TANZANIA NATIONAL PHARMACY WEEK

Tanzania National Pharmacy Week, officially was launched in June 2012, by the minister of Health by then Honorable Hussein Mwinyi, in Dar Es Salaam. This event is then commemorated every year, with different themes as may be determined by the Pharmacy professionals, this year, we all “Go Green through Pharmacist”. Different health related problems, including microbial resistance which is the most prevailing health problem, is also contributed by improper disposal of unfit and expired medicines. Pharmaceutical Society of Tanzania is taking big initiatives to conduct a mass disposal of unwanted health commodities from households to dispensaries, hospitals, other health facilities and distributors of pharmaceuticals.

Residential, commercial, and agricultural pharmaceuticals mainly follow two primary pathways to the environment;

1.Excretion: Human and livestock excretion of drugs and metabolites following consumption, ultimately follows sewage, septic, or surface runoff pathways to wastewater or to biosolids.

2.Direct disposal: Disposal of unused pharmaceuticals to septic tank, sewer or landfill

If disposed of or excreted to the sewer, pharmaceuticals are sent to wastewater treatment plants that offer primary, secondary, or tertiary treatment levels. Regardless of the level of treatment, most conventional wastewater treatment cannot effectively eliminate pharmaceutical compounds.

Landfill leachate can contain trace amounts of pharmaceuticals as well. Often this leachate is sent to the same wastewater treatment systems that receive residential wastewater. Pharmaceuticals have been detected in landfill leachate, so disposal of pharmaceuticals at engineered landfills may merely postpone pollution of surface water and groundwater.

Establishing good practices for proper handling and disposal of health care waste is an important part of the health care delivery system. Expired medicines and other unwanted health commodities require specific attention from health care workers in order to ensure that the waste is disposed of in a safe, effective manner that does not harm the environment.

The fact that medicines are crucial tools to prevent or treat diseases, but there is growing evidence that residuals of pharmaceuticals can also be found in the water, atmosphere or soil, with possibly negative impact on the environment and health. Similarly activities associated with the research, development, production, distribution and dispensing of medicines may also have an impact on the environment.

These impact are influenced by changes observed globally in population demographics, migrations and urbanization among others.

In response to the to the government efforts to protect the environment, the Pharmaceutical Society of Tanzania (PST) together with other stakeholders takes the initiative to advocate for the campaign of safe disposal of unwanted Pharmaceutical products.

Disposal of unwanted heath commodities at the community level has been spotted as the challenge which exposes households in Tanzania to an unsafe environment by dumping medical wastes or any unwanted health commodities hence endangering the environment and health. These illegal and harmful ways of disposing unwanted health commodities has unknowingly resulted into extreme forms of hazardous waste which endangers the lives of the people.

ROLE OF PHARMACIST

At this point, it is important that pharmacists accept professional responsibility for the entire medicines-use process and take responsibility for mitigating the environmental risk of the medicines for which we are responsible. This responsibility extends across the entire medicines-use continuum, from manufacturing and distribution, prescribing, dispensing, pharmaceutical care, forecasting need to reduce waste, disposal of unused medicines and, ultimately, to the reduction in the discharge of metabolic waste into the environment. In all countries, regardless of place of employment or practice, pharmacists should seek to change the medicines-use process so as to minimize the adverse environmental effects of medicines and related activities.

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