Pharmacist launches telepharmacy services to help people amidst COVID-19

Two digital training services held by Clevio Coder Camp paved way for a pharmacist in NTT to provide remote consultation solutions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a pharmacist, Paskalis Lauko continues to seek for ways to provide solutions to enable people to access medicines easily. The South Sulawesi’s Sekolah Tinggi Farmasi Kebangsaan Makassar’s (STIFA) pharmacy graduate is more than eager to utilize digital technology, especially in the field of e-commerce, to create solutions.

“I see a great potential in e-commerce. Besides being able to earn income, this technology can also be useful in the medical world,” said Paskalis, who hails from Alor, East Nusa Tenggara.

In collaboration with a friend who works as a programmer, Paskalis began developing an app-based inventory system for cashiers working in pharmacies, retails and medical clinics in 2020. However, he admitted that their lack of knowledge was an obstacle in the process to create the application.

"The opportunity and demand are huge but there are only a few human resources available. It is difficult to form a team that will focus on web programming and development,” said Paskalis.

This 23-year-old felt that he found the answer to his needs when he received information about two trainings on web development by using WordPress platform and basic programming training to create a website, that were held by Clevio Coder Camp.

These two trainings are part of the Employment and Livelihood programme that was jointly organized by the ILO and three other United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia. This program is funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF).

“This is an opportunity that will not come for a second time. At that time, I was really sure that these trainings would help me to gain more understanding about programming,” said Paskalis.

From June through September 2021, Paskalis learned how to create an e-commerce site using a WordPress-based content management system (CMS) and the basics of website programming. Paskalis immediately applied his knowledge to develop a simple website called with his friend, the programmer.

The website was developed to provide a solution for people who were self-isolating during the height of the pandemic in mid-2021. According to Paskalis, at that time many residents had difficulty to confirm the availability of medicines as the government imposed a strict social restrictions in regions across the country, including in East Nusa Tenggara.

“At that time the spread of the Delta variant was very fast. I was very worried because many people could not directly meet and consult a pharmacist,” said Paskalis.

On the page, Paskalis managed to garner supports from around 40 pharmacists in East Nusa Tenggara to provide remote advice and consultation on medicines for patients. The communication platform designed by Paskalis has the full support of the East Nusa Tenggara branch of the Indonesian Pharmacists Association and the local government because of its role in helping the community during the pandemic.

According to Paskalis, the skills that he gained from the two trainings had a big role during the process to develop his website. He said the knowledge had helped him making the telepharmacy site to be more user-friendly, in terms of design and function.

Going forward, Paskalis plans to continue to develop the website to provide more services, including access to medicines and medical devices as well as medical information. “I want the site I created to grow into an e-commerce and be able to provide medicine, customer service support, and other services,” Paskalis resolutely said.

Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO’s National Project Officer for the Employment and Livelihood programme, said the agency is very delighted to see that Clevio’s  web development and programming trainings can give meaningful contribution for Paskalis to realise his dream and help many people in East Nusa Tenggara during the pandemic. “This is exactly what motivated us to continue organising trainings to introduce new skills particularly in the digital sector to a lot of people in Indonesia,” she said.