Think scale! Engaging Private Pharmacies to Improve Public Health
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Lisinopril 20 mg by mouth at 8am? Check. After verifying the patient’s identification, I scanned the medication barcodes into the computer one by one, performing the third and final, confirmation of the “five rights” of medication administration – right patient, right drug, right dose, right route, and right time. As a new nursing student these principles had formed a foundation of my fledgling practice.
They were not, however, altogether new to me. Prior to beginning my nursing education, I worked with the international nonprofit organization Management Sciences for Health. My former colleagues in Arlington, Virginia, and throughout the world devoted their professional lives to ensuring that communities in low- and middle-income countries have access to high-quality, affordable medications. While I utilize the “five rights” to ensure each of my patients receives the correct medicine, my former colleagues apply them to ensure that entire communities receive the medicines and pharmaceutical services they required, all while building resilient pharmaceutical systems.
One of the puzzles facing the global health community at large is how to optimize the training and skill set of diverse health workforces. Millions of people throughout the world purchase their medicines from private-sector retail drug outlets, an umbrella term encompassing regulated and unregulated pharmacies, chemists, and informal drug vendors.
- Health Care