Proud of our achieve­ments

Jamaica Gleaner - - MESSAGE - AINS­LEY G. JONES Pres­i­dent Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal So­ci­ety of Ja­maica

TO­DAY, AS an as­so­ci­a­tion, as we re­flect upon our jour­ney from the em­bry­onic stage as The Ja­maica Phar­ma­cists’ As­so­ci­a­tion with only 15 mem­bers, we are proud of the strides we have made from those bud­ding stages. In 1944, what was known as The Ja­maica Phar­ma­cists’ As­so­ci­a­tion be­came known as the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal So­ci­ety of Ja­maica (PSJ). To­day, we re­flect not only how far we have come but how to­gether we can work to­wards, ‘Ad­vanc­ing Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals for a Health­ier You’.

Our mis­sion has al­ways been to main­tain the dig­nity of the pro­fes­sion by pro­mot­ing high stan­dards of con­duct in all as­pects of pro­fes­sional prac­tice. To this end, through ded­i­cated and com­pe­tent lead­er­ship through­out the years, in­clud­ing the yeo­man ser­vice of our out­go­ing ex­ec­u­tive, we have made great strides; hav­ing spear­headed the es­tab­lish­ment of a School of Phar­macy at the Col­lege of Arts, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, (now the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy), which brought to an end the for­mer ap­pren­tice­ship sys­tem, giv­ing greater le­git­i­macy and cred­i­bil­ity to the pro­fes­sion. This al­lowed us to be able to es­tab­lish re­gional and in­ter­na­tional links, be­ing ad­mit­ted into the mem­ber­ship of sim­i­lar or­gan­i­sa­tions in Great Bri­tain and other Com­mon­wealth coun­tries, the Caribbean and Latin Amer­ica. We are also af­fil­i­ated to the Pro­fes­sional So­ci­eties As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica, the Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica and the Ja­maica Cham­ber of Com­merce.

We have been stri­dent in our ad­vo­cacy for phar­ma­cists and ne­go­ti­ated through two political ad­min­is­tra­tions to en­sure that phar­ma­cists had large rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the Phar­macy Coun­cil. We con­tinue to host con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion sem­i­nars to help build the ca­pac­ity of our mem­bers. The annual Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Con­fer­ence, which be­gan in 1990, has now be­come a fo­cus point for phar­ma­cists, as well as oth­ers in the in­dus­try. Of men­tion is the 8th Com­mon­wealth Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (CPA) con­fer­ence held at the Re­nais­sance Ja­maica Grande Re­sort in Au­gust 2003, where the PSJ hosted 653 del­e­gates from 44 coun­tries.

Those are just a few of the many ac­com­plish­ments we have achieved as an as­so­ci­a­tion and is tes­ta­ment to the ben­e­fits of work­ing to­gether. But while we are proud of these many ac­com­plish­ments and are thank­ful for them, we must be care­ful not to slacken our grasp of what is yet to be ap­pre­hended. Our de­light must be found in do­ing our part in craft­ing a sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment plan that will en­sure the health of our so­ci­ety. And, we are con­fi­dent that we will con­tinue on this tra­jec­tory of success as ev­i­denced by the strong re­la­tion­ship we’ve built, which was on dis­play at our first-ever joint his­toric phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal con­fer­ence of the Caribbean As­so­ci­a­tion of Phar­ma­cists (CAP) and the PSJ held in July 2016. There are a num­ber of agenda items to be achieved, in­clud­ing: Strength­en­ing our re­la­tion­ship with the CAP with spe­cific ini­tia­tives to be rolled out. Re-en­er­gis­ing our as­so­ci­a­tion with the CPA.

Ex­plore advanced part­ner­ship with in­ter­na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions. We have to seek to con­tin­u­ously im­prove as an or­gan­i­sa­tion. There­fore, in the next leg of our jour­ney, the PSJ will seek to en­hance com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our most im­por­tant stake­hold­ers - our phar­ma­cists and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal stu­dents. It is ex­tremely im­por­tant that we do this as en­hanced modal­i­ties of and ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion au­gurs well for the build­ing of strong re­la­tion­ships. Main­tain­ing an open di­a­logue helps in fos­ter­ing those de­sired re­la­tion­ships, sense of be­long­ing and commitment by our mem­bers. They are our pri­mary stake­hold­ers. Their in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive in­ter­ests are paramount to the PSJ. They are part of our mis­sion. There­fore, our work con­tin­ues to not only be to main­tain the dig­nity of the pro­fes­sion but to advocate for the rights and needs of our mem­bers.

We are stronger to­gether. We are stronger in num­bers. We are stronger when we join our hands and hearts for the bet­ter­ment of the PSJ. Our voice has more power when we come to­gether for the cause of ad­vo­cacy. Those who are not mem­bers, our en­cour­age­ment to you is to be­come a mem­ber. We are a place for you to be­long. Part­ner with us and help us to rep­re­sent you bet­ter. Let us build au­then­tic re­la­tion­ships amongst our­selves and share ex­pe­ri­ences so that we can learn from each other and be­come ac­quainted with the dif­fer­ent re­al­i­ties in which we serve. There is much to be gained, and noth­ing to lose, in join­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion.

