Background: The coronavirus infection (COVID-19) was declared in January 2020 as a public health emergency of international concern. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA), like other parts of the world, suffered from several epidemics over the years. Pharmacists have vital roles to play to prevent the spread of this virus. Objectives: To assess the awareness of COVID-19 amongst pharmacists from countries located in the MENA countries, and to assess their perspectives of their role, barriers, and roles of the educational institutions and pharmaceutical associations in preparing them for their roles during the pandemic. Methods: An online survey was conducted to run a descriptive cross-sectional study in Jordan from 12th to 22th April 2020. The questionnaire was validated and put on Facebook for pharmacists’ recruitment and assessment of their awareness (20 questions with a score out of 20) about epidemics/pandemics and COVID-19, their perceived roles and barriers, and roles of the educational institutions and pharmaceutical associations. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS). Results: Study participants (n= 2589) had a mean age of 29.3 (8.2) years and 1329 (51.5%) were females. Most of the participants were from Egypt 819 (40.8%), Followed by Jordan, Algeria, and Syria. As for the sources of information about coronavirus treatment among the study participants, 60.8% got their information from the social media. Fear as a consequence was identified by the majority of participants (87.7%). The majority of pharmacists identified positive roles for the pharmaceutical association and pharmaceutical associations. Conclusion: Pharmacists from the MENA countries believe they got enough education previously about epidemics/pandemics, and the majority follow on the latest coronavirus updates from social media. Fear was reported as the major barrier that requires resolution by the policymakers. Certain gaps in the awareness about COVID-19 were identified.
Novel Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to sweep various nations causing more than 4.5 million confirmed cases and close to 300,000 deaths. Current pharmacotherapy largely fall short of controlling the pandemic. In this letter, we critically appraise the hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin regimen recommended by Gautret et al and provide rationale for new treatments.
Rational: In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus infectious disease as a pandemic referred to as COVID-19. As an essential service, community pharmacists have been enacting a key role in patient counseling and supply of essential medicines and protective equipment. Objectives: To investigate pharmacists’ perspectives of the role of educational institutes and professional pharmacy organizations in supporting them to take on roles during COVID-19 pandemic and to identify barriers to be able to support themselves and their patients. Methods: This descriptive mixed-method study was conducted via a cross-sectional online survey distributed to pharmacists/pharmacy students in Jordan during the COVID-19 outbreak (15-30 March 2020) using an online questionnaire, followed by an online focus group. Questionnaire items related to participants’ perspectives in being prepared for and supported in their roles during the COVID-19 pandemic and items were tested for face validity. Data were descriptively analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences and triangulated with focus group findings. Results: Considering that fear and anxiety are a consequence of mass social distancing/quarantine, study participants (n=726, age=26.9 (SD=8.0) years, 71.9% females), reported needing training on mental healthcare to be able to support themselves and people during pandemics (90.2%). Most respondents agreed/strongly agreed (59.7%) with the statement around pharmacy educators/educational institutes having a key role in preparing pharmacists for practice during epidemics/pandemics, and agreed that their faculties should add a course regarding pandemic preparedness in their curriculum (89.9%). Results were similar regarding roles for the pharmaceutical associations. Focus group findings (n=7) mirrored the survey findings to a large extent. Conclusions: Most participants believed that Pharmacy Educators and pharmaceutical associations have a role in preparing them to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic through online educational workshops/webinars. Online education on mental healthcare is specifically needed.
Early detection of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) in pregnant females starts by a request of the gynecologists, which is based on their knowledge and awareness of the guidelines on conducting these tests. This is an observational cross-sectional study that investigated the gynecologists’ knowledge, attitude and practice regarding HBV during pregnancy across Jordan. A random sample of 150 gynecologists were approached, from 3 major cities in Jordan, and asked to fill a questionnaire that assessed their knowledge, attitude and practice. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS. One hundred and seven gynecologists have participated in the study. Most of the respondents were females, residents, and less than thirty years old. Although 97.2% of the practitioners agreed on the importance of the pregnant females on HBV, only 43% were aware of the obligatory protocol in Jordan regarding HBV screening, and only 55% would screen the pregnant females to HBV in-practice. Significant association was found between screening rates to HBV and both, level of specialty and experience of practitioners. Approximately 60% of practitioners were aware of HBV perinatal transmission risk. Only 19.6% always referred the infected pregnant females to other specialists regardless of the viral load. While 47.7% of practitioners agreed on recommending antiviral therapy for third trimester pregnant females, only 12.1% would always/often prescribe them. A noteworthy lack of Hepatitis B knowledge and screening practice among gynecologists in Jordan have been observed. A national program designed to increase the awareness of HBV testing in Jordan for both patients and gynecologists is called for.