Aims & Objectives
The main role of PCDI unit can be seen in:
- Provision of information and advice concerning the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of poisoning.
- Providing pharmacological information related to drug dosages, its adverse effects that may cause, drug interactions, and the intravenous preparations.
- Provision of information about the chemicals toxicity and the risks they pose.
Access to the information service is normally by telephone, especially in an emergency, but there are several other communication channels, including computer networks, written responses to enquiries, and publications (Awareness bulletins).
Drugs are considered toxins if not used in the precisely defined quantity and manner. So, the PCDI unit will solve this issue and work on minimizing its risks.
PCDI unit provides appropriate up-to-date information and advice on the diagnosis and treatment of poisoning cases.
PCDI unit is closely connected with facilities that provide care for poisoned patients and for the medical staff to be involved in the treatment of poisoning. This close association between poison information services and poison treatment services:
- Facilitates the necessary updating and expansion of information on the diagnosis and treatment of poisoning cases,
- Encourages detailed follow-up of patients, and
- Stimulates essential research on human toxicology and patient management.
Toxicovigilance is the substantial mission of PCDI unit by actively:
- Identifying and evaluating the toxic risks existing in a community
- Evaluating the measures taken to reduce or eliminate them.
Analysis of enquiries received by the unit permits the identification of those circumstances, populations, and possible toxic agents most likely to be involved, as well as the detection of hidden dangers.
The role of PCDI unit in Toxicovigilance is to alert the appropriate health and other authorities so that the necessary preventive and regulatory measures may be taken.
The PCDI unit can contribute in the prevention of poisoning by:
- Alerting responsible authorities to circumstances where the risk of poisoning is high.
- Encouraging manufacturers to employ less toxic formulations and to improve the packaging and labeling of their products.
- Informing the general public, as well as special groups at risk, about recognized or emerging risks to the community posed by the use, transport, storage, and disposal of specific chemicals and natural toxins, and giving guidance on how to avoid exposure to, or accidents with, these substances; means such as brochures, leaflets, posters, educational programs and media campaigns may be employed.
- Giving special warnings to professional health care workers concerning specific toxic risks.
Drug information and Pharmacovigilance (PV)
PCDI Unit is naturally concerned with problems of adverse drug reactions and side-effects, and may be contacted by physicians and the public for advice on both drug overdose and the adverse effects of therapeutic doses.
Enquiries may also relate to contraindications; for instance, whether a drug should be prescribed in pregnancy or to a patient with a history of hepatic or renal disease. PCDI Unit contributes to Pharmacovigilance (PV) in collaboration with other institutions established for that purpose.
Part of PCDI unit’s tasks is to provide information relating to substances of abuse and, when necessary, to be able to refer enquiries or patients to institutions or authorities dealing with other aspects of substance abuse.
- The unit knows how to recognize the signs and symptoms of substance abuse, how to treat an overdose in an emergency, and how to deal with withdrawal syndromes.
- The unit also gives advice to the families and friends of substance abusers on how to identify signs of intoxication and the substances involved.
There is growing anxiety among the general public about the possible deleterious effects on health of toxic chemicals found in food, in consumer goods such as cosmetics, and in the environment (air, water, and soil).
PCDI Unit provides information on the effects of environmental contaminants, on the risks associated with toxic wastes, and on safe levels of chemicals in the environment and in food and other consumer goods.
PCDI Unit plays an important role in quantifying the relationship between exposure to toxic chemicals and observed clinical features of poisoning, including long-term effects on the human and other organisms.
Thus, PCDI will coordinate with the responsible authorities to determine allowed quantities of chemicals in the workplace, food, water, etc.
The Poison Control and Drug Information Unit (PCDI) can contribute in the handling of major chemical incidents and disasters by providing appropriate information in the event of an emergency and by taking an active part in: contingency planning to be applied, and in education and training to let everybody know how to act.
PCDI Unit is an effective information providing service and through the unit’s closely cooperation with a wide range of partners.
But this hoped cooperation will only work if the concerned parties choose it to succeed. Thus, this success will benefit our people and institutions.
Therefore, PCDI calls and hopes of everyone participation to prevail the benefit for all.
- PCDI has the capability to establish cooperation with industrial and commercial enterprises that manufacture, import, or handle chemicals, various research institutions, and consumer organizations and trade unions.
- The Unit works on tightening its contacts in the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the full range of health services and institutions, including
- different hospital departments,
- general practitioners,
- coroners and medico-legal experts,
- occupational physicians,
- experts in information technology,
- scientific societies,
- Local and central health authorities.
- Besides, PCDI can keep in its continuous cooperation with other government bodies, such as the Ministries of Agriculture, the Environment, Labor, Industry, Trade, and Transport, and with consumer protection agencies.
- Good relationships with multimedia is valuable, since it has a key role in bringing information to the public.
The PCDI Unit is closely associated with poison treatment services and the involved medical staff in Poisoning treatment. This association has
- facilitated the necessary updating and expansion of information on the diagnosis and treatment of local poisoning cases,
- encouraged detailed follow-up of patients, and
- stimulated essential research on human toxicology and patient management.
- Submitted the education and training services to the physicians, pharmacists and nurses, concerning the subject of poisons, either for students or practitioners for those professions after graduation.
The existence of “Toxicology and Suspicious Materials Laboratory” at PCDI Unit provides toxicological analyses and biomedical investigations which are essential for the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of certain types of poisoning.
This analytical facility has also essential role in the identification, characterization, and quantification of toxic substances in both biological and non-biological samples.
Thus, the resulting information from this lab and other diagnostic labs in the different health facilities will be essential for detailed follow-up of patients, monitoring populations at risk from exposure to toxic chemicals, and stimulation essential research on human toxicology and patient management.
Scientific research is one of the basic tasks of PCDI because it is considered the guarantee of continuous success.