Diseases / Lifestyle / Physical

Pharmacy week meets all the checks

By Siphokazi Zama and Youlendree Appasamy 

This past week, Rhodes University Pharmacy Students’ Association (RUPSA), hosted Pharmacy Week.  Youlendree Appasamy spoke to Tiisetso Morobi, RUPSA president, to find out more.

  • How long has Pharmacy Week been going and who organises it?

RUPSA is a society for pharmacy students, but is also open to non-pharmacy students. It is an established society and has been active on campus for quite some time. We organise Pharmacy Week.

Pharmacy Week forms part of South Africa’s National Health Calendar. The week aims at recognising the value of pharmacists in ensuring the safe usage of medication, and highlights how pharmacists play a pivotal role in the healthcare system.  They are intermediaries between prescription medication and the general public.

The National Pharmacy Week occurs from 1st – 8th of September 2014, but RUPSA hosted theirs from 25th-30th of August 2014 to accommodate the academic calendar.

  • What is Body-Check about?

Check-ups and test were done on Tuesday in Eden Grove and the results entered on  a handy take-home card. The tests normally include blood classification, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and body fat percentage. Unfortunately, the body fat percentage and BMI calculations could not take place, however, as the gym was closed due to the water crisis. The Health Care Centre was able to assist with performing the blood pressure and blood glucose tests. RUPSA partners with the Health SuiteHealth Care Centre and the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to perform these tests and check-ups on students and staff members at Rhodes University.

Body-Check is an offshoot of the programme called Students United Know Yourself Campaign of the South African Pharmaceutical Students Federation (SAPSF). This programme aims at getting the community to know themselves, their bodies, and their health status.

Due to the recent outbreak of Tuberculosis in Sub-Saharan Africa, TB tests were available at the Health Suite. Manager of the Health Suite, sister Heather Ferreira, said the centre has seen an increase in the number of TB cases on campus.

“The first semester we only had two clients with TB, now we have 14 clients on treatment” said Ferreira.

Interestingly, newly-diagnosed clients come to the centre after the holidays, so most students are infected at home.

Ferreira advised students with the symptoms of TB, which include chest pain, lack of appetite, night sweats and weight loss, to come for screening as quickly as possible.

Ferreira advised those who do not have the symptoms or are not infected, to keep their immune systems healthy by eating a well-balanced diet, drinking water, exercising and to cough into a tissue or the inside of their elbow.


Cacadu District Vital Statistics:

Maternal mortality: 173.3 per 100 000 live births

Child under 5 years diarrhoea case fatality rate: 2% of children in Cacadu

Child under 5 years severe acute malnutrition case fatality rate: 4% of children in Cacadu

Incidence (diagnosed cases) of TB: 1029 per 100 000 people

TB successful treatment rate (all TB): 76.7% of TB infected patients

Male condom distribution coverage: 12.2 per number of condoms per male 15 years and older

Adults remaining on ART at end of the month: 12 533 people


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