ONE major cause behind the grave rate of morbidity and mortality throughout the world, as recognised by the World Health Organisation, is the inability of healthcare systems to ensure safe and effective use of medications.

Developing countries like Pakistan remained the focus of various studies aimed at identifying the causes of deaths by various medicine-related incidents.

These detailed studies were conducted because of the increasingly popularised concept of globalisation which has successfully made the world inclined to seek standardised multidisciplinary approach in the healthcare system by all states. In this regard the WHO, in collaboration with other public or private stakeholders, has issued guidelines so that optimised healthcare services can be delivered to patients.

To use safe and effective use of medications and that the patients achieves a positive outcome from drug therapy, the WHO has strongly recommended a special role for pharmacists in achieving these goals.

Not only has the WHO recommended a ratio of one pharmacist for 200 people, but also the induction of pharmacists in community health centrer ,as well as in hospitals, because pharmacists can effectively handle or manage drug - related problems in therapeutic procedures.

The pharmacy discipline has considerably witnessed transition in its dispensation since the WHO highlighted the broader role of pharmacists in the optimised cost - effective therapy.

Besides manufacturing innovative drugs and drug - delivery systems, their safer transportation, proper storage under maintainable conditions, compounding and dispensation, the pharmacists have been assigned new roles of counseling and therapeutic monitoring under the plea of ‘pharmaceutical care services’ by the WHO.

Governments have been made liable to induce pharmacists in public and private healthcare settings so that optimised therapeutic care can effectively be delivered through selection of safest drugs, minimising drug - drug interactions, avoiding drug - food interactions and maintaining a close check on adverse drug reactions which are the leading cause of maternal and neonatal deaths in Pakistan .

With the cut - off date for the Millennium Development Goals approaching in 2015, Pakistan ’s healthcare system needs to be overhauled on a priority basis.

Proper counselling by pharmacists through forums of ubiquitous pharmacies, on the importance of exercise, proper diet, preventing diseases and ways of getting health education can help significantly in achieving the MDG by 2015.

The profession seriously lacks the government’s interest here in Pakistan. Without the involvement of skilful and authoritative pharmacists in therapeutic procedures, the medicines-related issues cannot be controlled.

Now, after devolution in the form of the 18th Amendment and promulgation of the Drug Regulatory Authority Bill 2012, all provincial governments should, without any further delay, put in place the internationally-practised healthcare system as recommended by the WHO.

Dr ZAIB ALI SHAHERYAR Lahore


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