BEIRUT—Pharmacists play a key role in educating refugees about their medicines and medical treatments, helping to reduce the incidence of communicable diseases, the misuse of antibiotics and other health problems, according to a recent study.
“The services provided by pharmacists have a positive impact on the outcome of treatment of refugee patients,” said Iman Amin Basheti, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Applied Science Private University in Jordan, who contributed to the study.
The study, conducted in 2016 and titled “Pharmacists in Humanitarian Crisis Settings,” looked at the situation of 106 Syrian refugees with chronic conditions living in three Jordanian cities: Amman, Mafraq and Zarqa.
The refugees in the study were randomly divided into two categories. The first was a group that received clinical pharmacological intervention—that is, a pharmacist provided consultation on their disease and medicines, and wrote recommendations to the doctors who followed up on the patients. The second was a control group that did not receive a similar service.
The results revealed a decrease in the rate of treatment-related problems and a decrease in the use of nonessential drugs among patients who received pharmacists’ services, compared to those in the control group. The results also showed that 83 percent of the physicians agreed with pharmacists’ recommendations, while more than 70 percent of patients in the intervention group expressed satisfaction with the home-delivered medication management.
This study provides important information, not only about the health of Syrian refugees but also about the central role that pharmacists can play in emergency situations, helping to reduce medical problems and lowering patients’ costs.
“Pharmacists are the health professionals who can be easily reached,” said Mohamed Ezzat Amin, an assistant professor at Beirut Arab University’s Faculty of Pharmacy, in Lebanon, who was not involved in the study. “The pharmacist can monitor, assess and adjust the use of medicines and prevent disease. He or she also contributes to the prevention of complications that may result from taking certain medications without consulting a specialist.”
More than 1.3 million Syrians, including 655 thousand registered refugees, are now living in Jordan, and many of them are facing severe financial hardships, according to the official Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis, 2018–2020, prepared by the Jordanian government in partnership with U.N. agencies and other organizations.