Pharmaceutical Teams at "SEHA" Facilities Play a Prominent Role on the Frontlines to Combat COVID-19
Abu Dhabi,14 July 2020: Abu Dhabi Health Services Company’s (SEHA) pharmaceutical teams are playing a prominent role in combatting COVID-19 on the frontlines. Pharmaceutical teams have joined the medical, nursing, and administrative staff in the nation’s fight against the virus, making it their national duty. Clinical pharmacists in particular are on the frontlines, supporting COVID-19 patients every day. These teams are part of SEHA’s Allied Health arm – responsible for medical prevention, diagnostic treatment programs for a range of conditions and illnesses, in synergy with other multidisciplinary health teams to provide the best patient outcomes.
Dr. Zain Al-Yafie, Pharmacy and Allied Health Director of SEHA, confirmed that around 900 pharmacists are based at various SEHA’s COVID-19 treatment facilities, isolation wards and field hospitals, to deliver the best pharmaceutical services.
Dr. Al-Yafie explained that the pharmaceutical team plays an essential role within the medical treatment team, as they provide the necessary medications and treatment for patients, in collaboration with the diagnostic plans approved by specialist doctors. Their role contributes to quicker recovery periods and shorter hospital stays for patients. In addition, SEHA provides an opportunity for pharmacists to apply their clinical experience to promote the advancement of medical and academic scientific research, as well as applications to improve and contribute to the latest developments in the field of drug administration and therapy.
Dr. Zain Al-Yafei provided further insight on the rollout of the Smart Pharmacy Application at SEHA facilities, which contributed to achieving important milestones. Since the launch of the application at the beginning of 2020, two million medications were dispensed. Meanwhile, 40,000 patients have benefitted from the delivery of pre-dispensed prescriptions and telemedicine. This was made possible due to a collaboration with a medical distributor. Dr. Al Yafei added that the pharmaceutical teams are heavily involved in the delivery of medications to patients’ residences, the preparation of medication and remote follow-ups with patients. Furthermore, pharmacists contribute to the continuity of drug education, whilst safeguarding the interests of patients – in line with global health standards and COVID-19 measures.
Khulood Jamal Bin Rafee, Director of Tawam Hospital’s Pharmacology department, said that the pharmaceutical staff at Tawam Hospital are making great strides to secure medication for all patients, whether they are admitted in the hospital, or are in outpatient clinics. This includes patients receiving home medications.
She added that Tawam Hospital is witnessing an influx of patients, especially after Al Ain Hospital became a dedicated COVID-19 treatment facility. As a result, outpatients from Al Ain Hospital were referred to Tawam Hospital, doubling pre-COVID-19 visitor numbers to the hospitals, clinics and the demand for medications.
Aisha Ibrahim Yaqeib, Manager of Pharmacy at SEHA said that the pharmaceutical teams are dedicated to playing an integral role in battling COVID-19 pandemic, alongside other front-line teams. Part of a pharmacist’s responsibilities include checking for the dosage and drug against a doctor’s diagnostic plan. Moreover, pharmacists review all medical prescriptions to ensure the suitability of medications to the patient's condition before dispensing. The pharmacist and clinical pharmacist are also involved in disease management through the regular monitoring and improvement of drug therapy - in cooperation with doctors and other medical staff to administer the safest treatment for patients.
Yaqeib added that the pharmaceutical staff have ensured that COVID-19 does not disrupt the treatment plans or delivery of medications to patients in outpatient clinics, nor inpatients at the hospital. She emphasized that the staff help in maintaining the supply chain operations from medical warehouses to provide medications as needed.
Dr. Amna Al Amri, Director of the Corniche Hospital pharmacy, confirmed that with the beginning of 2020 and with the onset of COVID-19 cases, the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist in the provision of primary health care to patients has increased, amid challenges such as shortage of medicines and medical supplies. In response to the challenges, the pharmaceutical team partnered with medical teams to minimize the adverse effects of usage of drugs currently under clinical trials but have been included within the global treatment plans of patients diagnosed with coronavirus. Pharmacists also play a role in monitoring a patient's safety by reviewing the results of the liver and kidney tests to ensure the correct dosage is being provided to each patient separately.
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