Medicine Counter Assistants seek recognition

The Western Regional branch of the Association of Medical Counter Assistants Ghana (AMCAG), on Tuesday called for an amendment of the National Drug policy on medicine dispensation to ensure quality health care delivery.

This is contained in a statement issued in Takoradi by the Regional Vice Chairperson of AMCAG, Mr Stephen Dankyi and copied to the Ghana News Agency.

The statement stated that the Pharmacy Act, (Act 489) is silent on who qualifies to dispense counter medicines.

It said the National Drug Policy says “Medicines shall only be dispensed by persons authorised by the appropriate authority to do so”.

Mr Dankyi indicated that the association is seeking the clarification of the policy, adding: “What is the appropriate authority and who are the persons authorised?’”

He said clarification of the issue would help to eliminate the employment of untrained personnel on the job and reduce the underemployment situation of trained medicine counter assistants at pharmacies and chemical shops.

The research noted that engagement of unqualified persons such as the relatives of chemical shop owners to the neglect of trained members has the possibility of putting the lives of the public in danger through wrongful medication.

Meanwhile, a research conducted by the Kraspect Institute of Professional Studies and funded by Busac Fund to determine the employment situation of Medicine Counter Assistants (MCAs) indicated that the MCAs are given less recognition resulting in their low employment rate.

Mr Dankyi explained that the research showed that proprietors of pharmacies and licensed chemical shops do not employ MCAs.

According to the findings, proprietors of pharmacies and chemical shops gave the high amount of money to be paid as remuneration for MCAs as the reason for engaging the services of relatives and friends at the expense of those who have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge.

The statement said the placement of MCAs for internship has not been supported by most pharmacies because pharmacists are not in support of the policy due to poor remuneration.

It pointed out that the research recommends that the pharmacy Council must enforce the policy which requires that MCAs should have the minimum qualification to work in a pharmaceutical care industry.

The statement said the findings recommended that the engagement of MCAs should be made mandatory by the National Health Insurance Authority and strictly adhered to and enforced.

It called on the Pharmacy Council to set a deadline for all facilities offering pharmaceutical care services to have trained medicine counter assistants. GNA

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