A new Pharmacy Advisory Board has been constituted to bring together stakeholders across various pharmacy bodies and academia, to seek solutions to challenges facing the South African pharmacy sector.
The multi-stakeholder Pharmacy Advisory Board, which held its official launch meeting in Johannesburg in February, believes that pharmacists and pharmacies have an increasingly important role to play in the provision of primary health care services in SA.
Pharmacists play a vital role in the overall health care system through the provision of affordable and accessible minor ailments diagnosis and referral, patient education and screening, and drug information, particularly in under-resourced areas.
The new Pharmacy Advisory Board aims to unite pharmacy stakeholders in a common platform to identify key challenges and opportunities in training, quality and regulatory issues; and help address the skills shortage in the pharmacy sector by supporting training for pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and front shop assistants. The board will benchmark South African pharmacy against international best practice, and help to develop the sector to meet changing local needs.
The Pharmacy Advisory Board further aims to add value to the pharmacists and pharmacies of South Africa by driving insight and education, and facilitating discussion amongst key-opinion leaders in the South African pharmacy sector that identifies key challenges and opportunities, creates multi-stakeholder solutions and implements strategies that drive the board’s vision.
Among the proposed measures the Board hopes to facilitate are sponsorships of tertiary institutions and teaching posts, professional development portals for pharmacists and front shop assistants, product training sessions, and the distribution of good pharmacy practice guides and operating procedure manuals.
A potential outcome of the new Board’s work will also be to support ongoing and effective communication between the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC), professional bodies and pharmacists across South Africa.
The new board is supported by RB South Africa, which noted that pharmacy is a key channel for health education and the provision of primary healthcare, and so provided the platform for multi-stakeholder engagement within the pharmacy sector.
To ensure that the board drives inclusive change, the new seven-member board represents stakeholders from various pharmacy sectors and geographic regions. The board members are:
Ms Mirshelle Abrahams, (B.Pharm M.P.S), Managing Director & Responsible Pharmacist at Morningside Dispensary & Morningside Pharmacy in Sandton. She holds a B.Pharm honours from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has run a successful oral contraceptive clinic for many years and is about to embark on PCDT certification as well as embarking on a Fellowship in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine with an American University.
Prof. Sabiha Essack (B. Pharm., M. Pharm., PhD), Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). She is Vice Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and serves on the Council of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa. Professor Essack is Associate Editor of the Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases and serves on the Editorial Board of the African Journal of Microbiology Research.
Mr Amaan Kajee, retail pharmacist and owner of Synergy Pharmacy in Cape Town. After acquiring his BPharm degree from UWC in 1996, with 21 years of experience in retail pharmacy, Amaan remains dedicated to developing sustainable healthcare solutions. He currently serves on the RB Pharmacy Advisory Board as well as being the Western Cape representative of the Alpha Pharm franchise council.
Mr Patrick Makhesha who runs two retail community pharmacies in Soshanguve, Pretoria. He has a BSc degree majoring in Chemistry and a degree in pharmacy from UCT and is currently studying for his LLB, as well as having vast experience in manufacturing, research and development.
Mr Sham Moodley, a community pharmacist in the Durban South Basin area and a Director in the Care Group of Pharmacies. He holds a BSc (Pharmacology) from University College Dublin Ireland, BPharm (UKZN), a Postgraduate Diploma (HIV/AIDS) from Stellenbosch University and a Masters from SU and is currently completing a Phd in Pharmacy at UKZN. He is an elected member on the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC), where he is Chair of the Disciplinary Committee (CII), member of the Practice Committee and Member of the SAPC Executive Committee.
Mr Tobje Nortje, a Community Pharmacist and Pharmacy owner from Parow in the Western Cape. He holds a B.Pharm (NWU) and a B.Sc Honours degree in Pharmacology (NWU). During his studies, he served as the Vice-President of SAPSF (The South African Pharmacy Student Federation). He has focused on helping the profession to evolve from a more professionally orientated environment to one that will also be financially viable, with a focus on customer service, stock control, marketing and management.
Mr Johannes Ravele, a retail pharmacist in Khutsong Pharmacy, Pretoria, with a Diploma in Business Management, a Diploma in Manager Development, a Masters in Business Leadership and a Certificate in Corporate Governance. He is a member of the National Executive Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa, Honorary Treasurer of the South African Association of Community Pharmacy, Chairperson of the South African Association of Community Pharmacy, Pretoria branch, and Member of the Advisory Committee, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Tshwane University of Technology.