In these challenging times, our pharmacists and pharmacy technical assistants have taken extraordinary measures that have made our whole organization very proud. We thank them for this.
In normal times, pharmacists and pharmacy technical assistants play a vital role in improving the health of their communities by preparing, checking and overseeing the medicine prescribed to patients. They also provide counsel about any side effects from medication and ensure the proper administration of complex medical treatments. In Eeyou Istchee, because of our distance from major urban centers, their presence is crucial to keep our people safe.
But during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, our pharmacists and pharmacy technical assistants have found themselves in the midst of an unforeseeable health care crisis and have had to take on very demanding extra responsibilities and work extremely hard to ensure the continuing safety of patients while we navigated through uncharted Covid-19 dangers. Their knowledge, ingenuity and deep commitment to the Cree people of Eeyou Istchee are still helping us daily to avoid unwanted situations, including shortages of medications. The pandemic also brought major changes in the safe handling of medication.
“We didn't even know at the beginning of the pandemic if Covid-19 could be transmitted through inert materials. In order to protect the Cree population, we had to quickly adjust the way we handled the incoming orders, and the returns of medication. We even had to put in ‘quarantine’ primary medical stocks coming from suppliers in the south, and secondary stocks coming from the Chisasibi hospital departments and from patients.” – Amelie Fortin, a CHB pharmacist and deputy to the chief pharmacist in Waskaganish
The pharmacies and the CMC’s had to implement delivery systems and pick-up services to avoid having people coming to the clinics for anything other than emergencies. The pharmacists also increased the stocks of critical Covid-19 medications in case the CBHSSJB had to manage Covid-19 emergencies in Eeyou Istchee. In addition, they planned and supervised the installation of physical barriers (such as plexiglass windows) in the pharmacies to minimize the contact with the patients.