There will be leg­isla­tive changes (amend­ments to the Phar­macy Act) to es­tab­lish a new frame­work in keep­ing with de­vel­op­ments the world over – this will sup­port new and emerg­ing roles for mem­bers of the health team. We are work­ing closely with the lo­cal Min­istry of Health and, by ex­ten­sion, the Phar­macy Coun­cil of Ja­maica, along with other lo­cal stake­holder or­gan­i­sa­tions in the health sec­tor. This will open the doors to spe­cialised train­ing to meet def­i­nite needs and ex­panded roles, in­clud­ing med­i­ca­tion ther­apy man­age­ment. Ben­e­fits in­clude: mon­i­tor­ing ser­vices pro­vided by phar­ma­cists to help con­sumers get the best re­sults from med­i­ca­tions through; en­hanc­ing con­sumer un­der­stand­ing of med­i­ca­tion ther­apy; in­creas­ing pa­tient ad­her­ence to med­i­ca­tions; con­trol­ling costs; and pre­vent­ing drug com­pli­ca­tions and in­ter­ac­tions.

There will also be the fash­ion­ing of a blue­print for the pref­ace of clin­i­cal roles of health-sys­tems phar­ma­cists. This will un­doubt­edly en­hance the ap­pli­ca­tion of pro­fes­sional skills to in­crease pa­tients’ com­pli­ance in med­i­ca­tion reg­i­men; as­sist in pre­vent­ing and re­duc­ing pos­si­ble med­i­ca­tion er­ror; im­prove chronic dis­ease state man­age­ment; lower cost to the com­mu­nity; pro­mote pos­i­tive health, so­cial and economic out­comes.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there will be part­ner­ship to es­tab­lish phar­ma­cist as im­mu­nis­ers. Phar­ma­cists are seen as among the most ac­ces­si­ble health-care pro­fes­sion­als. In most in­stances, there are no ap­point­ment re­quire­ments or con­sul­ta­tion fees ap­pli­ca­ble to the pa­tient. As phar­ma­cists, we are a cred­i­ble repos­i­tory of health and drug

ther­apy in­for­ma­tion. We live in a so­ci­ety that still holds stead­fastly to our ances­tral ther­apy re­ten­tions. Some phar­ma­cists are knowl­edge­able to fur­nish pa­tients with spe­cific in­for­ma­tion on those tra­di­tional herbal reme­dies, com­ple­men­tary medicines and even on the prop­er­ties, ef­fec­tive­ness and ap­pro­pri­ate use of cos­metic prod­ucts. Our phar­ma­cists are highly trained to pro­mote high stan­dards of con­duct in all as­pects of pro­fes­sional prac­tice and are recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally for our com­pe­tence, hence our re­gional and in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ships and mem­ber­ships.

The PSJ’s commitment is to en­sure that its mem­bers are con­stantly de­vel­op­ing their ca­pac­i­ties and com­pe­tence in their field, par­tic­u­larly through re­search and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion to tackle spe­cific chal­lenges. This, of course, will bring fur­ther cred­i­bil­ity to, and so­lid­ify the in­tegrity of the as­so­ci­a­tion and its mem­bers and of­fer greater de­liv­ery of qual­ity care to our clients. We have to be­come more in­formed by the data and find so­lu­tions based on those data, so that we cre­ate a more sus­tain­able sec­tor. Knowl­edge is power and all the ac­quired knowl­edge is to­wards en­hanc­ing pa­tient ther­a­peu­tic needs and, ul­ti­mately, pa­tient out­comes.

Ul­ti­mately, the real care of the pa­tient lies in their hands and we must never fail to con­tinue to en­cour­age them to make those lifestyle changes which will mit­i­gate the preva­lence and pro­gres­sion of chronic lifestyle dis­eases. Those lifestyle changes will in­clude eat­ing health­ier foods; con­sum­ing health­ier bev­er­ages; do­ing suf­fi­cient daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity/ex­er­cise (25-35 min­utes per day); con­sum­ing ad­e­quate and re­quired amounts of wa­ter per day; ad­e­quate sleep; and main­tain­ing healthy hous­ing strate­gies, in­clud­ing treat­ment of wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion, vec­tor con­trol, hy­giene and waste man­age­ment.

The new ex­ec­u­tive an­tic­i­pates serv­ing its mem­bers and the wider Ja­maica over the next two years and en­cour­ages all to con­tinue to of­fer qual­ity care and advocate for its pa­tients. We must forge ahead, cog­nisant of the gains we have had but also poised to as­sume the chal­lenges that lie ahead and the vic­to­ries to be won. As an as­so­ci­a­tion, we are open to di­a­logue with all our mem­bers and wel­come their feed­back, con­cerns, ques­tions and sug­ges­tions.

We wish all our mem­bers a great Phar­macy Week and in­vite all of you to join us in ser­vice as we, in turn, seek to serve you with pas­sion and pur­pose.


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