Pharmacists Embrace Attitudinal Change
The Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone in the conduct of the final cycle of its continuous professional education has embraced the concept of attitudinal and behavioral change – ABC for Pharmacy Professionals through out the country that has culminated into a grand congregation of over 200 pharmacists at the conference hall of the National School of Nursing as the head of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Mr. Philip Conteh and many other speakers schooled pharmacists in the concept of behavioral change and many other accompanying professional issues.
Philip Conteh told pharmacists during his lecture that the pharmaceutical industry forms the basis for development of the country’s health sector and that because it had not been living up to expectations, the country has been stagnated to the bottom of the human development index. “This subject is pertinent in our country today as we tackle the challenges of nation building in the 21st century and drive ourselves out the unenviable positionÂ of being last in the Human Development Index” Philip Conteh extolled.
He stated that the production, trafficking and distribution of drugs threatening the health and lives of our people and potentially destroying the economic foundation of our nation, a situation he called all to stand against. Conteh revealed that the WHO in 2007 estimated that approximately 20,000 people lose their lives each year due to the consumption of fake medicines, a situation that could be worse for Sierra Leone he stated, emphasizing the need for the monitoring and regulation of the pharmaceutical industry by the unequivocal changing of attitudes and behaviors of the pharmacy professionals in service delivery in the country.
The head of attitudinal change in the country went on to emphasize that “though the spread of counterfeit drugs is caused by a number of contributory factors including the high price of genuine drugs on the market as compared to fake and substandard drugs; the lack of resources and strict control and monitoring mechanism is the most important among the greed and corrupt tendencies of some tiny but significant groups of individuals within the pharmacy and drugs distribution network in the country”. Such individuals he said are cancerous to development of the country and as such must be sniffed out by all means if they don’t adapt their attitudes and behaviors to the current trend in the agenda for change.
The attitudinal change man noted that “in order to curb the negative and harmful spread of counterfeit and harmful drugs, the government through the current leadership ofÂ Pharmacy Board has placed significant attention to setting up mechanisms and measures to protect and promote the health of the people and reduce dangers caused by the menace in fake drugs” adding that pharmacists must be seen taking continuously lead role in educating the public and creating awareness on the looming danger on our public health. All that is needed in achieving this he impressed is positive attitude towards your fellow man, towards your work and responsibilities and towards your country” and according to him attitude is everything.Â Â
At the very educative programme, one of the speakers Pharmacists Mukeh K. Fahnbulleh who lectured on “Sexually Transmitted Infection: A Public Health Approach, told fellow professionals that “this is indeed a public health concern” owing to the fact that emerging trends in STDs is becoming aÂ universal concern.
Mukeh noted that the worlds’ attention has now turned to issues of sexually transmitted diseases as ailments such as HIV and Aids pose a universal threat to public health; leaving a heap of burden of the pharmacist in the provision of drugs, treatment and dispensing of needed treatment in tackling the growing menace.
Talking on “good Distribution Practice, head of the Inspection Unit at the Pharmacy Board and lecturer at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences-COMMAHS Mr. James P. Komeh highlighted among mother issues that “the quality system operated by distributors (wholesalers) of medicinal products should ensure that medicinal products that they distribute are authorized in accordance with Community legislation meaning that storage conditions are observed at all times, even during transportation;Â that contamination from other products is avoided; that an adequate turnover of the stored medicinal products takes place and products are stored in appropriately safe and secure areas.”
James Komeh noted among other things that “written procedures should describe the different operations which may affect the quality of the products or of the distribution activity: receipt and checking of deliveries, storage, cleaning and maintenance of the premises (including pest control), recording of the storage conditions, security of stocks on site and of consignments in transit, withdrawal from saleable stock, records, including records of clients orders, returned products, recall plans”.
The Head of Inspection told his colleague pharmacists that “records should be kept of each purchase and sale, showing the date of purchase or supply, name of the medicinal product and quantity received or supplied and name and address of the supplier or consignee. For transactions between manufacturers and wholesalers and between wholesalers (i.e. to the exclusion of deliveries to persons entitled to supply medicinal products to the public), records should ensure the traceability of the origin and destination of products, for example by use of batch numbers, so that all the suppliers of, or those supplied with, a medicinal product can be identified.”
In the handling of counterfeit and substandard medicines, he pointed out that counterfeit medicinal products found in the distribution network should be kept apart from other medicinal products to avoid any confusion. They should be clearly labeled as not for sale and the holder of marketing authorization of the original product should be informed immediately.
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