Bahamas Information Services Updates
New pharmacists to have almost immediate impact on public health
By Matt Maura, BIS
Jun 13, 2012 - 12:36:13 AM

NASSAU, The Bahamas --- The employment and deployment of 14 Bahamian graduates of the College of The Bahamas/University of Technology (Jamaica) Bachelor of Science degree (Pharmacy) Programme within the public healthcare system is expected to have an almost immediate impact on local healthcare, once the graduates complete the practical internship required for licensing as registered pharmacists.

The 14 are currently participating in the 2,000 hours of practical internship required for licensing as registered pharmacists.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Perry M. Gomez, said the pharmacists will be employed and deployed throughout various sectors of the healthcare system upon receiving their designations, which should have immediate affect on a number of areas.

These include an expansion of the hours clients accessing services at the country’s public clinics will be able to fulfil prescriptions at those clinics, strengthening the antiretroviral pharmacy at the HIV/AIDS Unit, improving services at Her Majesty’s Prisons, Fox Hill, reducing the waiting times for filling prescriptions and reducing or eliminating the shortage of supplies.

“For a number of years, clients visiting public healthcare facilities have complained about the long wait for drugs and the availability of supplies. I have already informed that help is on the way and that the 14 Bahamian pharmacists trained by the Government of The Bahamas will relieve this situation soon,” Dr. Gomez said.

“Soon, clients accessing services at public health clinics will be able to receive medication up to 9 at nights. (Furthermore) a much-needed pharmacist has been earmarked to strengthen the antiretroviral pharmacy in the HIV/AIDS Unit,” Dr. Gomez added.

The Unit supplies medication to 2,146 persons with 35 prescriptions filled per day at the centre and another 65-70 filled once per week at the Infectious Disease Clinic. The pharmacy currently operates with nurses functioning as pharmacists.

The Health Minister said the training and employment of the new healthcare workers will also allow for more counselling for clients on multiple drug therapies.

“Their presence will reduce the likelihood of non-compliance, thereby assisting in reducing secondary complications, while reducing or eliminating the shortage of supplies,” Dr. Gomez added.

Dr. Gomez said the public pharmacy profession is expected to get another boost in with the graduation of 10 students currently enrolled in the programme. The group, which commenced its training at the College of The Bahamas in 2010, will begin its third year this fall at the University of Technology, Jamaica, under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Health.

“Both cohorts of pharmacists will play a critical role in the re-engineering of systems for financing the delivery of healthcare, particularly the National Health Insurance Plan,” Dr. Gomez said.

“Also this fall, the Ministry of Health will commence sponsorship of a third group of students in the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Programme at the College of The Bahamas in collaboration with the University of Technology, Jamaica,” Dr. Gomez added.

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