The main objective relating to the opening of the pharmacy was to establish a community pharmacy in a rural community. The pharmacy is found in Safi (Safi Pharmacy). The pharmacy improved the healthcare provision in this locality, especially amongst the elderly patients. This is of special relevance since this locality has the smallest population in the Southern Eastern region (1,948) with the second highest percentage Outside Development Zone (ODZ) area (86.3%).
The opening of the pharmacy has primarily catered for the population needs of this locality. However considering that the immediate adjacent villages are also rural areas, another aim was to create a hub for specialists to cater for the needs of the population who are living in the surrounding areas. In fact a market analysis was carried out to identify the subpopulations which were not being covered from a specialist’s point of view. The population needs which have been identified as lacking in the area included a Diabetologist, Respiratory Specialist, ENT Surgeon & Sports Doctor. These specialists who have now started attending the pharmacy have brought the residents and their healthcare providers nearer to each other. This has reduced unnecessary travelling of patients to distant locations to get specialists’ opinions. This is of special importance for elderly patients and those residents taking care of home-bound relatives.
Another socio-economic aspect is that when patients visit the pharmacy from surrounding areas, the small shops which are situated near the pharmacy also have an added benefit since new customers would also be attracted to these shops. Furthermore, ancillary products used in the running of the pharmacy such as paper and plastic bags are currently being procured from distributors based in Safi. This is of special importance to a rural setting where small companies survive on the purchases done by shops in their area.