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This year’s World Pharmacists Day celebrations, organised by International Federation of Pharmacists (FIP), began on Tuesday and will end tomorrow.

FIP is the global body of pharmacists which promotes the profession by bringing practitioners to share ideas on how best to make the pharmaceutical aspect of healthcare effective, safe and affordable.

A huge proportion of healthcare budgets is taken up by pharmaceutical products and care and FIP seeks to ensure pharmaceutical care, and products, are affordable to governments and individuals.

The safety of pharmaceutical products is paramount. The products are a double-edged sword — beneficial and harmful. Safety of pharmaceutical products, in this case medicines, is determined by their doses and the duration for which they are consumed. Given in the correct dose, and through the correct route and for the correct duration, they will yield beneficial effects to the health of the patients. On the contrary, they will yield deleterious effects and the implications are far-reaching.

Efficacy of pharmaceutical products is a function of many things — including their design, manufacture and testing and overall handling. Pharmacists are involved directly at all the stages.

With the ever-changing healthcare needs and emergence and re-emergence of diseases, it behoves pharmacists and other healthcare players to be continually involved in research in order to combat old, recent and new risks to human health. Hence, the theme for this year’s celebrations is, ‘My Pharmacist, My Medicine Expert’.

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK), the national body, will bring together pharmacists from all sectors. The central activity throughout the five days will be medication review and reconciliation at all public hospitals, as well as selected private hospitals and pharmacies. Consultation will be free.

Dr Ephantus Lokeno, pharmacist, Nairobi.

One of the least-mentioned cadres in the health sector are pharmacists and pharmaceutical technologists, though they play an integral role in ensuring a healthy population.

Pharmacists’ roles include ensuring that patients get the right medicine, in the right dosage, in the most suitable formulation and, more importantly, guiding them on how well to administer or take it.

Over the years, there has been remarkable improvement in policy framework and tighter regulation. It is easier to access medical information through the interwebs and mobile-based applications such as #mydawa.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has also increased vigilance to root out quacks.

Burton Ngatia, research biochemist, Nairobi.



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