Accra, Sept. 25, GNA - The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has expressed worry about the inadequate number of pharmacists in the country.
Ghana currently has a rate of one pharmacist to 12,500, a far cry from the World Health Organisation recommended pharmacist to population ratio of 1:2000.
Mr James Ohemeng Kyei, President of PSGH said the situation is worsened by a gross geographical imbalance with most pharmacists in only a few major regional capitals.
"The grave imbalance is inimical to the development and attainment of key health sector outcomes and goals," he said.
Mr Ohemeng Kyei was speaking at a news launch to mark the World Pharmacist Day celebration on the theme: "Access to Pharmacists is Access to Health,' at Amasaman in Ga West Municipality.
He said aside the limited number of pharmacists, the challenges of urbanisation, weak regulation and lack of public education and awareness still hampers access to pharmacists.
'To have access is to have the opportunity or right to see a person, or use a service or a facility for its intended purpose, hence having access to a pharmacist is to have the opportunity to interact, benefit or use the services of the pharmacist,' he said.
Mr Ohemeng Kyei said while the nation continues to invest hugely in medicines, achieving the desired outcome, patient safety, pharmaco-vigilance, rising medical costs and sustenance of the health insurance scheme all require the intervention and work of the pharmacist.
He said it is in this direction that the society is calling on government and all its decentralised local governance agencies to as a matter of extreme urgency take steps to ensure that at least every district is serviced by at least two pharmacists in both public and private facilities.
He said this would be a first and bold step towards achieving spreading access to pharmacists and pharmaceutical care.
'We urge the Ministry of Health to pursue the district pharmacist concept,' he said.
He expressed the need for the State to resource Food and Drugs Authority and Ghana Pharmacy Council to effectively enforce their statutory mandates in the best interest of the public.
The President tasked the Pharmacy Council to strive to ensure that any facility purporting to provide pharmaceutical services in any form or location does so under the supervision of a superintendent pharmacist at all times to guarantee the highest standards in pharmaceutical care.
'There is also need to delineate the various roles and expertise of the diverse players in the health sector to avoid any potential or perceived conflict of interest duties or roles,' he added.
He called for collaboration between the society, government, regulatory bodies, pharmaceutical industries, civil society and private sector bodies and entities to put in place structures to combat the menace or counterfeit or fake medicines.
Mr Ohemeng Kyei expressed the hope that the celebration would deepen the pharmacists sense of service, community and contribution to the well-being of patients and clients.
The PSGH used the day to educate school children on Ebola and cholera and dewormed about 2,000 pupils at Amasaman cluster of schools.