The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana has issued guidelines to protect pharmacies and pharmacists from the spread of Covid-19, especially at community pharmacies.
According to the Society, community pharmacies are the first port of call for most people seeking healthcare, advice or information, hence the need for robust measures to stem possible spread of the virus to or from that point.
The guidelines are as follows:
1. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff are to use calming and reassuring language to respond to questions and queries related to COVID-19 and provide relevant educational information where possible.
2. Pharmacists and pharmacies are to ensure that Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) protocols specifically relating to COVID-19 are appropriately displayed in the facility for the information of staff and the general public.
3. Pharmacy premises, floors and counters should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. As much as possible, methylated spirit or any appropriate virucidal disinfectant should be used hourly to clean surfaces that are often touched or held.
4. As much as possible a barrier or clearly marked out area should be put in place at a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between clients and pharmacy staff. Social distancing protocols should also be enforced among clients who enter the pharmacy.
5. All pharmacy staff should put on nose masks, preferably fluid resistant nose masks at all times when on duty. Sick staff members should be allowed to stay home until they get well or call the emergency numbers if need be.
6. No staff, client or member of the public should be allowed into the pharmacy without a properly worn nose mask. Where it is imperative to attend to a client or a community member who does not have a nose mask, the interaction should be done outside the pharmacy, with the staff member appropriately protected .
7. Veronica bucket, soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be provided at the entrance of all pharmacies for the use of everyone entering the pharmacy.
8. As much as possible, staff strength should be reduced to the barest minimum and measures put in place to reduce contact time and working hours of staff.
9. For clients who show signs or symptoms of COVID-19, the District Management Health Team in the locality should be immediately notified for further guidance.
10. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff should continuously appraise themselves of current information and regular updates on COVID-19.