URGENT: Reappraise Pharmacists & Their Indispensable Place in Health Care in SA

URGENT: Reappraise Pharmacists & Their Indispensable Place in Health Care in SA

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Year after year, the invaluable place of pharmacists in communities and especially on typical health care "teams" continue to dwindle. Many legitimate reasons can be given but when the main ones emerge directly as a result of decisions taken at the National Department of Health, it seems as though a type of (self) sabotage is inflicted. This should urgently be resolved.

Pharmacists are in fact the cornerstone of health. Just think of the last syrup, cream, injection, or pill you took when you were unwell, and got relief! Couldn't have been possible without pharmacists. From research & teaching, to clinical trials, to manufacturing, to distributing, to prescribing, to dispensing and counseling among other critical roles, pharmacists are the only health care professionals who's scope and roles directly represents patient advocacy on ALL fronts especially in terms of efficacy, safety and quality of (prescribed) pharmacotherapies.

Patients desperately need these gatekeepers to continue to look out for them, and in greater numbers/settings. Their additional vital role in preventing error and misuse of pharmaceuticals/ health products can no longer be overlooked or considered supperfluous or unessential at patients' expenses. There are far too many cases where non-existent pharmaceutical care (posts) resulted in negligence, poor therapeutic outcomes and even death, while unemployed pharmacists sit at home in a nation where it is still a scarce skill with a ratio far less than the WHO recommendations.

Inspite of all this, efficiency in utilizing pharmacists is not optimised.

BUT here's a start;

Pharmacists need:

-More posts to be opened/funded in critical settings (clinics, hospitals, dispensaries),

-Facilitated and optimized internship and community service placements,

-To be utilized in primary health settings ( rural/ other sectors) as pcdt pharmacists, 

-Recognition and integration of more specialties,

-Facilitated entrepreneurial activities (licensing process and costs, support etc)

-Reviewed ownership regulations and to be given preference as independent pharmacies 

The list is longer but this is a good place to begin! 

Let's make it happen...