Dear Pharmacist in Community Practice, my name is Kenechukwu Ujam, a Public Health Pharmacist with Medplus Pharmacy Limited. With the recent developments, it has become imperative that we adopt the best proactive measures for combating the nCovid-19.
No longer should we consider sneezing and runny nose as simply possible signs of allergies, now more than ever we must see fever and malaise beyond a possible sign of an ensuing malaria, dry cough or cough of any kind must be approached with the best possible carefulness. Our country is ours and we must protect it, we can’t all resign and go home and hide, the war has come to our front, and we must fight it.
Here are my recommendations:
1. An infrared thermometer should be handled by the security at the entrance (who would be well kitted with the appropriate PPE to protect himself too), any spike in temperature should be queried as appropriate. It might not be Covid but we won’t know if we don’t ask the right questions. Questions like : how long, when and where have you been within the past 2 months, any other symptoms, any medications already on etc. This should be the first line.
2. Everyone who walks in must have their hands sanitized, regardless of whether they have a fever or not
3. We must all maintain a healthy distance between us and the client, the recommendation is 5 ft. However, we know how much we must respect the client’s confidentiality , since people wouldn’t be comfortable yelling “I have an intense itch in my vagina” at the top of their lungs. This is why you need a mask, this way, you can at least have some protection even if the client insists on coming close.
4. Keep your hands to yourself. If you must “take a closer look” at anything, actually use your eyes and keep your hands out of it. Or you get a glove, this goes without saying.
5. No more high fives for now. I am sorry kids but a wink will do.
6. Where it is possible, we can practice window dispensing but where it isn’t, take the appropriate measures to protect yourself.
7. In addition, let us do everything within the ambits of common sense, a man who has been trekking in the hot sun is expected to have a fever, so, once he walks in and his temperature flags off, give him a seat and test him again after 15 minutes. Also bear in mind that someone could have all these symptoms and still test negative for the Covid-19, so it is not in your place to label s/one a Covid-19 patient or carrier. REFER to appropriate institutions! DO NOT TRY TO MANAGE/TREAT IT PLEASE!!!
8. You’re a superhero, we know. But there’s one thing which I believe to be more honourable than dying in the line of service, it is staying alive to save more people through your services. Whatever you do, know your limits, do not put yourself at unnecessary risk!
9. Finally, do not panic!!! We (the Nigerian Health Workforce) defeated Ebola, we would also defeat Corona! But we have to be patient and careful in our approach. Alright superheroes, dorn your capes and get going, we have lives to save!
There is a company in Nigeria, the name is Cross shield Health Consulting ( a new organization birthed by the need to protect our people from these pandemics, the aim of which is to train individuals and corporate bodies on the best proactive approaches to adopt in cases like the Covid-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019)). They have professionals who are experienced in infections disease prevention and Management. One of the co-founders worked in the management and prevention of Ebola in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. You can reach them via: email@example.com
Above are my recommendations and it should only serve as that, it should neither replace nor supersede that of the CDC or the WHO, they have the final say! You can contact them on ncdc.gov.ng