World Pharmacists Day – 25th Sept 2017

World Pharmacists Day – 25th Sept 2017

This World Pharmacy Day we remember our colleagues in the Commonwealth who have provided care in the face of adversity following recent natural disasters

This year, World Pharmacists Day will be celebrated Monday 25th September. Pharmacists across the globe will hold activities to promote and support the role of the pharmacist in improving the health and wellbeing of populations. The theme this year “From research to healthcare: Your pharmacist is at your service” reflects the various contributions the profession makes to health, not only in community and hospital pharmacies, but recognising the health issues of populations and developing medicines, policies and education to tackle them.

Following the recent disasters in Commonwealth countries, including the hurricanes in the Caribbean, landslides in Bangladesh and flooding in India, we remember our colleagues who have been providing care to their communities in the face of much adversity.

This is a very prominent reminder of how we need to be prepared for disasters should they strike in our own communities. We have made available a video of our recent congress presentation on refugee health and disaster management as a resource for all during this week.

Symposium: Healthcare in Crisis - a focus on refugees

We have made available for all CPA members a video of our recent congress presentation on refugee health and disaster management from the CPA/PSA 2017 conference, which took place in July 2017. All you have to do is sign in, or if you are not already a member register your CPA membership now to watch the symposium: Healthcare in Crisis – a focus on refugees.

Answer our questionnaire and receive a CPD certificate.

watch the symposium here

Disasters and humanitarian crises consist of a complex mix of acute and chronic healthcare needs. The majority of this healthcare is provided by the military and humanitarian aid organisations in global disasters and humanitarian crises. The specific healthcare needs of the community and what level of care can be provided, depends on the location of the disaster and the original healthcare structure in place. In the aftermath of a disaster, community services can collapse leaving patients with no other alternative but to turn to the hospital for basic needs. There is a definite place for pharmacists to assist in different roles during a disaster depending on the circumstances and competencies.

Community pharmacists are often on the frontline of continuity of medication care, especially in the event of a disaster. There is often no nationally accepted protocol on what the role of a pharmacist is during a disaster. Many community pharmacists can feel they have a sense of duty to their patients to provide medications and basic necessities in a disaster, sometimes in lieu of a prescription or money. The role of medics and nurses in both manmade and natural disasters is well recognized, but what about pharmacists?

This symposium is divided into 3 parts:

i) The Global and Commonwealth’s situation of forced displacement: A public health perspective

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the global and Commonwealth situation of forcibly displaced people
  • Describe public health challenges faced by refugee populations
  • Discuss the current research evidence on the barriers and facilitators for accessing medication and pharmacy services among refugee communities resettled in high income countries

Presenter: Associate Professor Ignacio Correa-Velez, School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

ii): Refugee health – Understanding where the pharmacist fits in

Learning objectives:

  • Describe the common health issues faced by newly-arrived refugees and medications required to treat these successfully
  • Describe how pharmacists can work with the wider multidisciplinary team to help meet the unique needs of this population, in both crisis and when refugees are resettled into the community.

Presenter: Dr Margaret Kay – Senior Lecturer, Primary Care Clinical Unit, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Australia

(iii): Why pharmacists are needed in disasters and humanitarian crises?

Learning objectives:

  • Understand and describe unique health challenges posed by crisis situations
  • Describe health challenges faced during disasters
  • Describe roles community pharmacists can play during disasters
  • Describe competencies that may be required for pharmacists to participate fully in disasters
  • Discuss their legal and duty of care responsibilities during a disaster

Presenters: CPA Advisers Ms Libby McCourt and Ms Kaitlyn Porter

"While some regions are more prone to certain disasters, no community is immune. Likewise, no part of the health system or healthcare team is immune to disasters or their aftermath. As pharmacists we play an essential role in the healthcare team, and our potential to respond and contribute during disasters is huge. However, in order to contribute to our full potential, we must be prepared for disasters. Government, pharmacists associations, business owners and individual pharmacists are all responsible in working together to ensure pharmacists are included in disaster planning and preparedness activities."

Libby McCourt
CPA Adviser
PhD Candidate at the Queensland University of Technology
Researcher on ways in which pharmacist’s preparedness for disasters and emergencies may be enhanced