Should pharmacists prescribe and initiate HIV medication?
A programme that allows some pharmacists holding the required permits to prescribe and initiate HIV medicines without people first having to get scripts from doctors or nurses, has been initiated by the Department of Health.
The programme seeks to improve linkage to HIV treatment and prevention therapy among under-reached and underserved communities.
However, the initiative known as Pharmacist-Initiated Management of ART or PIMART has been opposed by many doctors who say this initiative may not be good for patients.
South African Pharmacy Council president Mogologolo Phasha and African Viral Care Society HIV clinician and board member Dr Moeketsi Mathe gives more insight to the matter.
The introduction of PIMART is a public health response. The Department of Health spoke to pharmacists and said it has a burden of HIV/Aids and it needs to ensure that more people are enrolled.Mogologolo Phasha, President - South African Pharmacy Council
The department looked at how it could utilise its healthcare professionals to respond to the healthcare burden and that is how PIMART came about, he says.
Mathe however, says the difference here is that doctors, nurses and even clinical associates are clinicians.
These are people in the case of doctors spend six years, clinical associates four years and primary healthcare nurses five to six years learning of how to take a good history from a patient. And having an examination and coming up with a list of possible diseases and then ordering appropriate tests to answer the question of what is wrong with the patient and pharmacists don't have that.Dr Moeketsi Mathe, HIV clinician and board member - African Viral Care Society
Listen below to the full conversation:
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