Quality (291) Improving quality of care at the facility level (35) Patient information (7)

23 August, 2021

Dear Venus an all,

In response to the question "How can we better meet the information needs of patients in low-resource settings?" you noted: 'Within the context of limited resource settings I think the best way to do this will be through integration of health information provision services into the service delivery model.

In a previous message you talked of your own experience, 'To address this information gap, at the private specialist oncology pharmacy l managed, we had to create a counselling room in which a dedicated member of staff took time to discuss patient questions and concerns.'

This is commendable, and I suspect exceptional. I would be interested to learn more about what information is available to customers of pharmacies in the public sector in different settings and countries. To what extent does the packaging of medicines meet people's information needs? What if the patient does not read or speak the language used on the packaging? In some cases medicines are sold without any packaging. What can pharmacies do to promote rational use of medicines in such situations? Presumably, as in Venus's pharmacy above, there is a need for the pharmacy staff to provide information orally, but what is the level of reliability of such information from staff who may be underqualified?

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org