World Pharmacist Day |26 September 2023
‘Pharmacy strengthening health systems’
World Pharmacist Day is celebrated every year on September 25 and the theme for this year is ‘Pharmacy strengthening health systems’. To shed more light on this profession, Zarine Durup, pharmacist at Behram’s Plaisance Pharmacy (on behalf of the forthcoming Seychelles Pharmacy Association), has contributed the following article.
What is a pharmacy and what is a pharmacist?
A pharmacy is a specialised store where over the counter, pharmacy medicines and prescription medicines are dispensed and sold by a pharmacist. A pharmacist is a medically trained professional who is specially trained to prepare and distribute medicinal products. That’s not all though. We are a source of information there to provide advice and to educate patients on using their medicines safely and responsibly. Pharmacists are the experts on medicines. We dabble a little in human anatomy but our speciality is how and why medicines work in the way that they do to ensure the patient gets the most out of their treatment.
What does a pharmacist do?
Pharmacists are a vital link in the healthcare chain. We work side by side with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and even veterinarians to complement each other’s services. The pharmacist is quite often the first and last person a patient meets. A patient comes in to a community pharmacy because it’s readily accessible for advice. A pharmacist may then refer a patient to another healthcare professional for further investigation. The patient gets diagnosed and quite often, prescribed medication. This patient once again returns to a pharmacy (community or hospital based) to collect the items on the prescription and is once again counselled by a pharmacist. We are not just there to take products off a shelf and give it to a patient. A pharmacist is there to act as a safety net. We interact with patients to ensure that the medicine given is suitable and safe for that particular patient.
Pharmacists also have a role in treating minor ailments. Minor ailments include problems such as cold and flu, mild skin conditions like allergies or insect bites, constipation and so on. Before a pharmacist gives a patient a medicine, there are a few questions that need to be asked:
- Who is the medicine for?
- What is the patient suffering with?
- How long has the patient had the symptoms?
- Has the patient been taking any medicines for cold and flu?
- Is the patient taking other medicines for other conditions, for example, blood pressure?
Once all the questions have been answered, the pharmacist can then make a decision on what to prescribe for the patient’s symptoms. However, it is important to note that during the discussion, some ‘red flags’ may come up and, in this case, the pharmacist will refer the patient to a doctor for further investigation.
How can someone become a pharmacist?
For anyone considering becoming a pharmacist, we say, go for it. It is such a rewarding and diverse profession. Unfortunately, Seychelles does not have a Pharmacy course and so for those who want to pursue a career as a pharmacist will have to go overseas. The University course, depending on which country you go to, can range from three to four years. Once you’ve completed this, you have to work under the supervision of a pharmacist for an extra year and then sit a final exam to become a registered pharmacist.
Did you know?
Coca-Cola was invented by a pharmacist called John Pemberton
Pharmacist at Behram’s Plaisance Pharmacy (on behalf of the forthcoming Seychelles Pharmacy Association)