African Journal of
Pharmacy and Pharmacology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pharm. Pharmacol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0816
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPP
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 2258

Full Length Research Paper

Clinical Pharmacy in South Africa: Qualitative investigation of perspectives of practicing pharmacists

Elmien Bronkhorst
  • Elmien Bronkhorst
  • School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
Natalie Schellack
  • Natalie Schellack
  • School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
Andries GS Gous
  • Andries GS Gous
  • School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 25 August 2022
  •  Accepted: 01 November 2022
  •  Published: 30 November 2022


The National Department of Health identified the need for Universal Health Coverage, highlighting improved access to quality healthcare in South Africa.Clinical pharmacists play a vital role in various settings, including medication safety, therapeutic drug monitoring and antimicrobial stewardship. Healthcare-related key performance indicators measures quality that ensure accountability, improve patient safety and assist decision-making. To understand the perceptions of pharmacists regarding education, barriers and outcome measures on practices of clinical pharmacy, this study employed qualitative research, with focus-group discussions and in-depth interviews.Dialogue from interviews and focus-groups were audio-taped, transcribed and stored as MS-Word™ documents.  NVivo® were utilised to identify themes.Pseudo-names ensured participant confidentiality.Ethics approval was obtained from the Sefako Makgatho University Research and Ethics committee, participating private-healthcare groups and Government Research Offices. Pharmacists were interviewed in eight provinces, identifying seven themes. The majority of pharmacists felt that notable differences exist between the scope of practice of ward- and clinical pharmacists. Most pharmacists did not know the definition of pharmaceutical care.The consensus was that clinical functions require more in-depth work than functions by general pharmacists. All pharmacists experienced barriers to performing their functions. Mostly outcome measures used by pharmacists pertain to antimicrobial stewardship, pharmacists felt that additional training is necessary to perform clinical functions. Clinical work is considered more intense and requires greater involvement in multidisciplinary teams. The study contributes to the state of clinical pharmacy in South Africa.  It provides insight into the different levels of clinical pharmacy practice. The findings provide insights into the implementation of Clinical pharmacy services in developing countries.

Key words: Clinical pharmacy, pharmaceutical care, barriers, outcome measures.