Primary health care policy and vision for community pharmacy and pharmacists in Indonesia
The practice of community pharmacy in low and middle-income countries, including in Indonesia, is often described as in the state of infancy with several intractable barriers that have been substantially and continuously hampering the practice. Such description might be valid in highlighting how pharmacy is practiced and the conditions within and beyond community pharmacy organizations. Therefore, it is not surprising that the concept of integrating community pharmacy into the primary care system may not be considered in the contemporary discourse despite the fact that community pharmacy has been operating within communities for years. However, in the case of Indonesia, we argue that changes in the health care system within the past decade particularly with the introduction of the universal health coverage (UHC) in 2014, may have significantly amplified the role of pharmacists. There is good evidence which highlights the contribution of pharmacist as a substantial health care element in primary care practice. The initiative for employing pharmacist, identified in this article as primary care pharmacist, in the setting of community health center [puskesmas] and the introduction of affiliated or contracted community pharmacy under the UHC have enabled pharmacist to work together with other primary care providers. Moreover, government agenda under the “Smart Use of Medicines” program [Gema Cermat] recognizes pharmacists as the agent of change for improving the rational use of medicines in the community. Community pharmacy is developing, albeit slowly, and is able to grasp a novel position to deliver pharmacy-related primary care services to the general public through new services, for example drug monitoring and home care. Nevertheless, integrating community pharmacy into primary care is relatively a new notion in the Indonesian setting, and is a challenging process given the presence of barriers in the macro, meso- and micro-level of practice.
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