Commercial pharmacies open door to female staff



JEDDAH: Marwa Haddad

Published — Monday 4 February 2013

Last update 4 February 2013 11:47 pm

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Female workers will be soon employed at commercial pharmacies. According to Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih, the ministry is working on providing a safe work environment for women.
He said the ministry is working on reducing women unemployment and that its programs has led to doubling the number of those employed during the last three decades. Women already work in hospital pharmacies.
Zaini Banjar, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz University, said the employment of women at commercial pharmacies would benefit his faculty’s graduates and Saudi society by reducing unemployment among women. The market desperately needs pharmacists of both genders, he added.
Banjar said there is a significant shortage of pharmacists in the Kingdom. The ministry’s move indicates the market would accommodate all graduates.
Pharmacies would compete to attract graduates after the final decision is issued. Banjar said implementing laws would regulate the work of pharmacists in commercial hospitals and health care centers’ pharmacies. He said salaries paid to pharmacists at commercial pharmacies should not be lower than the salaries paid in hospitals. He stressed the importance of providing incentives to pharmacists. Banjar called for improving the performance of pharmacies, saying that a pharmacist should not merely be a salesman, but a specialist who pays attention to the patient. “Pharmacies must play a large role in terms of medication-use awareness and education,” he said.
He said the faculty at King Abdul Aziz University has established two pharmacies for the training undergraduates “for them to be properly qualified to handle pharmacies after they graduate.”
Ruba Hijazi and Reem Ghandour, both pharmacy college students, said they would not work in a commercial pharmacy because the salaries are low.
They said that “many of them are merely places that sell medicine. They said they would work in pharmacies in private or public hospitals, although they supported the decision.
An oxygen pharmacy official in Jeddah’s Rawdah District told Arab News the pharmacy will provide all work environment requirements stipulated in the decision when it is issued. He said the pharmacy will attract and employ female pharmacy graduates.
On Twitter, most tweets agreed with the move, but hoped that a final decision is studied considering all aspects involved. Several hoped a recommendation will not be rejected by Saudi society.

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