Introduction- As we know that the corona virus disease (covid-19) is an infection caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-cov-2) firstly it was seen in Wuhan (china) in December 2019 spreading rapidly across the world. on 11th of march 2020 WHO declared covid-19 as a pandemic, during covid-19 pandemic majority of peoples are hunkered down in their homes to prevent their families from covid-19 , at that time pharmacist and other health care professionals of our country are stepping up to help to manage and prevent the spread of covid-19. So pharmacists and other health care professionals are considering front line health care professionals.
According to CBHI (central bureau of health intelligence) India has a shortage of 6 lakh doctors and nurses. Now if we compare this situation with pharmacists we know that the most of us. We are living within 2-3 km of community pharmacy. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professional and it is the first point of contact between the patient and health care system.
Some important roles of pharmacist during covid-19 is as follows –
Provide factual and reliable information about the disease – As we know that the spread of covid-19 has left the wells turned right in this disease has created so much impact across the world. Every individual wants to gather as much information as possible to ensure the proper prevention but it is very much important for the public to know that all the right information can be helpful to them. During this pandemic situation the reliability of information is very much crucial the myths and the misinformation are spreading at a higher rate.
For e.g. Sunlight can kill the coronavirus.
Drinking alcohol can be helpful in covid-19.
Using some antifungal drug can kill covid-19 virus.
Holding of breathing for 10 second can be helpful in identifying the disease.
These types of myths are spreading through the social media , internet and its resulting pandemic is more dangerous than any before.
According to WHO we are not just fighting with pandemic but he are also fighting with the infodemic or we can say (myths) During this situation of lockdown where the assist to the physician is limited because most doctors and medical staff are busy with high covid -19 patients & so many OPD’S are also closed to avoid unnecessary overcrowding in hospitals.
To educate the public regarding infection control in preventive measures to reduce the transmission.
When they visit the pharmacy it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to educate them about the seven steps of hand washing techniques and other preventive measures declared by the WHO . Pharmacist would also explain them about the importance of social distancing, self isolation proper using and disposable of mask and using of sanitizer during the situation by the education banner or poster outside the pharmacy, pharmacist also prepared the covid-19 awareness templates and provided to the patients who visit the pharmacy.
Maintain the continuity of pharmacist services : We know that with this lockdown the people’s behavior is also changes with the household items peoples are also stockpiling the medication include OTC (over the counter) drug and prescribing medication and if we immediate action is not taken then this can lead to a medication shortage and the clinical consequences of medication shortage will be increased day by day. So, it is the responsibility of community pharmacist to maintain the adequate storage.
For e.g. If we talk about hydrocloroquine and azithromycin antibiotic initially it was found to effective in covid-19 there was the sudden rise in the demand of those medications, peoples who are not having symptoms of covid-19 were also buying those medicines and store it at homes. this such types of incidence can did to medication shortage. So it is the responsibility of pharmacist to avoid such types of stockpiling.
Maintains the deliveries of medicines:
During covid-19 pandemic pharmacist should offers home delivery services and to do that pharmacist can collaborate with social workers, volunteers etc. pharmacist can also issue a hotline number for encourage the phone consultation, phone prescription order and home deliveries services so, they can avoid the unnecessary crowd at the pharmacy’s, basically pharmacist can combine with ETP(electronic transfer of prescription) for older and vulnerable population who cannot come out from homes during this pandemic.
Conducting the clinical trials of new drugs and vaccines :
At present time, many new medicines and some vaccines are developed by the industrial pharmacist to prevent and treat illness in the case of covid-19. So that is why pharmacists play an important role in clinical trials of new medications.
Treatment of minor ailments :
During covid-19 pandemic we know that the main focus of doctors is on covid-19 patients but people will also develop symptoms other than the covid-19 and the condition requires the attention. According to a study of UK shows that 1 in 10 general physician visits and 1 in 20 emergency department visits of minor ailments, such as cold, cough, fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, skin rashes etc. by doing that they have significantly reduced the burden on the hospitals and clinics so, they can mainly focus in high risk patients of covid-19
Final thoughts- During this uncertain time , pharmacists across the world are critically important to helping the public remain safe, healthy and have right information, we are thankful for pharmacists and future pharmacists , you are corona warriors.
Mr. Akash Kumar, B. Pharma- IV Semester, School of Pharmacy, Career Point University, Kota