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P.E.I. pharmacists eager to improve access to women’s health care

P.E.I. Pharmacists Association
P.E.I. Pharmacists Association - Google
STRATFORD, P.E.I. —

P.E.I. pharmacists could be doing more, including improving access to women’s health-care services, said the executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association.

Erin MacKenzie said there are a couple of ways pharmacists could help out.

“Two areas that come to mind, that are already occurring in neighbouring provinces, are pharmacist assessment and prescribing for uncomplicated urinary tract infections and for contraceptive needs.”

“Two areas that come to mind, that are already occurring in neighbouring provinces, are pharmacist assessment and prescribing for uncomplicated urinary tract infections and for contraceptive needs.”

- Erin MacKenzie

Uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the top five reasons people go to emergency rooms across Canada. An estimated 60 per cent of women will experience one in their lifetime.

A 2018 study conducted in New Brunswick has found that patients with uncomplicated UTIs can be safely and quickly treated through pharmacists alone which, in the study's author’s opinion, would improve access to treatment for women while helping to unburden the country's health-care system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified an “unmet need for family planning and contraception”. Even in the developed world, in Canada, women continue to select methods of birth control that are medically determined to be less effective.

Often, this is due to health policies that limit access to contraceptives.

In fact, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) reported that 61 per cent of Canadian women have an “unintended” pregnancy, and concluded it is “feasible and safe” for pharmacists to provide contraception and family planning services to Canadian women.

The P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women agrees and said allowing pharmacists to prescribe for urinary tract infections and contraception will reduce unnecessary barriers to accessing these services.

Both organizations are eager to see legislative change that will allow for pharmacists to be part of the solution to ensuring accessible and equitable health care to Island women.

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