Donkor in commemorating the day urged Ghanaians to have a personal pharmacist whom they could call upon anytime for an advice, counseling, and health information particularly on medications either prescribed or over the counter.
He also encouraged pharmacists to partake in various health outreaches and drug safety campaigns being organised by their respective regional branches.
World Pharmacists Day is celebrated globally on 25 September to acknowledge the imperative contribution of pharmacists, pharmaceutical technologists, and the pharmacy workforce play towards the development and use of quality medicines in a safe and effective way.