The Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Branch

OUR MEMBERSHIP

We, the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Branch, strive to follow the motto displayed in the scroll at the base of the emblem of the PSSA, “Pro Salute et Valetudine Populi” which translated into English means “For the health and welfare of the people”. We also pay homage to where we came from. At our new premises in Westway Park, we have a collection of pharmacy artefacts and memorabilia.

The Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa

Do you know what the PSSA actually does?

Unravelling the work done by the PSSA

The PSSA has become aware of the fact that many of its members are unaware of much of the work done in the offices of the PSSA. We thought it might be useful to highlight some of the important activities that are carried out in the interests of its members. At the end of this article, we have inserted the benefits of PSSA membership in a table, to remind you of what we do and the services that are directly available to you.

How PSSA national, branches and sectors communicate with members

The PSSA, its branches and sectors use a number of different media to make sure that members are told of current information, news and challenges, and what the PSSA is doing about them. 

  • Publications – In particular, our two main publications, the SA Pharmaceutical Journal and the SA Pharmacist’s assistants, are published at regular intervals and carry news, information and educational articles on topics that are useful to members. The limitation that they have is that they are only produced six and four times a year respectively, and news doesn’t wait for their publication dates!
  • Website – The PSSA website, www.pssa.org.za, is a formal information source that is available 24 hours a day.
  • Newsletter – When something happens that members need to know immediately, our newsletters are extremely useful because you will have the news delivered straight to your inbox.
  • Facebook – Nowadays, of course, social media is not only a fun part of our lives, it is also a way of spreading news. The Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa Facebook page, and those of the sectors and branches, is a wonderful immediate way to communicate with members, and to allow members to engage in conversation about the topics posted. It encourages a sense of community among pharmacists, who need not be facing their individual challenges alone.
  • Phone and email – Naturally, the PSSA national, branch and sectoral offices are only a phone call or email away when members have issues for which they need speedy information, advice and support.

Especially for Students

Some years ago, the PSSA agreed that pharmacy students would not pay a membership fee. They were to be encouraged to participate in PSSA activities at branch level. It was not possible to send them printed copies of the SAPJ because of the cost implications.

From 2019, two important changes will take place.

  • Electronic SAPJ – when current issues of the SAPJ become available online, pharmacy students and academic interns will be sent the hyperlink to the issue.
  • Newsletters – the office has received more and more requests from students for practice information. One way in which we will assist them is to include them in the mailing list so that they receive the newsletters. We believe that this is a way to introduce them to the realities facing the profession.

Behind the Scenes Activity

Some of the PSSA’s work happens quietly behind the scenes. While members may not be aware of it, we believe that it is critical for this work to take place.

  • Interaction with important decision-makers – it’s important for decision makers, such as the National Department of Health and the statutory health councils, to be aware of the effect that their decisions have on the pharmacy profession. It’s also important for them to know that the pharmacy profession is eager to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. As healthcare professionals, our contribution to healthcare is unique and significant, and decision makers need to be reminded of this. It’s seldom possible for individuals to bring this to the attention of these bodies, but the PSSA is committed to doing so on behalf of our members.
  • Interaction with international associations – we are fortunate that the PSSA is a member of both the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association. This gives us access to best international practices, which we are able to share with our members. We are officially represented at meetings of these bodies, and we regularly participate in their activities, including contribution of information about South African practice. Both bodies are involved with the World Health Organisation, which aims to direct international health within the United Nations’ system and to lead partners in global health responses.
  • Monitoring of legislation – there are many laws that apply to influence pharmacy, such as the Pharmacy Act, Medicine and Related Substances Act, the National Health Act and others. There are also laws that directly influence the practice of pharmacy, such as the Medical Schemes Act, and draft legislation that will have a direct impact on our members, such as the National Insurance Bill. The PSSA scrutinises both published and draft legislation, and comments on aspects that will affect both members and the public. Periodically, members are asked for their opinions, and the PSSA appreciates it when people share their own experience and thoughts with the national office, as it provides insight into the realities experienced in public.

Make the most of your membership

We hope that we have reminded you of what the PSSA does for you. We urge you to participate actively in your branch or sector, or even at national level. The meetings are there for you to express your opinion, the CPD is there for you to polish your knowledge and skills, and all the activities mentioned here and in the table are intended to be for your benefit. Use them! Become an active member of our Society and reap the professional benefits!

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