Community service pharmacist, public health advocate
As a Sefako Magkatho Health Sciences University graduate and a community service pharmacist at Thabazimbi Hospital in Limpopo, Nsovo Mayimele (26) spends a great deal of time talking to patients and supporting rural clinics in the area. This experience has given her insight into a range of challenges in the healthcare sector, and has strengthened her resolve to help.
Mayimele believes government, healthcare professionals and patients need to view public health as an integral part of the socioeconomic “big picture” and that access to healthcare and health knowledge must be stepped up, particularly in rural areas. She is working to change mind-sets and increase knowledge on a number of fronts, including serving as president of the Junior Public Health Association of South Africa, social development officer of the International Youth Council South Africa and working with Chrovon Dreams, an organisation that promotes education for marginalised youth.
Her involvement in advocacy bodies frequently sees her arranging conferences and moderating panel discussions both locally and internationally, in addition to her daily community service pharmacy work in Thabazimbi. Her job sees her advising patients in the hospital and in rural areas, as well as helping with pharmaceutical stock management at primary healthcare clinics. Having observed a lack of understanding among patients about how and why they should take their medications, she is currently completing an advice booklet, which she hopes to distribute to patients. As a Women Deliver Young Leaders programme fellow, she takes every opportunity to learn more about public health issues impacting women in particular, and to advocate for healthier behaviours. Mayimele is turning her passion for photography and video into an opportunity to create informative public health messages, but she believes direct contact is the best approach in rural areas.
“I simply go up to groups of people and chat to them to spread information. Luckily I’m very talkative, I make an effort to befriend people, and I try not to hurt their feelings. It’s important to understand the ‘why’, before giving people advice. This friendly, down-to-earth approach has more impact than when you deliver information from behind a white clinical coat,” she says.
Mayimele pursued a master’s in pharmacy (public health and management). Her research, based on quality improvement in pharmaceutical stock management, won multiple awards on national and international platforms. — Tracy Burrows