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Coronavirus, Pandemics, Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical associations;, Syria, Iraq
Objectives: To assess pharmacists from Syria and Iraq on their knowledge, readiness, and perspectives on their roles during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to investigate pharmacists’ perceived barriers towards delivering their emergency roles during the COVID-19 pandemic and perceived policymakers’ responsibilities. Methods: This cross-sectional study design was conducted in Iraq and Syria during COVID-19 outbreak over one month (April 2020). The study objectives were addressed through a validated online questionnaire. Data was analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS). Results: A total of 916 individuals participated in this study (447 from Iraq and 439 from Syria). Most of Iraqi participants were students while most of Syrian participants were graduates and technicians. The mean age for the Iraqi participants was 22.5 (SD= 4.1) while the mean age for the Syrian participants was 28.7 (SD= 9.1). A significant difference (p< 0.001) was found in following the latest coronavirus updates on management among pharmacy graduates and technicians and undergraduate students. Media was reported as the most used source for knowledge about epidemics/ pandemics among the Iraqi and the Syrian participants. Around 72% strongly agreed/agreed that the faculties of pharmacy have a role in preparing them to deal with epidemics/pandemics. In addition, 64.3% strongly agreed/agreed that pharmacist associations and societies have a role in preparing them to deal with epidemics/pandemics such as the coronavirus. Moreover, 82.9% believed that pharmacists should receive training programs on how to provide mental health support for people during epidemic and pandemic outbreaks. Conclusion: Tertiary pharmacy education providers and pharmacy professional bodies have a strong role in preparing pharmacists to deal with pandemics. Therefore, the importance of providing beforehand training programs on epidemics/pandemics management, workshops, lectures, and online information resources for such circumstances is crucial for pharmacists.
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