Health Minister Charges Pharmacists to Decentralize Health Education

The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Hanny Ayittey has bemoaned the state’s inability to cause health care services to reach the ‘hard to reach’ areas of the country. ‘Most of our service are all in the urban areas and the rural areas are left to the vagaries of middle men who are trading pharmaceuticals as ordinary items of commerce.’

She was also worried that ‘pharmacies in the country have been left for non-professionals to dispense prescription only medications without the appropriate counselling.’

According to the Minister, the outcome of these actions are ‘leading us to health security threats like antimicrobial resistance, irresponsible medicine use,’ among others. She has therefore charged pharmacists across the country to champion the cause of ensuring education is going on in the nooks and crannies, schools, churches and mosques to ensure that the development is curtailed.

Ms Ayittey stated theis on Friday in a statement read on her behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Dr. Salamata Abdul Salim, during the launch of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Lady Pharmacists Association of Ghana (LAPAG) in Accra.

‘Another area I would urge LAPAG to continue to work in is the programs HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and Family Health especially in Maternal, adolescent and child health. Breast screening and education is another area in which I will be happy for you to undertake,’ she stated, while urging LAPAG to collaborate with the Ministry through its thematic yearly programme of work to deal with the areas that the Ministry may identify as priorities.

The celebration is under the theme ‘Celebrating 20 years of science oriented healthcare delivery’.

The major activities lined up for this celebration include opening session, health outreach programmes across the country, and a Health Walk.

The Lady Pharmacists Association of Ghana is an interest group of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSG) and a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to improving the health, human welfare and educational attainment for women and the youth in Ghana.

The Association is also involved in philanthropic actions among the less privileged. They also educate the populace through electronic and print media, face-to-face discussions and lectures, cervical and breast cancer education programs, reproductive health and responsible use of medicines, among others.

LAPAG provides youth education on topics such as Teenage pregnancy -the medical, social and psychological implications, rational use of medicines, substance abuse including skin bleaching and excessive douching etc. The association has also provides mentorship and career guidance seminars to female pharmacy students and Senior high School students.

The association has successfully organized outreach programmes in communities, working closely with the Ghana Aids commission, National Malaria Control Programme and the Ghana Health Service.

In attendance at the launch event were representatives of the Medical Women Association of Ghana, Christian Health Association of Ghana, Women in Science and Technology, Community Practice Pharmacists Association, Ghana Hospital Pharmacists Association, the Coalition of NGOs in Health and a host of dignitaries from the health and allied sectors.

The idea of the formation of LAPAG was first mooted in 1991 by Mrs Eniton Ruth Gavu, who was subsequently elected as the association’s first Chairperson in 1993. According to her, the idea arose out of a deep concern for the indiscriminate use of medicines particularly by women in the society and the belief that as women in pharmacy they can contribute to the minimisation of this social ill.

Over the years LAPAG has been very instrumental in the advocacy for better health for women and children. Members have served in various capacities as health promoters.

With regard to women’s empowerment and health education, LAPAG has on-going public health education and counseling programmes through electronic and print media; as well as face-to-face discussions and lectures.

Cervical and breast cancer education programs have also been undertaken, since the establishment of the association, with the aim of reaching women in their religious, employment and social groupings.

Membership of the association is projected to be over 600 lady pharmacists.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson/Spy News Agency

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