A new era in community pharmacy – services to improve community health
Researchers in the “Improving health care delivery and medicines use” research group have recently rolled out a new screening service in selected community pharmacies in Sharjah and Dubai. To implement the screening service, the researchers received funding from the Harvard Medical School. The service aims to identify people at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or diabetes by conducting point-of-care tests and measurements. As part of this service, pharmacists also provide advice on healthy lifestyle. This helps prevent or delay the onset of these diseases, and improve the collective health of the UAE society.
To develop the screening service and tailor it to the local context of the UAE, the researchers worked in collaboration with key international experts from the University of Sidney and Deakin University, and with eminent local cardiologists, endocrinologists, and clinical pharmacists. In addition, the researchers conducted workshops and site visits to train the participating pharmacists in carrying out the study procedures and providing high quality counselling and care.
Community pharmacies are at the forefront of patient care, and research in developed countries has demonstrated that they are valuable platforms where screening and other healthcare services can be delivered by pharmacists, leading to significant improvements in patient and public health outcomes. As such, the researchers at the University have also conducted several studies to assess the current provision of services in community pharmacies in the UAE and to explore their capacity to deliver professional services beyond dispensing, to make a meaningful impact on public health