Roles of Pharmacists in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

According to data from Department of Statistics of Malaysia (DOSM), life expectancy of Malaysians at birth for the year 2020 are 72.6 years for males and 77.6 years for female respectively. This data shows a slight increment compared to data from year 2014. Females generally have a longer life expectancy than males.

Life expectancy can be affected by many factors including gender, genetics and access to healthcare, but the main reason is due to lifestyle choices. For people who practise a healthy lifestyle in their daily life, they are expected to live longer than those who practising sedentary lifestyle. How can pharmacists contribute to the issue to increase the longevity of Malaysians?

Firstly, pharmacists should collaborate with government in organising health promotion activities such as theme-oriented weeks whereby patients and general public are advised on the themes. Some examples of the themes include smoking cessation programmes, alcohol and drug abuse, immunisation programmes and sexual health. Secondly, pharmacists can provide clinical advices to include over-the-counter (OTC) relief that may help in reducing unnecessary visits among patients for certain common conditions.

Pharmacists play an integral role in promoting health and well-being, as well as providing preventive care for targeted disease states. Community should change their lifestyle to maintain body health but not depend solely on medicine. It is important to remember that prevention is always better than cure.