This is in the wake of The Pretoria High Court this week greenlighting the South African Pharmacy Council’s Pharmacy-Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Treatment (Pimart) initiative.
“We applaud any move which will expand access to HIV services. This decision ties into our healthcare ambitions and focus to provide integrated primary healthcare to a greater number of consumers, aimed at increasing access, reducing cost, and delivering better health outcomes for more South Africans,” says Tanya Ponter, executive manager at Dis-Chem.
“HIV and TB place significant burdens on the broader healthcare system so moves to improve access and availability of first line antiretrovirals and TB-preventative medicine is critical to improving the health outcomes of people living with HIV.
“Primary healthcare is gaining widespread recognition as being the “front door” of the healthcare system, and pharmacies are ideally positioned as a fundamental entry point to first line treatment protocols and the wider healthcare ecosystem,” she says.
The success of pharmacy-provided primary healthcare is increasingly being recognised by patients who value access, convenience, and affordability. Easier and wider availability of effective, day-to-day healthcare management will improve the management of existing conditions such as HIV and result in better prevention of more serious illness.
Ponter says Dis-Chem already has more than 400 Pimart-trained pharmacists and nursing practitioners who will fully abide by the expanded scope of practice and competency standards published by the SAPC, and applications for the necessary Section 22 (15A) permits will now be made to the Department of Health so that the service can be offered to customers.