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Association calls for increasing number of pharmacists in anti-virus efforts

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Nov 21,2020 - Last updated at Nov 21,2020

AMMAN — Jordan Pharmacists Association President Zeid Kilani said on Saturday that the Ministry of Health “requires no less than 350 pharmacists to be urgently appointed in hospitals and healthcare centres to contribute to combating COVID-19, but has only asked for 15 to 25 pharmacists”. 

“The role of pharmacists has shifted completely around the world. It used to be only about prescriptions, but now pharmacists can help alleviate a lot of pressure on medical cadres, of which they are an integral part,” Kilani told The Jordan Times in a phone interview.

He said that various medical entities and centres appoint “doctors of pharmacy”, pharmacists whose jobs are very specific. Doctors diagnose the patients but doctors of pharmacy create the treatment protocol, as “some are specialised in communicable diseases, others in different types of cancers, and many more”, Kilani added.

“The job of doctors of pharmacy requires them to prescribe the most suitable medicine, while also saving money for the medical entity through their knowledge. And while there are all sorts of doctors of pharmacy and pharmacists in all protocols, they are not part of the coronavirus protocol,” Kilani said.

“Pharmacists report to the association that they are under a lot of pressure and can barely meet the demands of their jobs”, he said, noting that many have also been diagnosed with the virus, but no alternative staff was hired.

“There are 750 primary and comprehensive healthcare centres, hospitals, and health directorates, but the ministry only has 700 pharmacists, so in some places there are no pharmacists at all,” Kilani said.

This affects the accreditation credentials of these medical entities, especially because a doctor of pharmacy is required for every 50 hospital beds, he said, noting that this affects the quality standards of a hospital.

He called for an urgent recruitment of pharmacists and urged their integration in the process of combating the novel coronavirus, as well as providing support in other areas to alleviate the pressure on other pharmacists and the rest of the medical cadres.

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