As the UAE healthcare professionals work tirelessly at the forefront to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company’s (SEHA) pharmaceutical teams have been playing a crucial role in the process. These pharmaceutical teams have united medical, nursing, and administrative staff members towards the national efforts against the pandemic crisis. In addition, clinical pharmacists are also working essentially on the frontline to assist the COVID-19 patients at they fight the virus.
These pharmaceutical teams are part of SEHA’s Allied Health arm that is responsible for carrying out medical prevention and diagnostic treatment programs for various illnesses in collaboration with other multidisciplinary health teams in a bid to provide the best results in treating the patients.
According to Dr. Zain Al-Yafie, Pharmacy and Allied Health Director of SEHA, there are almost 900 pharmacists placed at various SEHA’s COVID-19 treatment facilities, isolation wards, and field hospitals to provide these facilities with the best pharmaceutical services amid the current health crisis.
Dr. Al-Yafie highlighted the key role played by the pharmaceutical team within the country's medical treatment team. He said that they supply the essential medications and treatment for virus-infected patients in accordance with the diagnostic plans approved by specialist doctors.
He also stated that the contributions made by the pharmaceutical assist in quick recoveries such that patients have to go through shorter hospital stays. Additionally, SEHA has been stepping up efforts to provide an opportunity for pharmacists through which they can utilise their clinical experience in facilitating advancement of medical and academic scientific research. At the same time, their clinical experience will help in improving and contributing to the latest developments in the field of drug administration and therapy.
He also shared the details related to the Smart Pharmacy Application at SEHA facilities, which has helped in achieving major breakthroughs. The application was launched at the beginning of 2020 and since then two million medications were dispensed for treatments of the patients. Telemedicine and delivery of pre-dispensed prescriptions have benefitted 40,000 patients across the country.
Dr. Al Yafei asserted that the pharmaceutical teams have been working hard in preparing necessary medications, delivering them to patients’ residences, and remotely following up with them in the process. Moreover, pharmacists have also played a crucial role in promoting drug education and safeguarding the interests of patients in accordance with international health standards and measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Khulood Jamal bin Rafee, Director of Tawam Hospital’s Pharmacology department, stated that exceptional efforts have been made by the pharmaceutical staff of the hospital in securing medication for all patients, which includes all those admitted to the hospital, in outpatient clinics and even those receiving home medications. After Al Ain Hospital was dedicated to COVID-19 treatment, Tawam hospital witnessed scores of patients visiting the facilities for treatment. Al-Ain Hospital's outpatients were also referred to Tawam Hospital which resulted in an increase in the number of patients visiting the facilities as well as the demand for medications.
Adding to their remarks, Aisha Ibrahim Yaqeib, Manager of Pharmacy at SEHA, stated that the pharmaceutical teams have played an integral role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in coordination with other frontline workers. Besides providing drugs and dosages according to a doctor's diagnostic plan, pharmacist’s responsibilities also include reviewing all medical prescriptions to make sure that the medications are appropriate according to the conditions of the patients.
Pharmacists and clinical pharmacists also contribute to disease management by regular monitoring and improving drug therapy as they work in collaboration with doctors and other medical staff in facilitating the best possible treatment for the patients. She also remarked that the pharmaceutical staff has ensured that treatment plans or delivery of medication at hospitals or clinics are not hindered due to the COVID-19 crisis, adding that the staff has assisted in maintaining the medical supply chain operations from warehouses to hospitals and clinics.
Dr. Amna Al Amri, Director of the Corniche Hospital pharmacy, affirmed that the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist in securing public health care have increased with the COVID-19 outbreak amid challenges related to shortage of medicines and medical supplies.
In a bid to eliminate the challenges, the pharmaceutical team partnered with medical teams curtail the harmful effects of such drugs that are currently under clinical trials but are being used in global treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19. Pharmacists help in ensuring the safety of patients by monitoring and reviewing the results of liver and kidney tests such that correct medications are provided to every patients individually according to their health.