Communiqué issued by the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association and the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists
St Lucia, 11th August, 2010
Interactive Symposium theme: Health Services to Support Persons with Disabilities
The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association collaborated with the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists on a Interactive Symposium in St Lucia that identified the support needed by persons with disabilities and considered the actions that needed to be taken by pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
The Symposium resulted in:
- A greater awareness amongst healthcare professionals in supporting persons with disabilities
- Motivated healthcare professionals to take action themselves on improving knowledge and information about various disabilities
- Strategies to be initiated for putting local and central schemes into operation
- A call for discussions with health professional organisations and disability groups to be commenced with Ministries of Health/Governments in the Americas Region
CPA and the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists recognised the burden those with disabilities encountered in their daily lives and the lack of resources available to meet the challenges put upon them and their families and carers by a lack of infrastructure and understanding of those challenges.
Pharmacists felt that they were in a position to:
- Establish links with a disability group in their country and work with that group to provide a better patient service
- Undertake Accessibility Audits in all pharmacies and other workplaces to provide easier access.
- Regular train staff to assist disabled persons in the pharmacy
- Change the typeface on prescription labels to larger font for those who were partially sighted
- Recognise and support International Disability Day on 3rd December. (The theme for 2010 – “ Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond”)
Pharmacists and health professionals in the Caribbean Region call upon their Ministries of Health and Governments to:
- Sign up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Collaborate with health professionals in raising public awareness and changes needed in the workplace
- Ensure persons with disabilities are treated as an EQUAL at all times
- Give incentives to pharmacists who provide specialist services for persons with disabilities
- Ensure pharmacists and other health professionals are involved in Public Health areas so that they are able to impact on policies relating to services for disabled persons
These actions were viewed as high priority in order to meet the challenges faced by the disabled – which are not presently being met in many countries within the Caribbean. Working closely with the public on a daily basis, Pharmacists are in a key position to take the lead in developing how they and other healthcare professionals can work with Ministries of Health in setting out policies to meet the needs of the disabled.
The communiqué had the unanimous support of the interactive symposium and also by those attending the 30th Conference of the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists.
It was whole-heartedly agreed that: “Actions were needed – and not just words”.