September was National Pharmacy Month 2017
Don’t Wait – Vaccinate
In September 2017, National Pharmacy Month superseded Pharmacy Week and ran for the whole of September. The aim of extending the awareness period was to strengthen the profession’s efforts to improve consumer awareness of the crucial role pharmacy professionals play in filfulfiling their daily healthcare needs, and to promote an understanding of the importance of pharmacy in the provision of quality healthcare.
National Pharmacy Month was enthusiastically supported by pharmacy professionals around the country; they took full advantage of the opportunity to champion the profession and highlight the contribution pharmacists make in the health and well-being of the people of South Africa.
Promotional material sent to pharmacies around the country included the Pharmacy Month official poster and flyers in eight official languages, a presenation for digital display in pharmacies, the SAPC official media release as well as links to download the official vaccination manual and other material from National Department of Health (NDoH). The profession was urged to use the month to promote pharmacy and visibly demonstrate the significant role the profession plays in the healthcare sector. Pharmacists were encouraged to promote the importance of vaccination in safeguarding the health of the country. Vaccines provide immunity from many infectious diseases and help prevent the spread of serious diseases, some of which can be fatal.
The key messages focused on emphasising the benefits of vaccines, what they give protection against, where they are available and when they should be administered. Individuals and families need to understand how important it is to protect themselves and to comply with the recommended vaccination schedules.
Posters and pamphlets, developed by the National Department of Health, Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa and South African Pharmacy Council, consisted of a central image of a child in the forefront of a mosaic image of the community.
The SAPC rolled out a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, with healthcare professionals encouraged to share their Pharmacy Month activties using the hashtag #PharmMonth2017. The profession ralied behind this call as can be attested by the number of social media messaging from pharmacy professionals across the country on Pharmacy Month throughout the awareness period. .
The SAPC and its partners once again urged the profession to make this year’s campaign the biggest and most impressionable yet. And the profession did not disappoint, reports and photos of Pharmacy Month activities are still streaming in.
We take this opportunity to share some of the Pharmacy Month stories below.
Pharmacy Month at Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
With an average of 80 patients visiting the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) per month and only two departments open (up to August 2017), any other hospital pharmacy would have postponed participating in this auspicious month until the hospital was fully functional. But not the NMCH Pharmacy! Under the guidance of their proactive Pharmacy Manager, Isabella Mphuthi, the NMCH Pharmacy staff did not sit on their laurels. They saw the month as an opportunity to educate colleagues in other hospital departments on the importance of vaccination, and show the value added by pharmacy in the healthcare value chain. Among others, the NMCH Pharmacy also used the 2017 Pharmacy Month to create awareness around pharmacy as a career hosting two high schools for their Career Day.
Life Bayview Private Hospital
Life Bayview Private Hospital set a very high target for its Pharmacy Month campaign, to reach and educate each and every soul in the Southern Cape of the Western Cape on the importance of vaccinating against preventable ailments – and it paid-off great dividends. The Life Bayview campaign was constituted by a comprehensive marketing communication mix, with in-pharmacy public activations, training of nursing students on immunisation, a staff wellness day, an in-hospital awareness campaign for patients and new mothers, and a very robust public awareness campaign through community media in the region. The Life Bayview Private Hospital Pharmacy also distributed immunisation schedules to patients and final year nursing students.
Worcester Hospital Pharmacy
Worcester Hospital Pharmacy made an educational display emphasising the benefits of vaccinations, what they give protection against, where they are available and when they should be administered. In addition, the display also gives information about the pharmacist’s role in maintaining the cold chain.