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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 224-233

COVID-19, health care and self-medication issues in resource-limited settings: Findings and implications based on experiences in Ghana


1 Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho; Department of Pharmacy, Keta Municipal Hospital, Ghana Health Service, Keta-Dzelukope, Ghana
2 Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana
3 Unit of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (National Defence University of Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
4 Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
5 Department of Periodontology and Implantology, Karnavati University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
6 Department of Pharmacy, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences Formally, College of Medicine, Blantyre College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi
7 Department of Pharmacy Practice and Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
8 Division of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria; Department of Pharmacy, Tshilidzini Hospital, Shayandima, Limpopo Province, South Africa
9 Department of Pharmacy, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
10 Pharmaceutical Administration and Pharmaco Economics, Hanoi University of Pharmacy, Hanoi, Vietnam
11 Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
12 Department of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK; Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq
14 Division of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK; School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Brian Godman
Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0RE

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aihb.aihb_82_21

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Introduction and Objectives: There have been concerns with the level of misinformation regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its treatment, drug shortages, as well as increased use and prices of anti-malarials, antibiotics and hygiene products during the recent pandemic. Community pharmacists can play a significant role in disease prevention and treatment in the fight against COVID-19 including providing hygiene information and medicine availability across Africa and generally. Consequently, there is a need to review the role of community pharmacists in preventing unintended consequences during any pandemic as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the demand, availability and prices of suggested medicines for its management. Materials and Methods: Multiple approaches involving a qualitative review of the management of COVID-19 across countries coupled with a pilot study in Ghana among six purposely selected community pharmacists during the early stages of the pandemic assessing patterns of demand, availability and prices of medicines suggested for the management of COVID-19. Alongside this, pharmacists' future role enhancing appropriate medicine use in Ghana and wider combined with the help of senior level co-authors. Results: The majority (five out of six) of pharmacists in Ghana reported increased demand for hydroxychloroquine, antibiotics and vitamins as immune boosters resulting in shortages with price increases particularly for anti-malarials. Conclusion: The global lockdown had impacted on the supply and prices of medicines in Ghana similar to other countries. Community pharmacists can play a key role with encouraging safe medicine use, reducing self-purchasing of medicines and planning workflows during future pandemics including vaccinations. They can also help address potential misinformation and its consequences as well as the unintended consequences of pandemics including better management of non-communicable diseases.


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