Rural community service pharmacists – things you should know
Community service is a compulsory 12 months placement programme that pharmacists are required to perform after completing their internship. The programme is a legal requirement set by the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) to enable one to register as a pharmacist under section 14A of the Pharmacy Act, 53 of 1974. Community service placements assist the government in getting services to the rural and previously disadvantaged communities. In 1998 doctors were the first healthcare professionals who were legally obligated to perform community service. This led the way for professions such as dentistry, pharmacy, allied health services and nursing to also be legally obligated to perform community service. Today pharmacist interns must apply online for community service posts. However, not everyone gets placed at their desired institution or place of choice. Applicants can either be placed in rural or urban healthcare facilities. In my opinion, pharmacists placed in rural areas experience greater professional growth and witness increased opportunities for creating a legacy.