The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) is undertaking a project to build the capacity of community pharmacists in COVID-19 screening and testing services using antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests (Ag-RDT), so that they can support efforts aimed at improving access to COVID-19 testing, case detection and breaking transmission.

National guidelines for Ag-RDTs testing were first developed in March 2021 and operationalized in the third quarter of the same year. While the shift towards Ag-RDTs will lower barriers related to cost, ease of use, and turnaround times, critical interventions are needed to expand geographic access and cascade availability to the community level. One novel use case for Ag-RDTs involves deployment through the community pharmacy network which is aimed at increasing the accessibility of the tests.

In view of the above, the PSGH, with the support of the Global Fund, has scheduled to train community pharmacists in the hardest hit regions of Ashanti and Accra and integrate trained pharmacists and accredited pharmacies into the existing national COVID-19 testing channels by the deployment of screening and Ag-RDT through the community pharmacy network.

The first training workshop which was facilitated by resource persons from the Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) occurred at the Miklin Hotel in Kumasi on the 14th of October 2022. The facilitators were Mr. Joseph Y. Bernie Bennie, Chief Regulatory Officer and Mr. Daniel K. Kally, a principal regulatory officer at the FDA.

The workshop was a pilot aimed at building the competency of community pharmacists in the administration of validated and approved COVID-19 screening tools to identify probable cases.

The second phase of the training is scheduled to take place at Sonia hotel in Accra on Tuesday 18th October 2022.

Once the training is complete, it is expected that trained and certified pharmacists will be providing screening and testing services in accredited facilities. Weekly reports will be shared with the district health management of the Ghana Health Service. Positive Covid-19 cases for further confirmation by PCR tests will be shared daily. For such cases, clinical monitoring and management will be offered by the district Covid-19 teams.

It may be recalled that President Sam Donkoh-led PSGH, already worked with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to develop guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for testing in Pharmacies.

The occasion was graced by the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh, Executive Member, Pharm. Dr. Richmond Adusa-Poku, the Chairperson of the Strategic Plan Coordinating Committee, Pharm. Naana Aboagye-Asare, Dr. Emmanuel K. Ireland, CPPA Chairperson and the Deputy Executive Secretary, Pharm. Harry Amoaning Okyere.