By Dr Carmen Peña, President, International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
All over the world, on Friday 25 September, pharmacists will celebrate World Pharmacists Day. This special day, now in its fifth year, was established by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP),the global federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, which is in official relations with the World Health Organization. Through our 132 member organisations, we represent over three million experts in medicines. September 25 was suggested by our Turkish members because it is the date that FIP came into existence in 1912.
The purpose of World Pharmacists Day is to encourage activities that promote and advocate for the role of the pharmacist in improving health in every corner of the world. This year’s theme, developed by FIP, is “Pharmacist(s): your partner(s) in health”.
Medicines must go hand in hand with pharmaceutical expertise, or in other words, with pharmacists. This partnership is essential to the responsible use of medicines. But other partnerships are also important. Every day three million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world act as partners to patients, other health care professionals and other scientists, as well as policymakers, with the shared vision of better health. The theme covers the provision of medicines and advice by hospital and community pharmacists but relates to all elements of the supply chain, including research and industry. Across the globe our profession is clearly demonstrating all the requirements of great partnerships; shared goals, commitment, vital skills and rapport, as well as the ability to have difficult talks and to overcome obstacles. We need to let people know this.
This year’s World Pharmacist Day can be used to highlight the confidence and close collaboration that pharmacists have with patients and other healthcare professionals. It also emphasises to policymakers the concept of pharmacists being providers of
solutions to governments through their services; a key tactical approach in FIP’s vision.
Partnership, in other words cooperation to ensure that the best possible quality of health care is provided to individuals and the community at large, is a component of FIP’s Model Oath for Pharmacists. The concept of interprofessional collaborative practice is also growing in the education and practice of healthcare professionals, as described by a World Health Professions Alliance statement.
On World Pharmacists Day 2014, huge efforts were made to communicate the message “Access to pharmacists is access to health”. A fantastic range of activities was organised, from mass deworming in Accra, Ghana, and giving blood at Sultan ul Uloom College of Pharmacy in Hyderabad, India, to pharmacist flashmobs in the Philippines and television interviews of pharmacists in Ireland. Official FIP resources to support World Pharmacists Day, including an inspirational album of some of last year’s activities, are available at www.fip.org/worldpharmacistsday.
I invite colleagues around the globe to celebrate our profession and its many partnerships this year, as well as to participate in other FIP activities throughout the year. Use World Pharmacists Day as an opportunity to promote to authorities, other professions and the media as well as to the general public, the valuable role we play — and could play — in bringing about great health for all.