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KZN patients get easy access to medication

Written by Noluthando Motswai
More than half a million people in KwaZulu-Natal no longer travel long distances or stand in queues to collect their chronic medication.

The Central Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) system, launched by the Department of Health in 2014, is proving to be fruitful in KwaZulu-Natal.

Currently about 504 000 patients are benefiting from the programme which has 558 pick-up points across the province.

The department plans to grow the collection points to 746 by the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

Patients who are part of the programme are those who need medication for non-communicable ailments, such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and communicable diseases like HIV and drug resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB).

Patients can pick up their medication at community halls, tribal courts, churches, retail stores, crèches and Operation Sukuma Sakhe War Rooms in the department’s 11 districts.

Over 500 000 people are now benefiting from the Central Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution system which has 558 pick-up points across KwaZulu-Natal where patients can collect their medication.KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo announced the large-scale roll-out of the programme at Mzumbe Municipality, where he officially opened a CCMDD pick-up point at the old Nyangwini clinic.

“Approximately 60 percent of prescriptions at public sector pharmacies and clinics are for chronic stable patients. This leads to long waiting times at the facilities, and also causes an unnecessary workload on the public facilities,” said the MEC.

He said the cost of transport for patients to reach a facility was significant because some were low-income households that rely on social grants to make ends meet monthly.

The CCMDD is for chronic stable patients who have been on treatment for a long time and do not require anything additional from the health service.

MEC Dlomo explained that there is a central storage facility where medicines are selected, labelled and packed for individual patients as per their prescriptions.

“The package is then delivered to a mutually acceptable collection point, which we call the pick-up-point. The patient receives notification via SMS that the medication has been dispatched, and is ready for collection,” said MEC Dhlomo.

Community care givers are able to collect for their patients in line with their itinerary and clinic arrangements with a patient who is not able to visit the clinic. Patients can also register a relative or treatment buddy to collect medication on their behalf.

To be part of the programme patients must register at a Department of Health facility and choose a pick-up-point that is convenient for them.

They must bring their identity document/passport or permit to register and collect treatment. Collection dates are written on the collection card.

For any enquiries regarding registration or collection of medicines, patients are urged to:

  • Call the toll-free number: 0800 070 070
  •  Send a Please-call-me: 073 161 7102

Supplied by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health