The Pharmaceutical Society of Botswana is lobbying to be at the core of the rolling out of the Anti Retroviral Programme, in both the dispensing of medication to patients and monitoring.
This, in essence, would aid in advancement of broad aspects surrounding the practice of pharmacy thereby reclaiming pharmacist’s special role within the health system.
“Botswana is sitting on top of people with a lot of skill and knowledge in the use of ARV drugs, pharmacists are trained more than any health cadre and can bring about positive clinical outcomes in HIV and AIDS patients,” said the president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Botswana(PSB), Scott Senwelo.
“Pharmacist have a pivotal role to play in the provision of quality antiretroviral therapy (ART) care, through both ensuring an efficient supply of medicines and delivering patient-oriented services to promote appropriate use.”
He said if pharmacists are effectively used they would positively affect adherence to treatment regimen in patients, adding that clinical pharmacists have a strong impact on promoting positive clinical outcomes in HIV and AIDS patients.
Patients’ adherence levels to ARV treatment in Botswana is recorded at over 80 percent (80 patients out of every 100).
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Botswana among the highest in the world in the ARV rollout program to the population.?
He urged stakeholders to refocus their attention on pharmacy and on making better use of pharmacists, whose skills and training is underutilized.
“Involving pharmacists in implementing ART at the national and local levels enables them to contribute to developing treatment guidelines that are easier to put into practice,” he said.
Senwelo emphasised that “pharmacists are keen to provide ART drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve or maintain our patient’s quality of life”. Pharmacists are competent in the provision of medication-related counseling, including reinforcing adherence and advising on potential side effects and drug-drug interactions.
Senwelo urged other stake holders to improve documentation of clinical interventions in management of HIV Patients in the country.
“New drugs keep coming into the market and we have to monitor their usage and how our patients respond to them,” he said.
Pharmaceutical Society of Botswana (PSB), Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe (PSZ) and Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA) are collaborating to form a regional alliance and share best practices.
Senwelo said the Commonwealth Pharmacists President, Raymond Anderson, will be coming to Botswana to engage with pharmacists in Botswana and senior government officials and assist with the launch of the first pharmaceutical journal and to help ensure that patients in Botswana continue to get the best and latest information on the management of their health conditions.