Pharmacy practice architecture challenges in handling COVID-19 pandemic - sharing experience from a Kosovo pharmacy practice

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COVID-19, Pharmacy architecture, Community pharmacy, Kosovo


Background: Community pharmacies deliver an essential healthcare service, which is broadly established, encompassing the favored and primary contact for community members. The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to shift the pharmacy roles and services in order to meet the needs of customers. The important value of community pharmacies was more underlined during the pandemic crisis when they were supposed to undertake abundant precautions to avoid cross-infection among users of the space. Their responsibility is also to create a compatible, efficient, and safe environment inside their premises during this outbreak. The built environment is an important share of pandemic solutions and emergency planning preparations. Objectives: The aim of this paper was to explore the preparedness of community pharmacies in Kosovo for the COVID-19 outbreak in regards to pharmacy design modifications while ensuring adequate medicine management, information, and public health. Consequently, at what stage can the pandemic affect the physical and built environment of pharmacies. Methods: The methods for this study include a cross‐sectional survey of 104 community pharmacies operating in seven municipalities in Kosovo during the pandemic. Data collection was conducted from October 1 to October 14, 2021, using self-administered online questionnaires. The questionnaire consisted of a combination of closed and open-ended questions, optional statements, and multiple answers. Data were analyzed in SPSS for Windows version 20 using descriptive statistics. Results: The results show that communities should be prepared ahead in regard to the emergency situations and some of these preparations might be also part of the legislation requirements. Although the pandemic exposed many errors in the Kosovo community pharmacy system, it has also discovered a unique possibility for collaboration and novelty. Conclusions: The study concludes with the recommendation for the architectural design of pharmacies to be positioned as an active mediator in the fight against the COVID 19, with a critical lesson aimed at the flexibility of the space to accommodate emergent situations and create alternative areas for use.

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