The previous year has been a testing year for both the Country and its people as well as the entire pharmacy profession. We continue to navigate a very troubled period in our careers. However, our resilience as a profession, has been proven time and again over the past several months. I, on behalf of Council, wish to express appreciation to all pharmacy professionals continuing to courageously occupy their combatant positions at the front line of the confrontation against COVID-19.
In the same breath, we hail and pay our highest respect to colleagues who have lost their lives at the service of humanity against this pathogen. Theirs were not lives lost in vain; but the conclusion of lives gloriously dedicated to their calling and the protection of the human race. In honour of these heroes, a permanent digital Wall of Remembrance (dubbed the South African Pharmacy COVID-19 Wall of Remembrance) will be erected through the Office of Council in the first half of 2021.
Recently, Council, the profession, and South Africans have had to bid farewell to Mr Amos Masango as the Registrar & CEO of the Office of Council due to retirement. Mr Masango’s illustrious and meaningful record of contribution to the advancement of Pharmacy speaks for itself; we, therefore, reiterate our gratitude to him. May his well-deserved retirement be joyful and his post-retirement endeavours be fruitful and fulfilling.
We have also had the pleasure to introduce Mr Vincent Tlala to the profession as the new head of the Office of the Registrar with effect from February 2021. Having worked in the Office of Council for more than 13 years in various roles, we are confident that Mr Tlala needs no introduction nor an orientation on the processes of Council. We wish him all the success in the execution of his role.
In this edition of the Pharmaciae, we provide an update on the decisions of Council, legislative changes, and other areas of the execution of the Council mandate. I would like to draw your attention to the Guidelines for registration of persons who hold a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree as pharmacist’s assistant post-basic published through Board Notice 138 of 2020. The guidelines aim to eliminate the limbo that pharmacy graduates sometimes find themselves in, when they cannot find internship opportunities; the guidelines will afford foreign-qualified graduates the same opportunity, once they are approved to sit for the professional examination. An article providing an overview of the guidelines can be read at this link.
Progress towards achieving the Council’s strategic objectives is also continuing unabated. The realisation of online remote examinations, among other milestones, is testament to this. This milestone has allowed Council to be able to fulfil its mandate in ensuring the availability of adequate human resources to meet national pharmaceutical care needs, despite the onslaught of COVID-19. Importantly, this intervention has ensured that recently qualified graduates do not find themselves at a disadvantage and unable to progress to the next level of practice.
Last but not least, I would like to express gratitude to colleagues who have ensured that they comply with the Regulations relating to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the initial compliance period. More than two thirds of pharmacists have already complied with the annual declaration requirements and CPD Regulations, despite the deadline for CPD submissions only being April 2021. I call on the colleagues who are still to comply with the regulations to hasten as failure to comply sadly results in designation as a non-practising pharmacist.
I wish you all safety in practising our glorious profession during this difficult time.
South African Pharmacy Council