Embedding relevance in pharmacy training: a case study from South Africa


  • Mea van Huyssteen University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
  • Angeni Bheekie University of the Western Cape, Cape Town


Health Services, Pharmacy Practice, Pharmacy Training, Public Health, Relevance, Service-Learning


Background: South Africa’s shortage of health professionals is most pronounced in rural and underserved communities, where the burden of disease is greatest. One key question is: how pharmacy training contributes to preparing students to address local health priorities in these communities?

Aim: Our aim was to implement a first year service-learning activity that addressed a local health service need.

Method: Case study methodology was used to describe and analyse implementation of the service activity.

Results: Implementation entailed students pre-packing sugar and salt into a sachet for use by clinics for the treatment of diarrhoea-induced dehydration. This activity proved to be beneficial for student learning and the health services. Despite the two-pronged significance, key questions emerged about how this activity aligned with current pharmacy practice.

Conclusion: Our preliminary attempt to embed relevance in pharmacy training uncovered apparent inconsistencies in expectations for the role of the pharmacist between training institutions, accreditation bodies and the public health system. 

Author Biographies

Mea van Huyssteen, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

School of Pharmacy

Angeni Bheekie, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

School of Pharmacy


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Research Article