The 34th Annual Convention of the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists brought into Grenada several delegates from across the Caribbean to engage in a discussion to find common solutions to issues that confront them.
The delegates met at the Radisson Grenada Grand Beach Resort from August 20- 24 under the theme, “Shaping the Future for Our Profession with One Mission and One voice.”
President of the Grenada Association of Pharmacists, Lydia Andrew-Duncan in delivering a key note address at the opening ceremony held last Wednesday said that the theme was rather timely.
“I am optimistic and prepared to already declare the goal for which we have set out under the theme, shaping the future of our profession with one mission and one voice a resounding success”, she told participants.
President of the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists, Yvonne Reid reminded delegates great things could be achieved but through teamwork.
“As a profession, our common goal could unite us, our strengths can only be assured and strengthened by strengthening the weakest link and ensuring that a united approach is used to meet and take the challenges, standards of practice, educational and regulatory issues and the ethical issues that need to be addressed,” she said.
“Why do we want to do this? First, to advance the profession of pharmacists in the Caribbean and secondly to improve the quality of care and service that we offer to the people of the Caribbean,” she added.
Minister of Health, Clarice Modeste-Curwen who delivered the feature address at the ceremony emphasized that pharmacists need to win the confidence of everybody.
She noted that the association is meeting at a time when a host of diseases is taking a toll on the quality of life of the people in the region and when every country is struggling to meet the financial demands for a better quality of life for their citizens.
Minister Modeste-Curwen called for continued education to ensure that the services provided by pharmacists to the public to remain current and relevant.
“How many of us look at the research, the drugs, the side effects, new drugs that come on the market, whether they’re better off or worst – we have to look at these things and also the issue of counterfeit drugs”, she told participants.
“At one time we had very few producers of pharmaceuticals, now we have so many varied producers of pharmaceuticals from all over the world and with our small island developing states we are very vulnerable because we do not each have the facility to test these drugs to determine their efficacy or the danger that they can present to our people,” she remarked.
According to the senior government minister, these small states are “financially challenged” and as such, “it is very easy to purchase a drug at a cheaper cost and anyone can fall prey to that so we need some watchdogs in the region who can come together with one model, one mission to assist us in determining the best drugs for our people and our region”.