The potential for pharmacists to support women in their often-overlooked role as informal caregivers is the focus of a new report published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).

Health systems rely heavily on unpaid and informal work that disproportionately falls to women, and because of the multifaceted role that these informal caregivers play, they need a range of support services to improve their care giving skills, the working group concluded. 

As the most accessible healthcare professionals, pharmacists are in an ideal position to empower women in these roles, to communicate to women the need to be well informed about health and medicines, and to support health literacy, the report says. 

The report contains examples of how pharmacists in different countries are supporting women caregivers found through a survey conducted by the working group. However, the findings also indicated that the number of initiatives targeting women is limited.

“Pharmacists can be more active in supporting these women, not only to ensure the responsible use of medicines for their families, but also in making sure that they look after their own health needs. We know that care giving can have negative effects on health and that women care givers can neglect their own health,” said Ema Paulino, chair of the working group and FIP Professional Secretary. 
The Empowering Informal Caregivers report was developed by FIP’s Working Group on Women and the Responsible Use of Medicines and can be downloaded here.

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