Pharmacists unite to help fight COVID

May 18, 2020
Kevar Bennett
Kevar Bennett

The Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica has decided to extend its reach and will be distributing care packages to vulnerable groups across the island under the Jamaican Pharmacist CARE programme.

This is to aid those groups in the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevar Bennett, head of the programme, told THE STAR that the initiative was launched after members realised how difficult it was for some patients to stay afloat.

"Through my daily interactions and pharmacists on a whole, we have seen where some patients can't even afford their own medication anymore because of the hardship that they face," he said. "Since COVID-19 has hit our shores, we have recognised even more how desperately persons are in need of basic amenities, especially food."

200 care packages

The programme, which was launched on May 5, intends to distribute more than 200 care packages.

"The Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica will be collaborating with pharmacists, pharmacy owners, and corporate organisations across the island to put together care packages for some of the nation's most vulnerable populations," Bennett told THE STAR. "We have also asked those pharmacies that are participating to put up a CARE BIN in their pharmacy so persons can donate,"

"The groups that we are targeting are those that are often neglected and forgotten like the disabled communities, children's homes, and those at the infirmaries," he added

Inclusive of food items, hygiene products and toiletries, the packages will also have immune-boosting medications.

"The packages will have bottles of multivitamins and minerals to boost the immune system since we are dealing with the COVID-19 disease now, and persons need it," said Bennett.

Phase One of the programme will roll out in Kingston and St Andrew starting this weekend, "and (we) intend to take it across all parishes".

"This Labour Weekend, we will labour in love and care," Bennett told THE STAR.

Being just as essential as healthcare workers, Bennett said that he, along with other pharmacists, would continue to have their patients' interest at heart.

"Pharmacists continue to work on the front line on a daily basis, putting our lives at risk. Our patients are first as these services are needed more than ever," he said. "We also intend to continue the CARE programme even beyond COVID-19."

Persons may choose to donate by dropping off their contributions at any participating pharmacy across the island or donate in cash by depositing to the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica account: Sagicor Bank (Branch Liguanea), account number: 550 111 5322, transit number: 550113.

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