Nonsikelelo Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
THE Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe (PSZ) annual indaba opened in Victoria Falls yesterday amid calls for the association to seek partnerships with external suppliers so as to grow the industry.
Hundreds of pharmacists and product dealers from related fields are attending the conference running under the theme, “The pharmacist we want -Providing more than just medicines.”
Officiating at the occasion, Deputy Central Bank Governor Dr Jesimen Tarisai Chipika who was guest of honour said payment lines will be opened to support the pharmaceutical sector.
She said while the country is facing serious shortage of foreign currency, government through the Reserve Bank was trying to come up with measures to curb unscrupulous dealings and the black market.
“Zimbabwe is not competitive at the moment. The bond notes were not introduced to solve the cash crisis but to make the economy competitive. The country has been described as the fishing ground for United States dollars hence as Central Bank we are working on putting measures to ensure that illicit financial dealings don’t happen.
“The main strategy is to provide financial support to the pharmaceutical sector by opening payment lines and rebuilding Nostro accounts. The pharmaceutical industry should also take the current foreign currency constraints as an opportunity to build relations and create joint ventures with companies and countries they import from so that these can come and set up businesses in Zimbabwe to create employment,” said the deputy governor.
Dr Chipika challenged financial institutions and development partners to support entrepreneurs who venture into the pharmaceutical sector to facilitate importation of drugs and other services.
She said the health sector is core to the economy especially in meeting Sustainable Development Goal number 3, which seeks to ensure a healthy life and wellbeing. Dr Chipika said the economy was showing signs of recovery hence the need for serious investment in industry, the pharmaceutical sector being one of them.
Speaking at the same occasion, PSZ president Mr Sikhumbuzo Mpofu said functionality of the health sector is measured by availability of services.
“The functionality of every health sector worldwide is measured by the availability and access to medicines in that nation especially for the vulnerable communities, the young, women and pregnant mothers,” he said.
Also to be discussed during the conference which ends today are challenges and deficiencies in the industry, the role of the regulator in shaping the industry as well non-communicable diseases. PSZ seeks to promote the work and obligations of the pharmacy profession – encouraging goodwill among pharmacists and members of allied professions, setting standards of practice and subscribing to an ethical code. Broadening and increasing knowledge of the art and science of pharmacy both within and outside the profession continues to be the mandate of the society.
It is also the objective of the PSZ to monitor and advise on pharmacy training and encouraging students and post-graduate young pharmacists in the ways and mysteries of pharmacy.
The society works hand-in-hand with various regulatory bodies to ensure these objectives are upheld, thus ensuring the good health of the nation through quality service provision.
This is done through continued collaboration and integration with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), and the Pharmacists’ Council of Zimbabwe (PCZ).
Over the years, members have received support and guidance in their respective areas of practice through the Society’s Code of Ethics. The PSZ is guided in international practice through its membership and affiliation to other regional and international bodies such as the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Association (CPA), the International Federation of Pharmaceutics (FIP), the African Pharmaceutical Forum (APF) and the Southern African Development Committee (Sadc) Pharmaceutical component.
The Society is committed to providing quality services to patients through its members. As such, the PSZ is involved in various activities including the University of Zimbabwe Golf Fund, where with each conference, the Society hosts a Golf Day whose proceeds have benefited the UZ School of Pharmacy through equipment and chemicals that have been purchased for the School.
The PSZ Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo branches have adopted Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home on a long-term basis.
Through efforts to keep abreast with the ever changing face of pharmacy the world over, as well as to stay in line with its objectives, the Society has been instrumental in organising and participating in activities that seek to curb drug abuse.
A key role of pharmacists is to ensure appropriate use of medicines, and safeguard against inappropriate use of both medicines and poisons.
It is the Society’s mandate to ensure drug abuse in Zimbabwe is minimised. The Society is currently working on programmes to increase publicity of Rationale Drug Use that incorporates use and abuse of drugs. The PSZ is headed by an executive committee that is elected at an annual general meeting.
The executive is made up of a President, Vice President, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary and the Immediate Past President. This team is involved in the day-to-day administration of the Society with assistance from an administrative secretary based at the Society office.
The executive committee reports all its activities to the Council, which is comprised of ten voting members six of which are elected through the branches, three representatives from each of the two branches; three national members elected into office by the members, and one representative from the PCZ.
Other members that sit on the Council include representatives from each affiliate that is recognised by the Society. These members carry through any decisions made by members and meet on a regular basis.
The members of the Society are currently split into two branches; the Mashonaland/Manicaland Branch, and the Matabeleland/Midlands/Masvingo Branch. It is at branch level where members interact and provide information and feedback on issues that are relevant to practice, and any recommendations on practice policies.
Great strides in pharmacy have been made since the country attained its independence in 1980. The founder members of the profession in this country observed high standards and set an example to those who followed. Remarkably, the very earliest, Strachan and Co is the only one to have retained the original name, now Strachan’s Photo Pharmacy (Pvt) Ltd. and still stands in Baker Avenue (now Nelson Mandela). — @nonsy_m