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Pandemic preparedness of community pharmacies for COVID-19

Bahlol, Mohamed; Dewey, Rebecca Susan


Mohamed Bahlol


© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Background: Community pharmacies provide an important healthcare service, which is broadly established, and constitutes the preferred and initial contact for members of the community. The significant value of community pharmacies was further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Objective: The assessment of community pharmacies preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional interview survey of 1018 community pharmacies working in four regions of Egypt (South, East, Centre, and North). Data collection was conducted from 8–19 April 2020. Results: Availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medication was better than alcohol (70% conc.). Home delivery services were available in 49.1% of pharmacies. Infection control measures covering interactions between staff were in place in up to 99.5% of pharmacies. Conversely, there was less frequent availability of contactless payment (29.1%), hand sanitizers (62.1%) or masks (86.5%) for customer use, or a separate area for patients with suspected COVID-19 (64%). Verbal customer education (90.4%) was used preferably to written (81.3%). Despite high clinical knowledge and awareness (97.6%–99.2%), only 8.8% of pharmacists had reported suspected COVID-19 cases, however this varied significantly with pharmacist demographics (geographic region P < 0.001; pandemic training p < 0.001; position p = 0.019; age p = 0.046).

Conclusions: Government and policymakers strive to mitigate the shortage of PPE and medication. More attention should be given to infection control measures around interactions between staff and customers to ensure community pharmacists are fit and able to provide continuity in their important role. Educating customers using regularly-updated posters, banners or signs will contribute to decreasing contact with patients, and reducing the number and duration of visits to the pharmacy. Pandemic preparedness of community pharmacists must also extend to reporting procedures. By avoiding under-reporting or over-reporting, community pharmacists will contribute to accurate monitoring of the national spread of infection.


Bahlol, M., & Dewey, R. S. (2021). Pandemic preparedness of community pharmacies for COVID-19. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 17(1), 1888-1896.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 7, 2020
Online Publication Date May 11, 2020
Publication Date 2021-01
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 12, 2021
Journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Print ISSN 1551-7411
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 1888-1896
Keywords Pharmaceutical Science; Pharmacy
Public URL
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