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City pharmacists give more than a spoonful of sugar

The City of Cape Town’s Health Department is celebrating Pharmacy Month. This year’s emphasis is to ‘Use Medicines Wisely’. The City’s pharmacists and pharmacist’s assistants will engage with patients about the safe storage of medication and to take medication as prescribed.

The ranks of the City of Cape Town’s corps of 32 pharmacists and 54 pharmacist’s assistants will soon be bolstered with an additional intake of pharmacists and assistants.

In addition, the City has commenced with a five-year information technology modernization project for the City Health Department.

‘Currently, one of the biggest challenges within City Health is the lack of a computerised dispensing and medicine stock control system. The dispensing of medicine to patients and medicine control at City Health facilities is only done manually. The growth of City Health’s primary healthcare service has necessitated the need for more posts, although the service is primarily provided by nurses with limited doctor and pharmaceutical services support. The City has allocated additional budget and City Health has prioritised the appointment of pharmacists and assistant pharmacists over the next five years,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

The majority of pharmacists are employed at City Health’s bigger facilities and two pharmacists are stationed at the City Health medical store.

There are also subdistrict pharmacists who coordinate the pharmaceutical services and who travel between clinics to assist nursing personnel.

‘Pharmacy Month not only celebrates the work they do, but also aims to encourage learners to consider pursuing a profession in the industry. Pharmacists work with other healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses, and help to ensure that patients get the most out of their medication,’ said Alderman Smith.

City pharmacists are ready to assist in the challenges of the four sub-themes of Pharmacy Month which encourage clients to know their medicines, store it correctly, travel safely with medicine and talk to their pharmacist.

‘Our pharmacists will emphasise the importance of taking medicine correctly as prescribed by the clinician, provide education on how to store medicine correctly including keeping it out of reach of children and avoiding the storage of medicine in the bathroom and kitchen. Pharmacists will be happy to explain the correct storage should a fridge not be available in the household. Our pharmacists will even organise small cooler boxes if required,’ explained Alderman Smith.

Pharmacists can assist with enquiries about traveling with medicine locally, keeping medicine safe to prevent theft or avoiding issues at customs when going overseas; as well as when travelling to endemic areas such as those prone to malaria.

This is in line with the goals of the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan to provide quality holistic healthcare for all.

‘Pharmacists are no longer just the traditional dispensers of medicine. They are more actively involved in patient care, building relationships to help patients understand their medication regimens and reinforce their roles as trusted health advisors,’ said Alderman Smith.

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Eloise Pretorius – Senior Reporter and Anchor, Smile 90.4FM News

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