Ebola resources for community pharmacy now available from FIP
Pharmacists can, from today, make use of a suite of resources on Ebola virus disease (EVD) specifically designed for those who work in the community sector. The resources have been compiled by an emergency task force set up by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) in response to requests for guidance from its members.
“A vast amount of information is readily available, but we wanted to select and present in one place the most reliable and most relevant elements for pharmacies in a primary care context. Pharmacies are often the first point of contact with the health system for patients and people with health concerns. Given the current outbreak of EVD in some West African countries and the possibility of it spreading to other parts of the world, it is important that the whole pharmacy workforce is well informed. Being prepared is key,” FIP CEO and general secretary Mr Luc Besançon said.
FIP believes that pharmacists can provide a crucial public health service by preventing the spread of EVD. They can:
- Inform, advise and educate their communities;
- Promote disease prevention and infection control; and
- Screen those with symptoms and refer suspected cases, in a safe manner, to appropriate healthcare facilities and authorities.
The resources provide the essentials that pharmacists need to perform these tasks, and the content can be freely used and adapted for national use. They include:
• EVD: Information and Guidelines for Pharmacists and the Pharmacy Workforce
• Quick guidance/poster: EVD – What can pharmacists do about it?
• Quick guidance/poster: EVD – Disease transmission and control
• Quick guidance/poster: EVD – Patient screening and referral
• Quick guidance/poster: EVD – Infection control
• PowerPoint presentation of the guidelines
The “Information and guidelines” document includes suggestions for pharmacy activities and a list of reliable sources of additional information.
All these resources are now available on a dedicated webpage and FIP will endeavour to make these materials available in different languages.
Task force member Mr Mohamed Conteh-Barrat, regulatory officer at the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, said: “Since the outbreak, community pharmacists have been faced with the challenge of accessing reliable information as well as the risk of infection. A key lesson we have learnt is the need to ensure that correct and consistent information is made available to pharmacists in a timely manner. The internet is a potential source of information but also of misinformation. Conflicting information can create doubt and confusion, which must be avoided in emergency situations like these. And to avoid delays as a result of missing pieces of essential information, it is paramount that all the information is readily accessible from one place.”
“This guidance is a valuable resource towards the preparedness of the pharmacy workforce in fighting against Ebola. With the recent spread of the infection from the three hardest hit nations to other countries, it is clear that the disease knows no boundaries; and could occur anywhere in the world. Thus knowledge about the infection, how to handle a potential or real case, and how to stay safe during outbreaks would come in pretty handy in any country,” he added.