We thank God that He has protected Nigerian Pharmacists through this COVID-19 Pandemic outbreak thus far. We thank you for heeding our previous advisory and complying with other directives by the Government. We have actively interacted with the Government, the PTF and NCDC to make them better understand and recognize the critical role Pharmacists play in managing the Pandemic. A few of our colleagues contracted the disease but have recovered. We have had no fatality and we pray it remains that way. For nearly six weeks now, Nigeria has been in a state of lockdown especially in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT. But from Monday 4, 2020, the lockdown will begin to ease up in different forms across the nation. We saw how difficult it was to keep Nigerians at home or get them to follow the recommendations of NCDC during the lockdown, it can then be imagined what will happen when the lid is opened. There is a great possibility that the community infections will spike and the risk to all Pharmacists especially community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists will multiply. Hence, we offer the following additional advisory:
- As much as is possible, Pharmacists and other staff who interact with Patients/clients must adorn minimum protective gear. This is important.
- We need to interrogate all who come into our premises extensively. All those who present with signs of COVID-19 must be referred appropriately and we must continue to use our Pharmacies as major information resource centres.
- All interactions and interventions must be properly documented in line with the principles of Pharmaceutical care and to protect against wrongful accusations or insinuations.
- As much as is practicable, we must disinfect and sanitize our Pharmacies regularly and keep them in the best hygienic condition, no matter our location in the country.
- All experiences or encounter with COVID-19 patients (symptomatic or asymptomatic) should be documented and reported to the appropriate Technical groups for onward collation and transmission to the PSN national office on regular basis.
- All branch chairmen, Technical group leaders and other members of PSN Council are advised to forward their experiences and suggestions on what more we can do as a Society to improve our impact in the fight against the Pandemic, including suggestions to be forwarded to the Government.
- We have gotten the Government to broaden their concept of Healthcare facilities to include Pharmacies and to accept Pharmacists are on the frontline. We have also convinced them to put some focus on Research and Development. In turn, they request constant report of the incidents or activities in our Pharmacies and Premises.
- Finally, let me congratulate all Pharmacists for the heroic efforts we have made to keep the Pharmaceutical supply chain open during these difficult times and working cooperatively with our colleagues in the other healthcare professions to confront this pandemic. But the challenge in the next few weeks may test our strength and resolve. And we must remain unbreakable. And I know Our God will continue to help us.
Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa OFR, MON, NPOM, FPSN
President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria