MESSAGE FROM NEW HPA CHAIRPERSON, MARIA ASCENCAO

“I extend sincerest thanks and appreciation to my fellow members of the Executive Council of the Health Products Association who have elected me Chairperson of the HPA. I’m humbled and honoured that they have entrusted me with this responsibility.

Taking the reins at this time is made easier by the groundwork laid by previous Chairmen; Bruce Dennison, Dr Alan Thomlinson and Norman Fels, and their right-hand powerhouse, HPA Secretary, Deirdre Allen. Despite the unprecedented events confronting this industry, my predecessors and their respective EXCO members successfully brought the industry together to work through the many challenges of doing business within a changing and uncertain regulatory landscape.  Creative solutions were found, some difficult decisions were made, and overall great strides were achieved in the best long-term interests of the entire industry.

The biggest achievement, however, was not just to successfully negotiate through a clearer understanding of the CAMS and Natural Health paradigm with the Department of Health and the Medicines Control Council but also that, through these many efforts, a CAMS Committee was set up within the MCC. In the last five years, the CAMS Marketing Code was created by the HPA, and the HPA’s Scientific and Technical Committee was set up under the excellent directorship of Wayne Robinson. The HPA strategically focused on the fundamental strengths of our industry, how it could be improved, and how it can best be positioned for the future.

As a result, the HPA has dramatically improved relationships with regulators and other more allopathic industry associations, has embraced transparency and good governance and enhanced the HPA’s role and infrastructure with new, talented people who are bringing fresh perspectives to key challenges.

I’m excited to begin work on behalf of the HPA and its members to promote positive communications and public relations, training and education, to the highest standards of products and services, and to find a new approach to effectively communicate the benefits and strengths of the industry within the wellness paradigm.

The HPA and its members ultimately represent millions of South Africans who take health supplements and use CAMS for preventative and primary health care. Not only are CAMS and Health Supplement companies a crucial part of South Africa’s economy and provide jobs and opportunities in South Africa, they give consumers the opportunity to make educated choices to fill critical nutrient gaps and achieve better health.

Above all to continue the good work of effectively representing the interests of the SA Natural health and CAMS industry at all level of the legislative, regulatory and Parliamentary process and to work proactively with other industry associations to achieve this aim.”

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