Adaptive Changes in the Working Environment of Community Pharmacists during the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Kano Metropolis, North-Western Nigeria.
Keywords:Community pharmacy, Community pharmacist, Work environment, Kano-metropolis, COVID-19
Background: Rapid spread of COVID-19 and the resultant strict access to conventional hospitals forced the public to turn to community pharmacies being the most accessible points of primary healthcare, thus overloading the pharmacy services. This study aims to assess the coping strategies and adaptive changes in the work environment of community pharmacists in Kano Metropolis, NorthWestern Nigeria during the lockdown periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was carried out across selected community pharmacies within Kano Metropolis, North-Western Nigeria. A non-probability (convenience) sampling was used in this study. Convenience sampling also known as availability sampling, here units are selected for inclusion in the sample because they are easiest for the researcher to access. The survey retrieved relevant data from the participants, including socio-demographic data and changes in the work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown periods. Data were analysed using IBM SPSS version 23.0.
Results: A total of 97 licensed pharmacists responded to the survey. Majority of the pharmacists (73.2%) reported increased workload, caused mostly by more prescriptions, and higher demand for safety equipment, antiseptics, and disinfectants. Moreso, 79.4%, reported higher stress levels during the pandemic as compared to the pre-pandemic era. About 89.9% of participants reported adjusting
their working conditions to include the use of facemasks as protective equipment which is available in sufficient quantities as reported by 61.9% of pharmacists. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns aroused concerns in the majority of participants (90.7%) for their health and that of their families. This prompted majority of the community pharmacists (92.7%) to suggest that pharmacists should be
authorized to independently renew prescriptions of patients with stable chronic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, 91.8% supported the idea that pharmacists should be authorized to participate in the COVID-19 immunization process to widen coverage.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increased workload and altered working conditions of community pharmacists in Kano metropolis of North-Western Nigeria. This prompted pharmacists to professionally re-strategize to accommodate such an increased workload despite being frontline healthcare providers in the healthcare system.
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