The workshop which was facilitated by resource persons from the Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) occurred at the Sonia hotel in East Legon. The facilitators were Mr. Joseph Y. Bernie Bennie, Chief Regulatory Officer and Mr. Daniel K. Kally, principal regulatory officer at the FDA.
The workshop was aimed at building the competency of community pharmacists in the administration of validated and approved COVID-19 screening tools to identify probable cases, biosecurity and biosafety, sample collection and processing, antigen testing, as well as data management and reporting.
In all, 75 community pharmacists have received training and will soon be certified to screen and test for COVID-19 in their pharmacies.
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 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 accessibility of the tests.
In view of the above, the PSGH, with 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 deployment of screening and Ag-RDT through the community pharmacy network.
Once the training is complete, it is expected that trained and certified pharmacists will be providing screening and testing services in accredited facilities. It may be recalled that the President Sam Donkoh-led PSGH, already worked with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to develop guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for testing in Pharmacies.