Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis N. Kateh, has warned drug dispensers and pharmacists here to “be mindful” of their “actions or inactions” as they could have consequences on someone’s life.
He gave the warning Saturday, July 11 at the Sinkor Assembly of God Church where graduation ceremonies were held for 51 dispensers and pharmacists from the Pharmaceutical Dispensing School located in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The chief medical officer observed that “in drugs,” there are lot of errors that health practitioners need to think about in order to mitigate “those errors that usually occur.” He cited wrong interpretation of prescription, retrieval of the wrong drug from the stock, wrong dosages and inadequate packaging as examples of errors in drug dispensing.
Dr. Kateh, who is also Deputy Minister of Health, cited other mistakes in drug dispensing as inaccurate counting; inaccurate or none-existing labeling; no knowledge of proper drug compliance; insufficient knowledge of the disease process; insufficient time to talk with patients about their drugs and inability to communicate with patient about therapy.
“As you can see from the above, there are many potential areas in which the dispenser can make mistakes,” he admonished the graduates. He warned that dispensers should not second-guess if they do not understand a prescription, but rather communicate with drugs prescriber for clarity.
“You have to make sure that the drug you are about to give the patient is the right drug. You have to check the dosage; the administration and the duration. You also have to check the availability of the drug,” he urged.
Dr. Kateh said the responsibility the graduates have involved themselves in was crucial during this time of Liberia’s health care system, having given a reflection on Liberia and neighboring countries that he said are undergoing a major wake-up call from Ebola outbreak that killed several victims and left many survivors in pains.
He suggested that since the dispenser is often the last person to see the patient before they use a drug, it was important that dispensing process be understood clearly. Dr. Kateh urged that dispensers and pharmacists monitoring chronic diseases like hypotension, adjustments, diabetes, and asthmas to see their job as being very critical; urging the graduates to make sure that whatever drug they are about to give to patients was not expired, but one that meets potency. – By Winston W. Parley – Editing by Jonathan Browne