Six steps necessary in pharmacy to respond to multiculturalism

by Lin-Nam Wang and Pamela Mason

Pharmacists should go to bars, churches and temples if they want to develop cultural competence, according to Hemant Patel, a community pharmacist in north east London, during the 69th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

For example, in east London, pharmacists are conducting smoking cessation clinics in mosques, supported by the local imam, and this has had an impact in helping people give up.

His message was that pharmacists must leave pharmacies and mix with those they serve, be it in mosques, residential homes or the Women’s Institute.

This was one of six steps needed to respond to multiculturalism outlined by Mr Patel at a session on cultural and health beliefs behind the use of medicines. The other five were:

  • Forget stereotypes
  • Understand differences, including lingual
  • Acknowledge different family systems
  • Be polite, respectful and patient
  • Accept jokes and engage


In particular, he pointed out that in some families, children are the main communicators and pharmacists need to be aware of this and support such children. In addition, he said that universities have a role to play to ensure that pharmacists use simple language.

The development of multicultural societies in Europe is not a recent phenomenon but what has been amplified in recent years is the need to achieve integration and social cohesion among these societies and to develop intercultural understanding and foster intercultural dialogue, he said.

However, he added: “I think it’s going to be a long process before, through trial and error, we come up with a pharmacy model of what is good practice.”

Citation: The Salvadore URI: 10980616

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