Minister Mbombo celebrates our unsung heroes at Medicines Information Centre | Western Cape Government


Minister Mbombo celebrates our unsung heroes at Medicines Information Centre

16 September 2023

Yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, visited the Medicines Information Centre (MIC) at Groote Schuur Hospital to showcase the important work being done to ensure pharmacovigilance in the Western Cape.

Pharmacovigilance is a crucial component of the healthcare sector, as it ensures that medication that is dispensed is monitored for any possible adverse effects after it has been licensed for public use.

The MIC, which is situated in UCT’s Division of Clinical Pharmacology, is contracted by the department to perform assessments on all adverse drug reaction (ADR) reports in our healthcare facilities. These reports are then sent to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) pharmacovigilance unit.

While this is standard practice across South Africa, the Western Cape is the only province thus far that sends feedback to healthcare professionals when the quarterly and annual reports are completed. This provides for greater co-learning opportunities and analysis.

In addition, the MIC has been providing free advisory services to all healthcare workers which furthers patient safety when medication is dispensed. Owing to it being located at UCT, it has access to immense resources and literature which further capacitates its ability to render its services to healthcare professionals.

Since its inception, it has answered more than 248 000 medicine-related queries which has included assisting approximately 72 000 HIV/TB patients. In August 2023 alone, 610 queries were answered of which almost half were from doctors.

Speaking at the event, the Manager of the Medicines Information Centre, Annoesjka Swart, added: “The MIC has been providing an essential service to health care workers across South Africa since 1980. In celebration of Pharmacy Month, I am proud to say that the MIC is staffed by specially trained pharmacists who are helping to ensure the safe and rational use of medicines. Without well-researched, unbiased, and up-to-date information, medicines cannot be prescribed effectively or safely. Our goal ultimately is to improve patient care and outcomes.”

Minister Mbombo ended by saying: “As we celebrate Pharmacy Month in September, we have to take a moment to recognise the unseen work of our unsung heroes: our pharmacists. These professionals are the custodians of our medicines and play a crucial role in the rendering of services in the healthcare sector.

I am particularly grateful for the partnership between the Department of Health and Wellness, MIC and UCT. The success of this work further highlights the importance of all stakeholders.” 

Listen to the statement Minister Mbombo gave at the Medicines Information Centre: