Allow me to start this message in this end-of-year issue of the Pharmaciae by echoing my earlier sentiments as expressed in the 2020 Annual Report of the South African Pharmacy Council; the contribution of Pharmacy to the fight against COVID-19 including the mass vaccination drive led by the Ministry of Health is conspicuous and commendable. The fact that Pharmacy continues to provide the most vaccines outside of the state week-in week-out is a testament to the commitment each one of us has made to this noble calling. I wish to express, on behalf of the Council collective, our immeasurable indebtedness and gratitude to the profession for the resolve shown throughout this pandemic period.
Your determination and loyalty to the greater cause of ensuring that Pharmacy places its hand on deck as South Africa and the rest of the world battle SARS-Cov-2 and its many variants have inspired Council to defy inflationary pressures and resolve to adjust 2022 annual fees by a below-inflation 4% across the board. This is our gesture of appreciation and solidarity with all colleagues who, without fail, show up daily at the COVID-19 frontline, in the face of the high risk of infection associated with providing pharmaceutical care during this period. As such, pharmacy professionals continue to pay a minimum of 22% less in annual fees than comparable health professionals.
The continued enthusiasm with which pharmacists have welcomed the opportunity for continuous career development presented by Continuing Professional Development (CPD) shows how pharmacists appreciated the fact that the practice environment is one that is everchanging, and that, to keep abreast of developments, best practices and to stay competent, lifelong learning is paramount. In this issue of the Pharmaciae, we have prepared articles aimed at reminding all practising pharmacists of the tools available to them to ensure that complying with CPD is both a seamless and rewarding process. Lessons from 2020 CPD Experts, who submitted between 16 and 44 CPD entries in a single year, can also be found in this issue.
Our stewardship role towards the resources of Council continues to be exercised with precise compliance to good practice prescripts and within good governance frameworks. Council has attained yet another clean audit opinion from its independent external auditors for 2020. Moreover, the internal controls to minimise Council’s exposure to risk and avert the results of such risk have been assessed as adequate by the independent internal auditors.
Council will be erecting a digital South African Pharmacy COVID-19 Wall of Remembrance in honour of our colleagues who paid the ultimate price of contracting and succumbing to COVID-19 in the line of duty. Over the next month, the Office of the Registrar will be collecting details of the combatants we have lost to COVID-19 to enable us to bestow a durable honour and recognition to these selfless colleagues. More details concerning this wall of remembrance can be found in this issue.
Lastly, I wish to convey our best wishes to all pharmacy professionals throughout South Africa as we enter the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections and the festive season. Let us continue to advocate for vaccination, the practising of non-pharmaceutical measures such as the wearing of masks, disinfection and social distancing to our patients, communities and families.
Until we meet in the new year, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
Mr Mogologolo Phasha
South African Pharmacy Council