Screen_Shot_2014-06-09_at_8.19.59_PMJune 6th to 13th was observed countrywide as pharmacy week in Belize with the theme “Guardians of Health”. The pharmacist’s role has evolved greatly over the last few centuries. Towards the end of the 1900s to the present, pharmacists have focused on responding to managed care and new concerns about the quality of patient care. In recent times, the pharmacist’s role in public health has evolved.

 

According to an international study, pharmacists were viewed as the second most trusted profession after nurses. Addressing public health concerns has been an issue for many years and the nation is beginning to realize the importance of utilizing pharmacists to improve efforts in this arena. And in lieu of the observance week, we take a look at the daily lives of these trusted professionals.

 

Reporter Maria Novelo and Videojouralist Jesus Melgar got an inside scoop at the Northern Regional Hospital, here’s that story.


Maria Novelo – Reporting


A total of 3 pharmacists and an assistant handle the daily needs of hundreds of patients that walk through the halls at the Northern Regional Hospital seeking medications for their varied ailments. Today pharmacists are using their clinical skills to serve the community through vaccinations, emergency preparedness and response, drug education, health screenings, among others. Rojer Duran is the Officer in Charge of the Pharmacy at the NRH.


Roger Duran – Officer in Charge of Pharmacy, NRH


“As such we are engaged in making sure that the patients are getting the proper medication, we also ensure that whatever they are getting through be it by the different doctors within the prescribe dosages and of course we have to ensure that the patients are well counseled.  We actually have a roster in which we work out our day to day activities so when it gets really hectic it is three of us that try to make ends meet for the day.”

Notwithstanding their duties behind these walls, they also assist at the different wards. Today, these Pharmacists have the potential to fill the gap created due to shortage and/or unavailability of doctors and nursing personnel at the facility.


Roger Duran – Officer in Charge of Pharmacy, NRH


“Basically this is a continuation of our pharmacist services to the wards exclusively whereby we have impresses where we provide basic medication every day and this is a top up thing for every morning and we have this specially acquired drug that internist of specialty doctor would assigned to their patients from time to time.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“Would you have times where I understand that the doctor would prescribe a certain medication but then on the advice of the pharmacy then maybe the dosage is a little bit too high of maybe the medication can be substituted, is there instances of that here?”


Roger Duran – Officer in Charge of Pharmacy, NRH


“Well, yes from time to time those things happen and since we are an institution where we are all an integral part of this institution we have to back up everybody and such we would call the doctor and suggest maybe you overlooked something or maybe there is something or a prevalence that is out of control and they need to control with high doses so, but there is a rapport between us and the doctors in that sense.”


Community pharmacies are therefore an integral feature of the Belizean healthcare sector and play an important and expanding role in improving public health and reducing health inequalities.


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“And for the nurses there is a shortage of them countrywide, do you feel that in the pharmacy profession too and why it is that the occupation is in demand and more people studying for it?”


Roger Duran – Officer in Charge of Pharmacy, NRH


“The pharmacist has always been on the back door setting we haven’t been upfront but of late and of course there has been much ad vocation for the pharmacy profession and such it has been brought us out t light.”


There are approximately 150 registered and licensed pharmacists throughout Belize.

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