Pharmacists well placed to support female caregivers

Ema Paulino (FIP)

A new report explores ways in which pharmacists can support the health needs of women who act as informal caregivers and play a “crucial and unappreciated role in providing healthcare to families and communities”.

The report was developed by the International Pharmaceutical Federation's (FIP) working group on Women and the Responsible Use of Medicines, and was launched at the FIP Congress in Glasgow on Monday 3 September.

Women contribute around USD $3 trillion to global healthcare, but almost half of this is unpaid and unrecognised, the report says, with many providing informal care for a loved one.

As “the most accessible healthcare professionals”, pharmacists should “support women in these emerging role”, the report says, both because this can ensure caregivers handle medicines safely and correctly, and because caregiving can have a negative impact on women if they are not supported.

Ema Paulino, chair of the working group and FIP professional secretary, said: “Possibilities to contribute to women and responsible use of medicines is a relatively unexplored territory that pharmacists and their organisations are encouraged to look into.”

“Pharmacists can be more active in supporting these women not only to ensure the responsible use of medicines for their families but also in making sure that they look after their own health needs; we know that caregiving can have negative effects on health and that women caregivers can neglect their own health.”

The report also summarises the global policies related to women and health, and gives an overview of health risks for women. “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of this report is to enable pharmacists to bring about positive change in this area. It can be used as a basis for developing targeted interventions,” Ms Paulino added.

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