A new Pharmacy Advisory Board has been constituted to bring together stakeholders across various pharmacy bodies and academia to find solutions to challenges facing the South African pharmacy sector.

The seven-member board, which represents stakeholders from various pharmacy sectors and geographic regions, was officially launched in February this year to strengthen the increasingly important role pharmacists and pharmacies play in the provision of primary healthcare services.

The multi-stakeholder Board aims to unite pharmacy stakeholders in a common platform to identify key challenges and opportunities in training, quality and regulatory issues; and help address the skills shortage in the pharmacy sector by supporting training for pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and front shop assistants.

Furthermore, the board will benchmark SA’s pharmacy industry against international best practice, and help to develop the sector to meet changing local needs.

Among the proposed measures the Board hopes to facilitate are sponsorships of tertiary institutions and teaching posts, professional development portals for pharmacists and front shop assistants, product training sessions, and the distribution of good pharmacy practice guides and operating procedure manuals.

A potential outcome of the new Board’s work will also be to support ongoing and effective communication between the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC), professional bodies and pharmacists across South Africa.

The board members are: Pharmacist, Mirshelle Abrahams; Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance, Prof Sabiha Essack; Retail Pharmacist and owner of Synergy Pharmacy, Amaan Kajee ; Pharmacist who runs two retail community pharmacies, Patrick Makhesha; Community Pharmacist and a Director in the Care Group of Pharmacies, Sham Moodley; Community Pharmacist and pharmacy owner, Tobje Nortje; and member of the National Executive Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa, Johannes Ravele.

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