ROLE OF PHARMACIST IN COVID-19
We all are passing through a testing time during this COVID-19 phase. Every individual in every field needs to step up. Pharmacists being one of the important pillar in healthcare system also has a very important role to play. Though Pharmacist In India cannot prescribed the medicines to the patient in spite of the exceptional knowledge of medicines, but pharmacist can do many things to stop the spread of diseases. As per my views, I am putting forward few important role of Pharmacist in COVID-19.
Pharmacist in his pharmacy (we should not call it medical shop) should start educating the people about COVID-19. The question arises how and what pharmacist is going to educate? So here are some suggestions
- Pharmacist should display charts mentioning importance of social distancing, washing hands, use of sanitizer, use of immunity boosters, use of mask at the entrance of his pharmacy (which should be visible from distance to the people) mentioning how it is important and how it is going to stop the spread of the Corona virus and keeping them strong and healthy.
- Pharmacists should educate society on Carrier concept. I have seen many people they say that nothing is going to happen and the thing which bound to happen will happen. But Pharmacist should play a great role here and pharmacist must convince such population of the society. If we agree that nothing will happened to that so called strong and brave person who trust in God but he can become a carrier and such carrier will be harmful for his own family and surroundings. Such carriers are like bomb for the old age persons and kids.
- Pharmacist should educate the people about the use of mask.
Now a days there is shortage of masks and even if masks are available then they are very costly. So pharmacist should not look this an opportunity for business and pharmacist must educate people to use the clean washed handkerchief instead of disposable mask (use and throw mask) or other N95 mask.
Even I have seen people using the disposable mask for multiple time. Many even do not know how to put the mask and remove the mask. It should cover the mouth and nose completely AND there should not be any gap between face and mask and Mask must be removed from behind and not by touching the front portion.
I have also seen people maintaining social distancing while standing in pharmacy or grocery and if they see anyone they know then they drop their mask down and start taking with that person. Mere purchasing and wearing mask is not sufficient, people should understand the etiquettes.. I will call it MASK ETIQUETTES. Pharmacist its your role to educate people how to use and dispose the masks.
- Now sanitizers are going out of stock. Pharmacist must educate the people how and when the sanitizers should be used.
At home everyone should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. At home there is no need to use sanitizer,normal soap and water is sufficient. If one is going out then one needs to carry sanitizer.
Educate people that they should avoid touching the surfaces but even by mistake happens then they can immediately use sanitizers.
Even to the outside surface of sanitizer bottle viruses can get adhere. So do not touch the bottle multiple times otherwise clean the bottle from outside also with the same sanitizer at every time you touch it. The concern is that if we do not clean it from outside and after going back home if we keep the bottle at home and if anyone touch that bottle and unfortunately got infected then social distancing, use of mask and sanitizer by that person will go in vain.
- Educate people to have proper diet and advise them to practice yogasana, pranayama and meditation. I have seen people spending a lot in this lockdown period on preparing junk food, sweet dishes, cakes . Everyone is so excited to make new dishes and keep in their Whatsapp status. I have noticed that people are purchasing groceries in large quantities (so much that they have not purchased this much groceries in last couple of years). Advise them to be at home and eat the healthy food., Purchase the things which are really needed.
Pharmacist should maintain the stock of essential medicines:
- India is depend mostly on China for Active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and in this covid situation there is shortage of API and thus there will be shortage of the medicines. Pharmacist should keep the list of people & their monthly required medicines (Diabetes, blood pressure, Parkinson’s etc) and keep the stock of medicines for at least next six months.
- If the branded medicines are not available then they should keep the stock of generic medicines. Here Pharmacist need to convince the patient about the generic medicines and its safety. If required talk to the patient’s doctor and ask doctor to convince patient to use the available generic medicines.
Enquire about customerswell-being and help them
- In a city like Pune parents are staying alone as their dear ones are working in other cities or other foreign countries, so its responsibility of pharmacist to take care of such people and keep calling them and inquire about their well beings. If they need any medicine which is prescribed by doctor then pharmacist can drop at their place. Of course pharmacist must keep the records of all the medicines and put stamp on the prescription even if he drops the medicines at home of such elderly patients.
Promote the immunity booster recommended by AYUSH
- AYUSH has advised to drink warm water, use garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric in cooking, drink golden milk (Milk with turmeric), take one table spoon of chyavanprash (diabetic people should take sugar free chyavanprash). Advise people to drink herbal tea in the morning which can be prepared from Tulsi, Dalchini, Kalimirch, Raisin, Dry ginger and If they want sweet taste then they can add jaggary and lemon in it. Many people are discussing about the herbs or AYUSH medicines promoted by AYUSH dept. Some scientific community wants results or scientific proof, but AYUSH has come up with immunity boosters and I do think that there is any harm in using these herbs. So recommend it to the community.
Help the poor people
- Everyone is suffering due to corona but the most affected people are poor who are daily wage worker. They do not have money in this covid 19 pandemic. If they come to your pharmacy then its responsibility of pharmacist to give them medicines without taking money. They do not have money to have meal, so how can they pay for medicines? Its Humanity to help them. I will even suggest to give them some money so they can buy food for their family.
- Pharmacist keep yourself updated about the current research in COVID-19, vaccines, medicines, repurposing of drugs and many more… Knowledge is Power… Stay safe and help society to be safe
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