Because of their unique knowledge and skills, pharmacists are valuable and sought-after healthcare professionals during humanitarian crises. They can help ensure medical resources are used effectively and efficiently in less-than-optimal conditions.
Pharmacists can help with medication management, working in clinics, hospitals and with other non-governmental organizations that serve refugee populations.
There are various ways that pharmacists can volunteer their time and effort for such work. They don’t always have to go into the field, but can work in more comfortable surroundings, such as an organization’s headquarters, dealing with logistical and organizational issues. Or they can work in the field, helping to improve local healthcare services.
How Pharmacists Can Help
Pharmacists have much-needed skills for these critical situations, such as detailing supply chain logistics, giving technical advice and working with customs. They can also help with cold chain protocols for drugs like vaccinations, spotting medications that are inadequately packaged, and examining donations of questionable origin.
There are ongoing problems with medications in economically depressed countries that require the aid of experts. For example, there is a problem globally with medications that are substandard or counterfeit, as well as drugs that are mislabeled.
The World Health Organization reports that one counterfeit product is reported each day, with about half of them coming from Africa. These medications not only do not treat the condition they are intended for, they can also cause serious adverse effects.
Preparation is Important
Before becoming involved in a humanitarian effort, the pharmacist needs to do research, to find out what the conditions are like and what the job involves. There are issues to deal with that pharmacists normally do not have to confront in their professional life, such as inhospitable living conditions, personal safety, and fluid work guidelines.
In 2016, more than 100 volunteers working for non-governmental organizations around the world were killed, and 60 were taken hostage. Although volunteering for humanitarian missions can be very fulfilling, there are risks.
Each humanitarian crisis, however, is unique, dependent on the particular location, geography, culture, people and type of crisis. The most important quality to have in these situations is adaptability and flexibility.
When you begin looking for a pharmacy job, contact the people at Cameron and Company. We can find you a pharmacy job that fits your schedule and your professional goals. We are here for you. Contact us today