สำนักงานหลักประกันสุขภาพแห่งชาติ (สปสช.)
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News And Events

Engage pharmacies in improving health system
 

 

BANGKOK—Pharmacy operators in Bangkok are encouraged to run health education and disease prevention activities as parts of the National Health Security Office (NHSO)’s project, aiming to broaden the roles of pharmacies in improving healthcare system.

NHSO in collaboration with the Pharmacy Council of Thailand have recently launched a project called ‘the warm-service community pharmacy’ that calls pharmacy operators to initiate health education and disease prevention activities.

The operators will get incentives to run five activities; testing hypertension and diabetes, home visit, patient counseling for rational drug use, smoking cessation and family planning.

Currently, 30 pharmacy operators have joined the project. The NHSO set a target to involve at least 300 operators and expand the project's coverage area to the provinces.

“Pharmacists are the gateways to health knowledge. If we can engage them in health education and disease prevention activities, many patients will not need to end up at hospitals,” said Jadej Thammatacharee, NHSO Deputy Secretary.

He cited an academic survey, saying that 65 percent of Thai population don’t access health promotion and disease prevention programs. Around 20 percent of people feeling sick choose to go to pharmacies instead of hospitals because they don’t want to be stuck in long waiting hours.

These statistics show that pharmacies are one of the patients’ priority choices. They also acquire high potentials to act as frontline health units that prevent risks and improve health compliances.  

“Irrational and inappropriate drug use is a big problem,” said Jiraporn Limpananon, Chairman of the Pharmacy Council of Thailand.

“With the pharmacists’ advice, patients will be aware of proper medication use. They will gain the knowledge to take care of their health, which in return will prevent the unnecessary cost." 

Irrational use of medicines can lead to adverse effects and high-cost health problems including increasing incidence rate of kidney disease and antibiotic resistance. 

Without close monitoring, many patients stop taking their medications because they receive too many prescribed medicines and have high dosing frequency. They end up piling up their medicines at home. The monetary loss from these unused drugs is estimated at two billion baht a year.  

“We want to bring patients and pharmacists closer,” said Rungpetch Sakulbumrungsil, Dean of Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Chulalongkorn University. “Integrating pharmacies into health system will offer large advantages to patients. It will make healthcare system more comprehensive and accessible.”