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QU’s MSc graduate sheds light on the readiness of community pharmacist to manage common minor ailments effectively and safely in Qatar | Qatar University

QU’s MSc graduate sheds light on the readiness of community pharmacist to manage common minor ailments effectively and safely in Qatar

2021-04-22 00:00:00.0

Qatar University’s College of Pharmacy (QU-CPH) MSc student Ahmed Ashraf Makhlouf has recently successfully completed the oral defense of his MSc thesis titled “Community pharmacists’ self-perceived competency, and enablers and barriers towards the management of common minor ailments in Qatar”.

The MSc project was supervised by QU-CPH Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice Dr. Kazeem Yusuff and QU-CPH Professor of Social and Administrative Pharmacy Dr. Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim.

The MSc project was a two-phase cross-sectional assessment of the self-perceived competency of community pharmacists working in independent and chain pharmacies in Qatar to manage common minor ailments. In addition, the factors that may enhance or impede community pharmacists’ capacity to manage common minor ailments effectively and safely in Qatar were also investigated.

Minor ailments are uncomplicated medical conditions that are commonly encountered by community pharmacists, and have become a major source of clinical and financial burden especially in primary, tertiary and emergency care settings. Key findings of the study: Of the 14 minor ailments commonly encountered in Qatar, community pharmacists’ self-perceived competency was highest for constipation and colds/catarrh.

The competency elements with the highest score were recommendation of over-the-counter medicines and provision of instructions to guide its use, while the ability to differentiate minor ailments from other serious diseases was the lowest. Female community pharmacists and working for chain pharmacies were the significant predictors of higher self-perceived competency. Customers’ trust, physicians’ support, and the strategic focus of the Qatar National Health Strategy on community pharmacists’ to expand access to functional healthcare services at the primary care level were the major enabling factors identified. Inadequate private counselling space in community pharmacies was a key self-perceived barrier.

The study has provided important insights that will be crucial to developing appropriate institutional framework that will guide the ceding of the task of managing minor ailments to a primary care professional such as community pharmacists in Qatar. He noted that this is more likely to ensure that such a policy change is fit-for-purpose, meet societal needs, enhances effective service delivery and achieves positive outcomes in Qatar.

Ahmed Makhlouf noted that: ‘a comprehensive assessment of community pharmacists’ self-perceived competency to manage commonly encountered minor ailments in Qatar is crucial to determining their readiness to key into the integrated primary healthcare focus of the Qatar National Health Strategy 2018-2022’.

Dr. Kazeem Yusuff stated that Ahmed’s zeal and impressive commitment to outstanding excellence were pivotal to the successful completion of the project. The valuable insights provided for the first time by the MSc project will be useful in identifying appropriate interventions that could improve the readiness of community pharmacists to take over the task of managing minor ailments in Qatar’.

He noted that ‘the potential benefits associated with ceding the task of managing minor ailments to community pharmacists include reduction of the clinical and financial burden associated with minor ailments; more efficient use of healthcare resources, as physicians will focus on more serious medical conditions; and reduction in patient load and waiting time especially at public health facilities’.

Dr. Fatima Mraiche, Section of Head of Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Pharmacy-QU highlighted that this unique research project was based on collaboration between community pharmacy and QU-CPH and that such collaboration is sure to contribute to enhanced pharmacy care in Qatar.

Related Files
  • Qatar University’s College of Pharmacy (QU-CPH) MSc student Ahmed Ashraf Makhlouf