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Aug 10, 2017

Caribbean’s Pharmacists Promoting Community Health and Wellness

This week pharmacists from across the Caribbean and some international colleagues are convening in Belize for the annual conference of the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists. They will be discussing latest trends and news in their industry under the theme of promoting health and wellness in the community. But if you thought that meant how to dispense the newest and strongest types of pills to relieve ailments, Aaron Humes reports that these professionals have a new attitude to safeguarding your health.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

With organizational meetings out of the way, Caribbean Association of Pharmacists president Dr. Marvin Smith is looking forward to a healthy discussion of various topics in the realm of pharmacy, looking at health and wellness.

 

Marvin Smith

Dr. Marvin Smith, President, Caribbean Association of Pharmacists

“We have a workshop on HIV management and some of the new therapies there; we have talks on chronic diseases, diabetes; we have talks on how to interview well, and how to interview patients and get counseling information, and we also have a talk and lecture on our journal article, on the evolution and the evolving scene that involves the research and development of cannabis for medicinal use. So our thing is this: we want to make sure that we are covering all sorts of topics across the scope of pharmacy: community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, the retailers and the wholesalers, the regulators like myself; the educators – and this is important as the University of Belize begins their Bachelor’s program, we are so proud of what they are doing here and we applaud the Government for putting the money into that. So we are going to talk about all those different types of things; it’s going to be a wonderful conference this week.”

 

According to Dr. Smith, the relationship with your pharmacist does not end when he hands you the pill bottle or other medication. In fact, to defeat the high level of non-communicable disease and foster health and wellness in our populations, pharmacists have become advisers to their patients.

 

Dr. Marvin Smith

“Today’s pharmacist is trained to do so much more than dispensing: cholesterol testing; blood sugar testing; blood pressure testing; evaluating natural and conventional medication therapies. And so this concept of wellness doesn’t just stop if you’re not dispensing an actual prescription. Simple things like products we use for hygiene and those sort of things every day, that’s critical for us. When the pharmacist becomes that central point of knowledge for the patient, they will become a valued member of that patient’s health care cycle and the economic benefits will flow. We know from research and from our experience within the field, that when we treat our patients right, even if we don’t sell them – if we tell them, ‘you don’t really need that medication,’ or ‘you don’t really need that over-the-counter stuff because you don’t have that or that’s not going to work for you,’ the patients appreciate that and the next time they need something, they will come back to you. So you are building a long-term relationship.”

 

And the president of Belize’s pharmacy association, Beverly Coleman, contends that pharmacists must take that relationship seriously.

 

Beverly Coleman, President, Pharmacists Association of Belize

“We feel like we are in a very special position, because we actually try and encourage to build relationships with our patients. For us in the Association, we stress and we emphasize patient advocacy and patient safety; that is first and foremost with us. And we try to do things that encourage this; we do a lot of continuing education. So that is another reason why having an event like this, hosting an event where they will be presenting on topics that are common and prevalent within our region, is very important to us.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

The conference continues until Sunday.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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