Pharmacists play vital role in healthcare in Brunei, says its health minister

Image from Borneo Bulletin/ANN

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Brunei Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Mohd Isham Jaafar paid tribute to pharmacists nationwide for their dedication and sacrifice in providing a high quality health service.

“Every September 25 is World Pharmacist Day to commemorate the profession and support the role of pharmacists in strengthening the healthcare system,” the minister said in a message to mark World Pharmacists Day today. This year is the 13th celebration themed ‘Pharmacy strengthening health systems’.

While worldwide health systems are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, “general consensus is to take immediate action to ensure health services can meet future needs.

World Pharmacists Day this year provides an opportunity to increase awareness that the field of pharmacy is also an intelligent solution,” the minister said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic proved the capabilities of the profession in supporting the healthcare system and underlined the important role of a pharmacist in ensuring access to quality healthcare and the safe supply of medicine and responsibility in ensuring the use of correct medicine,” he added.

“Pharmacists form the backbone in the delivery of healthcare services and are important members of multidisciplinary healthcare providers. During every visit to the pharmacy, pharmacists will ensure that the medicine provided is of the correct dosage and the suitable formula to the patient.

“As one of the most accessible healthcare professionals globally, pharmacists make use of knowledge, expertise and experience to protect health and prevent disease. Pharmacists always strive to improve and provide an excellent service to patients. The involvement of pharmacists in the production of medicine, policy and education has helped to provide quality care for patients as well as protect the public,” said the minister.

Pharmacists in Brunei, the minister said, “have many useful and impactful roles, such as providing direct care to patients in various healthcare institutions; working closely with pharmaceutical suppliers to ensure a continuous supply of medicine; regulating and enforcing medical products, traditional medicine, health supplements and cosmetics; monitoring the quality and safety of medicines; and increasing public awareness on matters related to pharmacy.

“Pharmacy educators play an important role in implementing transformation in producing quality and efficient pharmacists to fulfil the growing needs of the local community.”

According to the Brunei Darussalam Statistical Yearbook 2022, the ratio of pharmacists to population in 2022 is 1:4,738 which shows that the number of pharmacists in the country is much lower than neighbouring ASEAN member countries such as Singapore at 1:1,446.

The minister said, “Alhamdulillah, the undergraduate course in pharmacy at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) is an effort between the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the university introduced in 2016. It has produced pharmacy graduates since 2020 where after they complete the one-year pre-register pharmacy training programme, they are qualified to register with the Brunei Darussalam Pharmacy Board.

“The initiative is to fully support the goal of Brunei Vision 2035 which is to produce educated, highly-skilled and accomplished individuals.

“The Department of Pharmaceutical Services at the MoH with the cooperation of Jerudong Park Medical Centre held the World Pharmacy Day celebration at Onecity Shopping Centre yesterday, to promote the profession of pharmacy and pharmacy services as well as raise awareness on control products related to pharmacy and healthcare for public safety.”

The minister also urged pharmacists to continue to be catalysts of change.

He added, “I would like to convey my appreciation to pharmacists in Brunei for their sacrifices and dedication, and urge them to continue providing high quality and excellent health service to all in the Sultanate.

“It is hoped that despite post-pandemic challenges, we will continue to ensure that the supply of safe, effective and quality medicine for the citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam is maintained as a priority for public health in achieving the MoH’s vision ‘Together Towards a Healthy Nation’ which is in line with the second goal of Brunei Vision 2035 – a high quality of life.” - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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