My fellow colleagues,
Please receive my warm greetings during this eventful time, both in our profession and in our country, when the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill has just been passed by the Cabinet and is now before Parliament for finalization, the enquiry on Section 59 of the Medical Schemes Act is on going, the unemployment rate has been reported to be at 29%, and the economy is set to grow slowly by only 0.2/0.3% this year, but the morale at 591 Belvedere Street in Arcadia (soon to be officially named), is at it’s highest.
I would like to take this time to wish my fellow Council Members a fruitful and rewarding time during this term of office as we serve the profession, which we all love and are most passionate about.
I would also like to thank the previous Council, which was under the able leadership of Prof Mano Chetty for the sterling work they have done during their term of office and for laying a very firm foundation for our Council.
Universal Heath Coverage is on the lips of everyone in the whole world, particularly in developing countries and South Africa is therefore not an exception. The South African government would like to achieve Universal Health Coverage through NHI. I would like to draw the profession’s attention to the envisaged South Africa of 2030, through the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3 of the United Nations. Even more granular to one of the targets of the SDG number 3, which states “Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”. The latter statement talks directly to us as a profession.
I contend that it will be impossible for the country to achieve great health outcomes under NHI without an NHI Act and its Regulations which places the pharmacist and the entire pharmacy profession in the centre of its implementation plan. The succesful implementation of NHI and the inclusion of the pharmacy profession as one of it’s pillars is an important goal for this Council. As a profession, we need to be careful and aware of possible deprofessionalisation of the pharmacy profession through narrow minded policies which are not aligned to great health outcomes.
The possible world economic recession which is probable during 2020/21 is in the lens of Council and therefore Council is mindful of its impact on the entire profession. Due to this likely world recesion, Council is introspectively looking at it’s spending and also looking closely at the fees which are payable by the profession to Council and the possible burden which might be brought by these fees during this current economic state.
One of my goals for this term of office is to achieve a no fee increase to the fees which are payable to Council by the profession and it is achievable if the entire profession and the Council work together with this goal in the forefront. We are currently working on a plan and a strategy to achieve this goal and we aim to achieve it during this term of office. The profesion should at the same time also bear in mind that the Council has no other source of operational income other than the fees which are payable to Council. I urge all members of the profesion to please pay their fees even if not actively practising your beloved profession, in order to aliviate the burden of costs to the entire profession. The more all of us pay our fees, the lesser the burden on our colleagues and the less likelihood of an escalation of fees by Council in order to discharge it’s mandate.
As Council, we recognise that most members of the profesion only interact with the Office of the Registrar when transacting on their annual fees. Your experience at the point of engagement with the Office of the Registrar such as payment allocations, etc, is very important to Council and it is one of the goals of this Council to make it pleasant and smooth. Quality of the Pharmacy Inspections and their standardisation is important for NHI acreditation and contracting, and a specific concern to me.
Council has embarked on various important projects which we aim to conclude during this term of office. Some of these projects have already been shared with the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize, who has expressed a keen interest in the outcomes of the projects. I would like to share a few of these projects with the profession:
- The Internship review
The purpose of this project is to develop a suitable model for Pre-registration practical training for BPharm graduates in South Africa, amongst others.
- Grading of pharmacies
The purpose of this project is to review the current grading methodology and it’s processes amongst others.
- Ownership of Pharmacies
The aim of this project is to determine as to whether the change of ownership of pharmacies has improved access to pharmaceutical services in under served areas since the year 2003 amongst other objectives contained therein.
A comprehensive document which outlines in minute details, the strategic plan of Council 2019 to 2023 as developed by Council during it’s meeting of February 2019, is being finalised for submision to the National Department of Health, after which, it will be made available to the entire profession.
The 3rd National Pharmacy Conference will be held from 3 to 5 October 2019, in Sun City. I urge every member of the profession to make an effort to attend this very important gathering of pharmacists and the entire pharmacy profession in the country. It will be a great opportunity to network and connect with colleagues from all sectors of the profession, private and public.
The program of this year’s conference is designed to benefit every attendee from student, pharmacy support personnel, pharmacists and academics, regardless of their sphere of practice. This is the National Pharmacy Conference and the only one of its kind! Make the time and effort to be there!
See you in Bokone Bophirima ka kgwedi ya Diphalane!
Remember to have fun when practising your beloved profession!