ecancer: The increasing importance of cancer control in Africa (12) Community pharmacies and prevention/screening for cancer

1 August, 2019


I appreciate the contribution of the various stakeholders in the war against cancer. This is indeed an elephant and everyone can see it from there own perspective, which is okay because together, we can tackle the whole elephant. i.e cancer epidemic.

I would more focus on stopping the water (cancer) flowing from the faucet (tap), and invest more in prevention. One of my proposed ways of doing this is to use the area with the highest visits in terms of patient or customer visits.. easily is the retail or community pharmacy. Evidence shows that it is a resource well trusted by many and in some countries in the developed world, where pharmacy practice is more stringently regulated and practiced.. generates even higher confidence than clinicians. In LMICs, I would be surprised to find high confidence levels as well, based on my own personal experiences working in the community pharmacy sector.

The daily visits by people to pharmacies overshadows that to any clinic or hospital. I believe well structured screening, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies initiated and coordinated from here would yield superior results.

Of course a multidisciplinary approach will have to be maintained through out. This approach would also be used for other Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Innovation and creativity will then go a long way in making screening easy to access; encourage dialogue with the healthcare provider and encourage other family, colleagues and communities in the regions of the chemists to attend regular screening.

HIFA profile: Anthony is the Head of Pharmacy Services at Kenyatta University in Kenya. Professional interests: Evidence based pharmacotherapy, Operations research, Drugs and Therapeutics Committees and Medicines Selection, Rational Medicines Use, and Supply chain Management. kamaupharm AT