The Northern Cape Department of Health has absorbed 99 pharmacy assistant learners as permanent staff. According to the department, this once-off programme started in 2020, targeting 100 young people across the province.
Health MEC Maruping Lekwene says the Pharmacy Assistant Learnership Programme was made possible through training funding allocated by the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) in the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 financial years.
He says the province is committed to ensuring better service delivery and is confident that the appointments will help build a ‘resilient and sustainable system within healthcare facilities for service delivery’.
The learners will be employed at facilities close to where they live.
MEC Lekwene says that of the
pharmacy assistant learners enrolled in 2020, 13 learners completed their Post Basic Pharmacy Assistant qualification during 2021.
The remaining 86 learners completed their Basic Pharmacy Assistant qualification during 2021 and were subsequently enrolled for the Post Basic qualification when
funding was once again secured from HWSETA for the 2021/22 financial year.
Mzwandile Petrus Tshonto (36) from Kimberley saw an advert for the programme in a local newspaper in 2020 and applied.
“Before applying for the programme, I was working as an administration clerk at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital (Kimberley hospital). I saw this as an opportunity to empower myself and improve my skills,” he says.
Tshonto says the programme helped him understand more about medicine and the importance of pharmaceuticals.
“It expanded my knowledge of medicine, how it works, how to preserve and dispense it, and such. It also showed me the importance of medication to the public. Overall, I can say my career has taken an upturn in terms of growing, developing and furthering my skills and knowledge.”
So inspired is Tshonto that he is working on becoming a fully-fledged pharmacist. He hopes to open a pharmaceutical college in the province one day, to enhance and broaden the pharmaceutical field and create more employment for locals.
In order to become a Pharmacist’s assistant (basic), you need to obtain a certificate of qualification in South Africa from a provider of education and training approved by the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC).