4 February 2004

Release Date: 2004/02/04

National retail group New Clicks Holdings, which will soon be opening pharmacies in several of its Clicks stores around the country, today launched a training programme for state hospitals in the Free State to provide courses for pharmacists’ assistants, assessors and also continuing professional development programmes for pharmacists.

The programme is being run with the Sibanye Academy, which is the training and education arm of Purchase Milton & Associates (PM&A), the largest corporate pharmacy group in the country.

Professor Lien Els, the head of the Academy, said with the escalating medical costs in South Africa, pharmacy is increasingly becoming a patient’s first port of call to obtain medical advice. However, with the current shortage of pharmacists, this is a challenging task.

“The pharmacists’ assistant plays an important role in assisting the pharmacist to provide the quality of service that is needed. The assistant is responsible for the execution of routine work, while the pharmacist focuses on patient care.

“The shortage of pharmacists and the need to provide a growing number of patients with primary health care is even more daunting in state hospitals. The pharmacists’ assistant therefore also plays a pivotal role in this environment to assist the pharmacist to focus on the professional service that is needed.”

The Sibanye Academy is focused on addressing the backlog in the theoretical and practical training in the pharmacy environment. Several courses have been designed to train pharmacists’ assistants in the workplace.

Prof Els said an essential element of the programme is the training of tutors and assessors. “The aim of training the tutors is to assist the adult learner in the learning process and also to create a learning-friendly environment in the workplace. Assessors are trained to assess the competency of learners and also to assist the learner and the tutor to further the process of learning. Sibanye is still responsible for the moderation of learners and tutors.”

This is the first social responsibility programme of its kind to be undertaken by a corporate in South Africa and underlines New Clicks’ commitment to the promotion of primary healthcare, to the raising of standards of primary healthcare and also to addressing the shortages of pharmacists by training more competent pharmacists’ assistants.

New Clicks is currently finalising a similar programme for the Western Cape, and has extended an invitation to all departments of health to take part in the programme.

The programme includes:
– Courses for institutional pharmacists’ assistants
– Courses for wholesale pharmacists’ assistants
– Training of assessors
– Training of facilitators
– Continuing professional development (for pharmacists, nursing practitioners and qualified pharmacists’ assistants)
– HIV/AIDS courses for pharmacists, nursing practitioners and pharmacists’ assistants which will enable the healthcare professional to help patients in the remote areas of the country to understand the disease, to give guidance in terms of the use of their medication and to manage basic health conditions. In many areas, patients have only a pharmacists’ assistant to rely on and it is important that they be included in this course.

New Clicks’ involvement in pharmacy dates back more than 30 years to when Clicks was founded. The chain store was originally conceived as a drugstore, but legislation in South Africa prevented non-pharmacists from owning pharmacies. This legislation only changed in May last year, when corporates were allowed to own pharmacies for the first time. New Clicks is now able to implement its healthcare strategy, in line with the Government’s broader vision of making affordable healthcare more accessible to broader communities.

Issued by Tier 1 Investor Relations on behalf of the Clicks Group
For further information kindly contact
Graeme Lillie, Tier 1 Investor Relations 021 702 3102 / 082 468 1507

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