Having to collect one’s medicines at overcrowded public sector clinics with long queues can be time-consuming, disruptive, and, these days, may expose one to a risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Thabo Molelekwa takes stock of South Africa’s centralised chronic medicines dispensing and distribution programme, the Department of Health’s system for allowing more people to collect their chronic medicines closer to their homes or workplaces.
Stockouts of essential medicines have been a problem in North West province for years. Now, a new community monitoring report suggests many people are still being turned away from public sector clinics without treatment or asked to come back a week later. Thabo Molelekwa spoke to the people behind the report and asked the North West Department of Health for their response to it.
Unless timely action is taken, South Africa could be faced with a new form of “pharmaceutical apartheid,” like that experienced in the early days of the AIDS response, writes Professor Yousuf Vawda & Professor Brook K. Baker.