Safety and Security Guide For Setting A Retail Pharmacy in Ghana

The issue of safety and security is very important when it comes to operating a retail pharmacy but may also apply to the other types of pharmacy (wholesale, hospital, manufacturing etc). 

Therefore, the regulatory bodies (Pharmacy Council and Health Facilities Regulatory Agency) have come up with guidelines to maintain safety and security for all of such pharmacies.

It is therefore imperative to be aware of such guidelines when you intend to start a business like this. Check this post out if you want to know all the requirements to start a new retail pharmacy in Ghana.

The guidelines have been put into 12 different categories and are discussed as follows.

Structural Requirements

a. Unobstructed access to facility: The structure allocated for the business should be easily accessible to the general public. There shouldn’t be any form of obstruction to people trying to access it.

b. Easily accessible to the disabled and aged: You have to make provision for the aged and disabled. This means that if there is a need for a staircase, you have to mount one that is friendly to both the aged and disabled including wheelchair accessible pathways.

c. Parking area: There should be a designated parking lot for customers and patients using vehicles.

d. Roof, walls and ceiling must be intact without any leakages and cracks to limit the entry of small rodents and termites that can destroy products.

e. Windows and Doors for the facility should be intact with mosquito netting if necessary 

f. Outer wall 

g. Facilities for storage of outer garments and personal items away from work area 

h. Adequate working space 

i. Clear separation of different general areas (reception, retail, drug storage) 

j. Separation of storage room from dispensing areas 

k. Separate work and storage areas are provided within the facility for processes/procedures, administration tasks and associated paperwork/reference material. 

General Requirements

You have to also make provisions for the following general requirements depending on where your pharmacy will be situated and how it will be organized:

1. Non-slip floors 

2. Unobstructed walkways, paths and corridors 

3. Adequate illumination 

4. Adequate ventilation 

5. Signage 

a. Department/Unit Identification signs 

b. Directional signs 

c. Warning signs 

d. Health promotion posters 

e. Emergency evacuation diagram clearly displayed in all areas 

f. Entry and exit signs 

g. Hazard/safety signage on entrance/s clearly visible and contains information including: 

  1. Authorized access only 
  2. No food or drink allowed 
  3. Type of chemicals 
  4. Pharmacists details 

6. Hygiene and Sanitation 

a. Fairly distributed number of pedal operated dust bins

b. Means of decontamination of hands 

c. Signs for disposal of different types of waste 

d. Cleaning time tables for all rooms, offices and bathrooms 

7. Protective Clothing and Gear 

a. Gloves 

b. Covered shoes 

c. Protective laboratory coats 

8. Biohazards 

a. Procedures for handling, storage, treatment, transportation and disposal of waste (colour codes for different waste etc) 

b. Sharps disposal 

c. Consumables disposal 

d. Protocols and procedures for managing accidents with sharps 

e. Protocols and procedures for managing cross contamination 

9. Emergency 

a. Exit doors clearly marked and can be opened from inside (not padlocked) 

b. Exit doors unobstructed from inside and outside the building 

c. Fire equipment (fire blanket, extinguisher, hose reel) is accessible and clear of obstruction 

d. Fire equipment (fire blanket, extinguisher, hose reel) have been inspected/tagged within the last 6 months. 

e. Fire exit and escape (for structures 2 storey and above) clearly marked and devoid of obstruction 

f. Smoke detectors are working and clear of obstruction. 

g. A first aid kit is located in the near vicinity. 

10. Biosafety 

a. Procedures in place to account for all samples, reagents or materials 

b. Appropriate biosafety signage in storage rooms/vessels 

c. A supply of disinfectant for decontamination purposes available and clearly labelled 

d. Instructions for dilution of disinfectant clearly displayed e.g chlorine solution 

e. Diluted bleach stored away from heat and kept in light-proof containers with the preparation date displayed. 

f. All keyboards have protective covers. 

g. Protocols in place for safe storage, handling and transport of dangerous substances and of waste containing dangerous substances 

11. Biosecurity 

a. There is appropriate signage at the entrance to all areas. 

b. All samples, reagents, liquids are appropriately stored in appropriate storage vessels and clearly labelled 

c. Security arrangements are in place and various applicable areas have clearly marked restricted access 

d. Procedures are in place for the transport of materials 

e. All surfaces (including furniture) within the pharmacy are smooth, impermeable to water and resistant to any decontaminant materials. 

f. There are locks on fridges and freezers. 

g. There are appropriate pest control procedures in place (spraying, etc.) 

h. All windows and walls are intact and sealed and there are no gaps. 

12. Chemicals, handling and storage 

a. Chemicals stored in appropriate containers. 

b. Containers are labelled correctly (e.g. not handwritten, label contains minimum chemical name and pictogram depicting hazard level). 

c. Chemicals are stored according to compatibility. 

d. Compatibility chart is readily available. 

e. Dangerous goods are stored under COSHH guidelines (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health). 

f. COSHH cabinets must be used, labelled and maintained in accordance with COSHH practices and other international best practices including but not limited to;

i. Self-closing and close fitting doors 

ii. Locking automatically (flammable) 

iii. Locking mechanism in 2 or more places (flammable/corrosive) 

iv. Self-releasing locking mechanism (oxidizing agents and organic peroxides) 

v. Clearance from ignition/heat sources (flammable, oxidizing agents, organic peroxides) 

vi. Ventilation 

vii. COSHH approved labels for various hazards (toxic, danger to environment, corrosive etc.) 

13. Flammable liquids (if applicable) 

a. Must be stored in suitable closed vessels in limited quantities in fire resistant cabinets or bins designed to retain spills 

b. Cabinets to be located in designated well ventilated areas away from the immediate area for processing but not placed in a way to jeopardize the means of escape from other areas 

c. Must be stored away from other dangerous substances that can increase the risk of fire or compromise the integrity of the storage container or cabinet 

14.Compressed Gas (if applicable) 

a. Compressed gas cylinder contents are appropriately identified. 

b. Cylinders are secured appropriately by bracket or chain. 

c. All cylinders are at least 3 meters away from ignition sources, combustible material and are stored according to dangerous goods class with compatible gases. 

d. Empty cylinders are separated from full cylinders and clearly labelled. 

e. Appropriate resources (e.g. cylinder trolley) are available for transporting gas cylinders. 

f. The regulator is appropriate for the gas being used (e.g. stainless steel for corrosive gases, brass for non-corrosive gases). 

g. Gas lines are labelled and free of leaks, kinks, signs of wear & tear.  

h. Gas use is confined to areas with good local exhaust ventilation. 

Others

Schedules  

  1. Preventive maintenance schedules for the building that houses the facility together with fixtures  
  2. Preventive maintenance scheduled for equipment used in the facility. (Standard Operating Procedures)  
  3. Fire practices, drills, fire alarm tests and their results and action taken where applicable  
  4. Any other applicable schedule or drill. 

Records  

  1. Facility equipment records;  National health insurance scheme claim forms and other records  
  2. Facility inspection records 
  3. Waste tracking log book
  4. Occupational log books to record results of all staff investigations  
  5. Log books for recording accidents and injuries at the facility 
  6. Routine (monthly/quarterly) data on ailments/illnesses/conditioned reported at the facility.
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You will also need an electronic system to record activities like sales in your facility. A point of sale and inventory management software is recommended. (For access to an affordable POS and store management software, click here to get the iKrateSuite POS and Store management software)

Source: Health Facility Regulatory Agency of Ghana Website [Accessed at hefra.com.gh]

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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