New study confirms pharmacists’ role in hygiene

Advice on hygiene given by pharmacies has widened from oral care to infection control measures, according to a study by the International Pharmaceutical Federation Global Pharmaceutical Observatory.

The FIP Global Pharmaceutical Observatory gathers data and produces intelligence on the pharmacy workforce, pharmacy practice, and pharmaceutical science worldwide.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday and made available to PUNCH HealthWise.

A literature review conducted by the FIP GPO found that educating people on hygiene measures such as handwashing and disinfection was a novel community pharmacy service during the pandemic. 

The FIP GPO also conducted a cross-country survey (India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Thailand) through five FIP member organisations (n=60). 

More than half of the respondents reported that avoidance of respiratory, viral, communicable, and food and water-borne infections were the most common “germ concerns” expressed to them by the public. 

The study also looked into the current and future learning needs of pharmacy teams in the five countries. 58.3 per cent of respondents said they obtained information on hygiene as part of their continuing professional development.

“Hygiene — general and personal — is an important aspect of self-care. The report shows that pharmacists and their teams can offer a valuable service to empower people to maintain health and to prevent and manage illness. 

“However, our study also indicated that the profession needs more support with learning about hygiene,” said Mr. Christopher John, FIP lead for data and intelligence, and co-author of the report. 

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists and is in official relations with the World Health Organisation.


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