EXPLORING PHARMACISTS’ ROLES AND BARRIERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH CENTERS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
Keywords:Roles; Barriers; Pharmacist; Public health centers; the COVID-19
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a tremendous effect on essential healthcare services, including public health centers (PHCs). Pharmacists had the responsibility of maintaining high-quality pharmacy services during this pandemic. The objective of this study was to explore pharmacists’ roles and barriers in PHCs while providing pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study used a qualitative design with a phenomenological approach. Ten pharmacists from PHCs in Indonesia were recruited using a non-probability sampling method and interviewed individually using an online platform (Zoom and Google Meet) or via telephone. Informants were purposefully recruited through recommendations by registered pharmacists in Indonesia. Two interviews were conducted for each informant with an interval of 1 month. Each interview was recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using an inductive thematic method. Member-checking and peer-debriefing were conducted to increase the credibility of the study. This study revealed changes in the managerial and clinical pharmacy aspects of pharmacists’ roles. Additional roles related to COVID-19 were also described. In performing these services, pharmacists faced some barriers, including the limited provision of direct services to patients, a decrease in the number of patients, dishonesty among patients, a lack of human resources in PHCs, difficulty in procuring medical products related to COVID-19, and a lack of information regarding COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 pandemic forced pharmacists in PHCs to adapt to various changes in pharmacy services, and support from stakeholders, including the government, patients, the pharmacists’ professional organization, and other health workers, is required to overcome the associated barriers.
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