The 3rd National Pharmacy Conference held in Sun City from 3 to 5 October 2019, was a resounding success, with over 1 100 delegates comprising of pharmacists, pharmacy support personnel, policy-makers, decision makers and other stakeholders in attendance.
The aim of the triennial National Pharmacy Conference is to find solutions for health challenges facing the country with a specific view on how Pharmacy as a profession and an industry can play a part in the changing times. Delegates came together to engage on health issues facing the country. In the spirit of ensuring continuing professional development, the 3rd NPC presented several opportunities to acquire skills to remain competent in executing their calling despite technological and operating environment changes and advancements.
With 30 workshops focussing on best practice in various areas of pharmaceutical care over three days, delegates had many opportunities to engage in discussions with leading experts in various fields of pharmacy. The 3rd NPC ensured the training of pharmacists and their support personnel in best practices, point-of-care testing and HIV self-testing, HIV prevention through pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxes, and early detection of health issues through screening tests in order to improve the health of the population.
Topics covered at the conference included Transformation in and of pharmacy, Developing the pharmacy workforce to meet the needs of the country, The changing landscape in pharmacy practice and Collaborative practice in pharmacy, Empowering future generations of pharmacists, Leadership, Becoming a better practitioner, The evolution of the practice of pharmacy, and Continuing professional development. Keynote local and international speakers, such as Dr Mike Rouse, Dr Jennifer Baumgartner and Prof Toyin Tofade, amongst others, delivered inspiring presentations that triggered many discussions both inside the sessions and outside the conference.
Deliberations on universal healthcare coverage and the National Health Insurance, in particular, were intense and passionate, with the session on the NHI preceded by an address by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize on Friday, 4 October. Dr Mkhize highlighted the importance of realising universal healthcare coverage, and stressed the importance of Pharmacy playing its role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Vision 2030, especially Goal 3: Ensuring good health and well-being at all ages.
Naturally, the conference could not be a success if all we ever focussed on was work. Delegates enjoyed the various social functions from the Golf Day on 2 October, to the Gala Dinner on 5 October. The Welcome Cocktail Party on 3 October gave the delegates a chance to meet and interact with the 46 trade exhibitors. On Friday, 4 October, close to 300 delegates braved the chilly morning air to take part in the Tutu’s and Onesies themed Fun Run. The Beach Party on 4 October was the perfect opportunity for the delegates to let their hair down and party hard!
On Saturday, 5 October, to round off an amazing and eventful Conference, the South African Pharmacy Council hosted the National Pioneer Pharmacy (Professional and Facility) Awards at a star-studded gala dinner. The purpose of these awards is to highlight and honour those professionals and facilities in the pharmacy industry who go above and beyond their call of duty for the profession as a whole and their communities. While recognising the many unsung heroes amongst the profession, the SAPC chose to also pay tribute to those men and women who have dedicated their professional careers to the pharmacy profession for 45 years or more, by awarding them Legacy Recognition Certificates at the gala dinner.
The South African Pharmacy Council would like to thank all our sponsors and exhibitors, and most importantly, you, the pharmacy profession of South Africa, for making the 3rd National Pharmacy Conference such a sterling success and we look forward to hosting the 4th National Pharmacy Conference in 2023.