The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has confirmed ten frontline pharmacists positive for the novel Coronavirus, ravaging the global community, while calling for adequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs by government and owners of community pharmacies for the safety of pharmacists.
With this development, the Society has advised pharmacists in the country to treat all patients as suspected cases for their own safety and to curb the spread of the infection.
The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu had disclosed last week that no fewer than 812 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Ihekweazu revealed this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja last Tuesday that 29 of the affected healthcare workers were NCDC staff.
The PSN President, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, in an exclusive interview with Pharmanewsonline explained that the number of pharmacists who tested positive to the infection, increased from six, about two weeks ago to ten presently.
“They were six nearly two weeks ago, when the information of affected pharmacists was first released, since then, four more have been infected”, he asserted.
He noted that aside from the 359 hospital pharmacists directly involved in attending to COVID-19 patients in hospitals and isolation centres,” there are other thousands of community pharmacists out there that are daily exposed to preclinical or asymptomatic patients who see pharmacies as their first port of call”.
Ohuabunwa therefore maintained that maximum protection of healthcare practitioners is mandatory to prevent more numbers being infected.
On the protection of pharmacists from the scourge of the virus, as more and more health workers are coming down with the infection, he said government should ensure adequate protection for pharmacists in their employ, while owners of pharmacies should provide protective gear for their staff.
He said: “It is the responsibility of government and private employers to provide protective gear for their employees, given the limited resources, government may not be able to make provision for pharmacists in the community, but hospital pharmacists in government institutions must be protected by government, while owners of pharmacies must provide for their employees”.