REVIEW OF SECTION 124(2)(a)(b) and (c) of HEALTH PROFESSIONS ACT (CHAPTER 27:19)

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Petition statement by Young Pharmacists Group

We, the undersigned, members of the Young Pharmacists Group, do hereby make a joint statement and state as follows:

Duly conscious of our collective right to freedom to petition as enshrined in section 59 of the constitution of Zimbabwe;we

Hereby petition to the Pharmacists Council with reference to the circular issued on the 8th of December Ref: AK/mm/722/17 for the Pharmacists Society of Zimbabwe.

Pharmacists are obligated to undergo preliminary training with the core intent to sharpen their skill base and earn experience in the pre-registration training and community service programmes, whose duration is 1 year each.

It is only after completion of the internship referred to above, an aggregate of 2 years post graduation from an institution of higher learning, that a pharmacist can then be issued with an Open Practising Certificate wherein, the freedom to practise is awarded on the basis that the purpose of the internship has been met.

In response to the invitation for input from the Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe on the amendment of section 124 (2)(a)(b) and (c) of the HPA with the view that the pharmacy business be 100% under the control and management of the registered pharmacist(s), secondary to which the council has proposed to prescribe a period in which newly qualified pharmacists be disregarded for recognition as directors and/or shareholders in a pharmacy business enterprise, we put forward the following contributions:

As young Healthcare professionals we aspire to use our knowledge and skill for the betterment of people's lives. Part of this involves increasing accessibility to Pharmaceutical care by strategically opening more pharmacies and improving the Pharmacist-Patient ratio to try to meet the WHO recommendations.

1. We recommend that Section 124 (2) (a)(ii) , 124(2)(b) and 124 (2)(c) MUST remain as is.

- Allowing partnerships between Health professionals and cooperates (business people) will foster the development of effectively run health institutions which will in turn improve accessibility to quality healthcare, improve healthcare service delivery and drive down healthcare costs.

2. With regards to Newly Qualified pharmacists becoming shareholders or directors in a pharmaceutical business enterprise;

We are of the view that shareholding or directorship has no bearing on the finding that the said group has been found to make more mistakes during practice compared to those with more working experience. 

Firstly, there are measures already in place which provide that only an OPC holder can practice without supervision so the issue of the misdemeanor can be solved by effectively enforcing the law in this regard. We further question the validity of the claims that the misdemeanor is only perpetrated by newly qualified professionals.

Secondly, the said misdemeanor should be dealt with on a case to case basis and not have a blanket restrictive statute that marginalises other innocent and competent young health professionals.

Thirdly, being a director or shareholder must be viewed as a business interest. One is able to own a stake in an enterprise but not necessarily be involved in its day to day running. That some inexperienced pharmacists have been found on the wrong side of the law must not be grounds to exclude other competent individuals the right to invest in a business. This restriction constitutes gross violation of our right to self-determination as individuals and as health professionals.

We therefore call upon the Council to not pass this exclusionist position forward as policy and put forward that directorship and shareholding capacity be awarded on the basis that one has completed their preregistration as is currently provided for.



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