Expert Review - International Research Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology ( 2023) Volume 11, Issue 1
Received: 07-Feb-2023, Manuscript No. Irjpp-23-88941; Editor assigned: 09-Feb-2023, Pre QC No. Irjpp-23-88941; Reviewed: 23-Feb-2023, QC No. Irjpp-23-88941; Revised: 27-Feb-2023, Manuscript No. Irjpp-23-88941; Published: 01-Mar-2023, DOI: 10.14303/2251-0176.2023.61
Background: Healthcare providers' pandemic preparedness contributes to the management of the disease as well as the mitigation of future threats like disease spread and fatality rates. In this COVID-19 pandemic, the role of community pharmacists is becoming increasingly recognized. Pharmacists are important partners with public health agencies. The purpose of the study was to investigate community pharmacists' (CPs) COVID-19 emergency preparedness.
Methods: Cluster sampling was used in a cross-sectional study of community pharmacists, followed by convenient sampling. The WHO preparedness checklist and references from previous literature were used to create a self-administered questionnaire. The socio-demographic characteristics of the participants were the subject of descriptive analysis. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 24.0 was used to enter all of the collected data into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.
Results: The majority of CPs had no more than five years of practice experience, and they were well-versed in the disease's requirements for their communities. When needed, the participants knew where to find these resources. They were capable of recognizing the disease's symptoms. The majority of participants felt confident in their ability to educate patients and perform their responsibilities during these trying times. The participants' perceived response was strongly correlated with their level of preparedness.
Conclusion: Malaysian community pharmacists believe they are capable of responding to any unprecedented circumstance, like the COVID-19 pandemic, and are sufficiently prepared for its management. Community pharmacists were aware of the COVID-19 difficulties that their communities face.
Pharmacy workforce, Community pharmacist, Coronavirus, Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed long-standing gaps in public health emergency preparedness. The pandemic has put a tremendous strain on global healthcare systems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an overburdened health system faces numerous challenges in responding to the health and safety of the public and health professionals. A community's health safety depends on a well-trained healthcare provider, whose preparedness helps to reduce future threats like disease spread and death rates. An efficient, well-thoughtout, and well-coordinated response from multiple agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Is essential in any situation involving a pandemic. Organizations must be prepared to provide care that is patient-centred and public-focused in order to improve the preparedness of healthcare systems and healthcare practitioners to deal with any public health emergency (Holden MG et al., 2013). An effective recommendation to increase front-line healthcare professionals' preparedness is to enhance training.
One of the most important partners in public health emergencies and responses, such as vaccination, pharmaceutical care, health promotion, and the safety of medications during pandemics, are pharmacists. The COVID-19 response greatly benefits from their level of training, knowledge of medications and therapies, and emergency preparedness. They demonstrated a strong willingness to participate in emergency training and provide assistance in times of need. Additionally, pharmacists are the most readily available and crucial health care providers (Warny M et al., 2005).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of community pharmacists (CPs) is becoming increasingly recognized due to the increased pressure on primary care providers and hospital resources to manage COVID-19 patients. In the majority of community care practices, CPs is now the first point of contact. In particular, CPs has achieved a high level of patient satisfaction in the management of minor ailments and health services. Over time, the majority of CPs has developed positive relationships with their respective communities; As a result, they are uniquely positioned to assist community-level government agencies in the pandemic response. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has made it very clear what CPs are supposed to do with both medical and non-medical products. In addition, they are held accountable for referring suspected cases and educating the general public about preventative measures.
