KZN Health MEC urges churches to enter into strategic partnership on "Ikhemisi Eduze Nawe" initiative

If church establishment can provide secure office space with air-conditioning, we can provide chronic medication to more people

You don't always have to spend your last cent on transport to collect chronic medication at healthcare facilities anymore

09 April 2023

"Joining hands with churches to make them chronic medication collection centres will ease the burden on patients, as they will no longer need to spend their last money going to wait in long queues in health facilities for merely collecting medication."

This is the plea by KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, to churches in the Province. She has urged them to open their doors and assist community members by making it convenient for them to collect their medication closer to their homes.

MEC Simelane made this call at the various churches that she visited over this Easter Weekend in uMlazi.

Known as "Ikhemisi Eduze Nawe," the Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme aims to bring medicines to patients closer to their households, by making it available from pharmacies, community halls, churches, libraries, traditional courts, through an automated Pill Box system, as well as a bicycle distribution system.

All patients above the age of 5 years with chronic conditions are eligible to enroll for the Ikhemisi Eduze Nawe programme. But they must have been clinically stable for a period of at least six months (that is, without having had any relapse, nor experienced side effects, nor needed a change in medication or dosage), and must have proved to have been adherent to treatment.

Patients with all chronic medical conditions are eligible to register: from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis to those taking Anti-Retroviral Treatment for HIV/AIDS. However, the enrolment of TB clients on the programme is still being piloted, especially those on long regimens for drug-resistant TB.

How it works:

On the first day of collection, the patient is given the first issue of medication at the respective healthcare facility. The dates for subsequent collection at the pick-up point are then provided. SMS reminders are sent to the patients a few days before the collection date to constantly remind the patient to collect their medication.

The patient will also be given a review date to come back to the health facility for clinical review after six months (which is also communicated to the patient on their last collection at the pickup point).

MEC Simelane said: "It's a wonderful programme, that brings huge convenience to the people. But we have rebranded it, after noting that it is difficult for our patients to grasp the CCMDD abbreviation, which can prevent them from even knowing about the programme or taking part in it. We have given it a new name, which is Ikhemisi Eduze Nawe.

"So, if the church can provide us with a secure, lockable space with the requisite air-conditioning system where we can safely store our medication packs and decide on one collection dates per week for church members and surrounding communities, I am committing that we can ensure that we have an official from the department who will come and work there on those particular days.

"This will ease the burden on many patients who may end up defaulting on their medication because they cannot afford transport money to go to our clinics. We understand the dire socio-economic challenges faced by our people. A Gogo with a mere last R20 in her purse may be faced with a difficult choice to either get a taxi to the clinic or buy something to eat for her grandchildren. We therefore plead with the church establishment to accede to this noble proposal, which is aimed at assisting our people on chronic medication," Simelane pleaded.

The MEC also urged church congregants and community members in general who are on chronic medication to register on the Ikhemisi Eduze Nawe programme, so as to collect medication from their nearby centres.

Accreditation of community-based sites to provide medicine dispensing and distribution depends on the following criteria:

  • Accessibility of the site to the patients.
  • Infrastructure that must meet the minimum standards of good pharmacy practice for storage of medicines- security, availability of lockable lockers for storage of medicines, solid brick structure.
  • The facility must have electricity.
  • There must be sufficient network coverage to ensure that there is ease of transfer of data, to track parcel delivery and collection. This also assists in monitoring adherence of patients to treatment.
  • The owner of the premises must be SARS-compliant, and must meet the minimum requirements to be registered on the supply chain management data base.
  • There must always be someone who is available at the site to manage parcel collection and issuing from 08h00 to 16h00 every day, from Monday to Friday.

The CCMDD hotline number for KZN is 0800 212 350


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This page last edited on 11 July, 2023

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