COVID-19: MPS releases guidelines for Malaysian community pharmacists
Guidelines for local pharmacists on what actions to take during the COVID-19 pandemic have been issued by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS).
Titled ‘COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance Document for Malaysian Pharmacists’, the six-page document provides information and guidance aimed to assist those in the pharmacy workforce in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and contributing to its efficient management in the national healthcare system.
“[The document] outlines three main points that pharmacists can take to ensure optimum participation in the crisis together with other healthcare professionals,” said Lee Lee Woon, MPS-Young Pharmacist Chapter (MPS-YPC) associate.
The points covered are the preparation of pharmacy teams to combat the outbreak, measures for infection prevention and control in the community pharmacy, and management of pharmaceutical supplies. Access to the full document (English and Bahasa Malaysia versions) is available online at: https://www.mps.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?menuid=37&action=view&retrieveid=7821.
Preparation steps include contact lists for up-to-date government and health information, steps for identification and handling of suspected cases of COVID-19, mask and hygiene protocols, as well as staff training for managing the concerns of members of the public.
Infection prevention and control covers questions of opening hours, controlled access to the interior of the pharmacy and/or attending areas, approved disinfectants, instructions for promoting social distancing, as well as counter management protocols.
Supply management includes quick tips for ensuring availability of medicines, promoting rational use, widening patient access during restricted movement periods, and cooperation with other healthcare professionals.
“Being front liners, pharmacists play a very significant role to ensure a stable pharmacy service for patients and customers in facing the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amrahi Buang, MPS president. “Facing the pandemic war needs a systematic approach from pharmacists to ensure that all actions to be taken are the right ones and to be done with care, speed and proportionality.”
A full list of other MPS resources related to COVID-19 can also be reviewed at https://www.mps.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?&menuid=37&action=view&retrieveid=7819. These include posters for display use in the community pharmacy, news updates by the MPS, and other specific guides for current action.
In February, a set of guidelines for international use was also released by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), providing a comprehensive overview of clinical information regarding onset, symptoms, treatment, stock management, and prevention of COVID-19.
The FIP guidelines also provide an extensive list of recommendations for pharmacy-mediated preventive measures, recommended equipment to stock, advice for pharmacists to give to members of the public, triage and referral procedures, and laboratory testing measures.
The full document from the FIP can be downloaded online in seven languages at https://www.fip.org/coronavirus and is subject to updates given ongoing developments in the global situation.