Due to their unique position in the community, community pharmacists' participation in the four key phases of disaster management—prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery (PPRR)—has garnered significant interest in recent research. Recognized are the significant roles played by CPs during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, as well as their health emergency preparedness and response efforts. The variety of roles pharmacists could play during these four phases was defined by a Delphi study. (Cadogan et al., 2009) (Hughes et al., 2009) have emphasized the need to examine and acknowledge CPs' unique expertise as a component of total healthcare delivery. It's interesting to note that, according to (McCourt et al., 2012) (Mallhi et al., 2015), there isn't just a lot of literature on pharmacists' preparedness, but also how prepared they are for their work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the level of emergency preparedness and readiness of HCPs worldwide back into the spotlight. CPs is uniquely positioned to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic because of their numerous roles in the healthcare system and proximity to the general public. In the meantime, since they must interact directly with the public when providing pharmaceutical services, they run the risk of coming into contact with an infected patient and escalating the infection chain. To maintain the community's safety, CPs' strategic preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be ensured (Yoseph H et al., 2016).
The majority of participants were young, female, and had no more than five years of work experience, indicating that many would not have dealt with previous infectious outbreaks like SARS-CoV (2003) or H1N1 influenza (2009). The studies demographic also reflected the cultural diversity of Malaysia's workforce, with the majority of pharmacists being Chinese. The current demographic distribution was practically illustrative of the CP population in the selected study regions, as reported by 2018 also reported similar results. The findings indicated that very few pharmacists have received training in the management of disease outbreaks. As a result, the nation's health authorities ought to anticipate offering pharmacists training to better prepare them for upcoming pandemics (Johnstone J et al., 2018).
Our findings are consistent with a previous report by (Kua et al., 2020) (Lee et al., 2021) and indicate that the majority of participants had the perception that they were capable of effectively responding to the on-going pandemic. This demonstrates that pharmacists may be of assistance in this crisis affecting public health. The study was carried out at a later stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, when pharmacists had already started taking the necessary precautions. Pharmacists were more prepared for COVID-19 than they had been for Zika infection in Malaysia previously. This is because HCPs, including CPs, must take this pandemic seriously due to the alarming rates of COVID-19 transmission and its continuing global death toll. Growing and others, HCPs' preparedness and response may vary depending on the situation, according to a 2017 report.
According to the participants, they had all of the necessary information regarding COVID-19. However, their primary sources of information were not examined by the questionnaire used in this study. (Kara et al., 2009) study (According to a study published in 2020), pharmacists' knowledge of the COVID-19 infection and their attitudes toward it were influenced by the information sources they used to learn about it. As a result, pharmacists were less able to provide the general public with information that was factually accurate. The "info emic" phenomenon, which is highly susceptible to misinformation and falsehoods, has resulted from the exponential rise in demand for and dissemination of COVID-19-related information. As a result, CPs should carefully assess the credibility and veracity of their information source. The fact that only a few of the participants read journal articles on COVID-19-related topics is noteworthy, which raises concerns because journal articles are one of the most reliable sources of high-quality information. This is in line with what (ElGeed et al., 2021). The low reading rate and low participation in educational activities may be caused by a lack of time, heavy workload, and a shortage of pharmacy workers in these unprecedented circumstances, given that nearly all COVID-19 publications are freely available today.
According to CPs, it is necessary to obtain a patient's travel or residence history in order to identify patients who may be at high risk for COVID-19. (ElGeed et al., 2021) stated that, in actual practice, only a small number of CPs takes patient histories to determine a patient's health status; The authors provided a justification for this by stating that their scope of practice was still restricted to conventional methods and did not take into account patient-centered care much. It is now anticipated that CPs will play a more patient-centered role, moving beyond the conventional product-centered practice of simply dispensing medicines. In addition, it is encouraging that CPs believed they were capable of recognizing the typical symptoms of COVID-19 and were adequately prepared to isolate the suspected individuals on their premises. Other studies' findings were comparable. This may aid in the early identification of COVID-19 patients and prevent treatment delays, which could result in serious complications.
Malaysian community pharmacists believe they are capable of handling any unprecedented circumstances and are sufficiently prepared for any pandemic. They were aware of the difficulties their community faces during pandemics. They might be able to provide counselling and identify COVID-19 symptoms. Senior pharmacists with years of experience, who have seen at least one COVID-19 patient, and who have received training in disease management are well-prepared for the pandemic. To determine the challenges pharmacists faced during and after the pandemic, additional research could be carried out.