KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Community pharmacists are urged to work together with the government, learn from each other, as well as guide Malaysians into the endemic phase as the nation prepares to live with the COVID-19 virus.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said community pharmacists play an important role in the fight against COVID-19 as they are the primary point of care and the gatekeepers of the nation’s healthcare system.
“You are frontlining it…when doctors and hospitals, those in the front line of healthcare are overburdened, the next in line must step in, and these are our community pharmacists.
“As healthcare professionals, pharmacists have a key role, not only during the pandemic, but for many years, engaging directly with the community, continuing to care for patients… we can work together in areas like preventive medicine and educating the public, not just on diseases, but also on wellness,” he said.
He said this when officiating a webinar entitled ‘Reinvent Pharmacy Biz: Adapt Beyond the Crisis’ by Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (MCPG), in conjunction with the World Pharmacists Day, which is celebrated today.
Khairy said self-test kits are another important area where community pharmacists come in, where along with other healthcare facilities, pharmacies are the proper channels to buy self-test kits.
He said community pharmacists can educate the public on methods of using the self-test kits, its storage and disposal, as well as provide follow-up and counselling once the results are out, and even advise on the differences between brands.
“The ministry welcomes MCPG’s involvement to engage and improve our healthcare system and we are committed to see that your profession continues to progress and move forward in this area.
“As this programme has so aptly put, we must now adapt and look beyond the COVID-19 crisis into all other aspects of healthcare. Certainly, there is much more we can do together,” he said.
He applauded MCPG for taking real action to prepare, train and equip its members in the event of another surge or new variant, including organising a vaccination training programme earlier this year.