A day in the life of a pharmacy manager

30 April 2024 | Story Kamva Somdyala. Photo Lerato Maduna. Read time 3 min.
Pharmacy manager, Asanda Ndinisa.
Pharmacy manager, Asanda Ndinisa.

“I find joy and fulfilment in using my expertise to improve the next person’s quality of life.” This is the passion with which the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) pharmacy manager, Asanda Ndinisa, approaches her job.

Part of the Department of Student Affairs’ (DSA) student wellness programme, the pharmacy opened in late 2023. This was a gamechanger for UCT, as it was the first time that the university had a licenced pharmacy on campus and could trade for students. The pharmacy is housed at the Student Wellness Clinic in the Ivan Toms Building. At its core, the student-centred pharmacy was lauded as a step in increasing students’ access to primary healthcare medication and preventive care on campus.

Ndinisa – a pharmacist by profession – began her association with UCT’s Student Wellness Service (SWS) in October 2020 when she started the application process for the pharmacy licencing. Hailing from the small town of Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, Ndinisa said she comes from a family of “workaholics”. “[I] have always valued the dignity of labour. I believe that every worker deserves to be treated with respect and fairness and these are some of the principles I uphold in the workplace,” she said.


“We are committed to providing quality, affordable healthcare to every student who walks through our doors. We believe in treating all our students with respect and empathy.”

“One of the greatest changes is the provision of repeat prescriptions (up to six months). Students that are stable on treatment are now able to receive repeat prescriptions without needing to see clinicians every month. This has helped free up consultation slots for other students needing to consult,” said Ndinisa.

“We are committed to providing quality, affordable healthcare to every student who walks through our doors. We believe in treating all our students with respect and empathy.

“We have received positive feedback from students using our services, with some citing the repeat medication collection process as seamless. A lot of our students truly appreciate the fact that upfront payment is not required as the bills get transferred to student accounts.”

Foot traffic

For workers at the pharmacy, it is common to have a “busy season” and Ndinisa explained that for them, it is usually around exam time. “Exam stress and/or anxiety tends to cause physical symptoms that students would then seek help for. We also experience increased foot traffic when there’s a particular bug circulating.”

On any other day, Ndinisa’s day would typically start with her dispensing prescriptions for students that have booked for collection of repeat prescriptions, followed by checking stock levels and restocking medication. “I would then consolidate statistics for the Department of Health’s monthly report, as well as a monthly report for SWS reporting. I would also process orders for our outreach clinic. Provision of medication and counselling to students happen throughout the day as the students present themselves to the pharmacy.”

She added that the service has contributed positively to both students and the team she works with, and on this Workers’ Day she chooses to reflect “on the battles that were fought for workers’ rights throughout history, a day to reflect on and celebrate the vital role that workers play in society”.

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