Pharm Samuel Kow Donkoh
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has called on the Ministry of Health (MoH) to increase its financial and technical support to the Ghana College of Pharmacists.
According to the Society, the increased funding will enable the College roll out advanced courses pertinent to readying pharmacists for the varied roles required for pharmacy practice in the country and to handle the existing challenges of the health system and those in the foreseeable future.
“More pharmacists must be trained and supported to take up specialist roles in industrial pharmacy, public health, and clinical practice,” it emphasized.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the PSGH 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the University for Development Studies, in Tamale the Northern Region on the theme: “Optimizing the Pharmaceutical Workforce in a Rapidly Evolving World”.
President of the Society, Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh said the objective of the AGM was to explore the opportunities for enhanced skills and avenues for pharmacists to improve regulation, maximize industrial capacity and optimize health outcomes given technological advancements, global and local economic constraints, and emerging and re-emerging diseases.
He said a knowledgeable, skillful, innovative, and motivated pharmaceutical workforce is imperative for positioning the country as a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in the West African sub-region and to ensure high quality of care for Ghanaians.
Hence, “while the government considers incentives to encourage pharmacists to accept postings to deprived communities in the country, the conditions of service of public sector pharmacists must be fully implemented with the urgency it deserves”.
He stressed the importance of expanding the scope of pharmacists to include other routine vaccines such as vaccines on the EPI programme as doing so will provide a wider coverage and differentiated services for residents who may need them.
He acknowledged the need for an advanced scope of community pharmacy practice in the country adding that the new paradigm would include medication therapy management, patient-focused, immunization, and first aid services, in addition to dispensing and adherence counseling.
Pharm. Donkoh noted that the number of pharmacists trained per year has escalated significantly in the last few years.
“Considering the hands-on nature of pharmacy training, a number of concerns arise including inadequate infrastructure and faculty members, limited number of, and lack of remuneration for preceptors leading to poor experiential training,” he revealed.
The Society therefore urged the Ministry of Health, the Pharmacy Council, authorities of the Universities with Schools of Pharmacy to address the high intake of pharmacy students and its attendant challenges.
They also suggested that the skills of pharmacists in deprived districts should be leveraged to optimize the responsible use of medicines through supervisory responsibilities over the Over-The-Counter Medicines Sellers (OTCMS).
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri