An ICPA Viewpoint
Recently the South African Pharmacy Council removed the ban on Pharmacists selling HIV self testing kits. ICPA supports the expanded service options for patients and making testing available as widely as possible. This fits in with the need for the NDOH to expand this service in their 90-90-90 campaign, by promoting awareness of the disease, ensuring accessibility of medicines and advocating self-care. Independent Pharmacies are well placed through-out the country both in urban and outlying areas to assist delivery of the service due to the following reasons:
- Ease of access to this healthcare professional over evenings and weekends ensuring our slow
economy is not further impacted on, by leave days.
- Ease of access to patients within their own communities to be tested by a professional they trust.
- Those that will offer the service are well trained to perform this scope of practice.
Patients however must be cautioned not to view this as just another home test. Testing at home comes with certain risks and they should feel free to discuss this if they choose this option with their Health Care Professional in the community who will provide the necessary counselling. The test results either way needs to be confirmed or verified. Using these tests will require the patient to seek pre and post-test counselling, as they currently do in the different environments that these tests are being provided in.
They can be assured of high quality standards as these processes have been monitored and evaluated by the SA Pharmacy Council regularly as they do with all processes in pharmacy. Independent Pharmacy is excited to expand their role in providing the service. This must also be seen as 2000 Independent Pharmacies employing 20000 registered health care persons including 3000 pharmacists that are looking for ways to assist government in dealing with SA burden of disease. This change must be seen as a step in the right direction and will assist in bringing the dream of NHI closer.