Helsinki Helpline pharmacy partnership expands

Helsinki pharmacies that are members of the Association of Finnish Pharmacies have volunteered to lend their support to the Helsinki Helpline outreach campaign. This new partnership makes it possible to provide local pharmacy services to senior Helsinki residents who are self-isolating due to the coronavirus.

Helsinki Helpline is a phone service spearheaded by the City of Helsinki and Helsinki parishes that is reaching out to the self-isolating elderly community. Volunteers call and answer calls from residents over the age of 70 to ask how they are coping and offer help with daily errands or other concerns. The Yliopiston Apteekki chain of pharmacies joined the campaign shortly after it began, but the recent addition of the Association of Finnish Pharmacies as a partner means that the delivery of medicines will expand.

The Association of Finnish Pharmacies wants to ensure that Helsinki residents have access to the services of their nearby pharmacies during the stay-at-home measures. Pharmacist Anna Westerling, owner of the Punavuori Apteekki in Helsinki, says the pharmacies were happy to join in the effort.

”Pharmacies want to take care of their customers over the age of 70 and make sure they are able to receive pharmacy services in a safe and easy manner, even during this exceptional time. Local pharmacies know their customers well and are familiar with their entire medication regimen, which creates a sense of security for many older people,” she says.

Customers will receive a notice about the possibility of home deliveries from their local pharmacies in connection with Helsinki Helpline grocery deliveries. Interested parties can also call the Helsinki Helpline at tel. 09 310 10020 on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm for more information, or contact their local pharmacy directly. 

Several business partners have made the practical implementation of the Helsinki Helpline outreach campaign possible. Food retailer HOK-Elanto and Yliopiston Apteeki have provided invaluable assistance with food and medicine deliveries, call centre provider Genesys has provided a platform for making and fielding the phone calls, and the Finnish postal service Posti and logistics manufacturer Logisnext Finland have loaned electric scooters to ease deliveries. In addition, Helkama-Auto and ŠKODA have provided passenger cars and Dometic Finland has made refrigerated bags available for transporting goods. Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) has also offered the use of its city bikes to the campaign’s volunteers. Hundreds of volunteers and several charitable organisations are contributing to the Helsinki Helpline effort.

 Photo: Paula Virta