South Africa

Differentiated Service Delivery in South Africa



Percent of health facilities providing less-intensive DSD models. All 4,200 ART facilities in the country have enrolled at least 10% of eligible recipients of care into less-intensive models. Source: October 2021 CQUIN DSD Dashboard staging

% In Less-Intensive
DSD Models


Percent of people on ART who are enrolled in less-intensive DSD models.Among 5,151,591 recipients of care currently on ART, 2,255,537 have been enrolled in less-intensive models. Source: National facility-level database, end June 2021

# of Less-Intensive
DSD Models

Number of less-intensive DSD models designed for people doing well on ART. Less-intensive models include: Facility Pick Up Point, Adherence Club, and External Pick Up Point. Source: October 2021 CQUIN data report

DSD Model

Number of groups for whom less-intensive DSD models have been designed and implemented.  Differentiated ART models are available for adults who are doing well on ART and eligible adolescents, as well as adults with co-morbidities, patients at high risk of disease progression, men, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and key and vulnerable populations. Source: October 2021 CQUIN DSD Dashboard staging

Differentiated Service Delivery Implementation in South Africa

South Africa joined the CQUIN learning network in 2017 as a thought leader in differentiated service delivery (DSD) design. The country has cultivated a wide diversity of models—from appointment spacing to fast track to facility-based clubs to community-based antiretroviral (ART) groups, services for adolescents and key populations, and more. In 2015, South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDOH) introduced national adherence guidelines for chronic diseases, folding DSD into the guidelines with the overarching aim to improve the effectiveness of all health services.

South Africa’s less-intensive DSD models are put into action through models that allow patients to collect medication both in and out of health facilities.  These models include:

  • Spaced and Fast Lane Appointments: whereby recipients of care receive a six-month prescription for medication available for pick-up every two months in their nearest health facility.  These patients do not need to wait in queues in the facility, but are fast tracked and are able to simply collect medication and leave the facility.
  • Adherence Clubs: clubs comprised of approximately 30 people, meeting on a bi-monthly basis to facilitate ART pickup and adherence support. Participants are also required to attend health clinics annually for check-ups.
  • External Pick-up Points: recipients can collect medication at community based, easy to access pick-up points such as private pharmacies, approved churches, post offices, and other collection points on a monthly basis. Recipients are still required to attend clinic visits at least once a year for clinical assessment and laboratory tests.

In addition to medication being distributed through the standard health system and facility mechanisms, South Africa has introduced the Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution system.  Through this mechanism, medication is pre-packed by an external service provider and delivered to pick-up points across the country. This reduces pressure on the South African medicine distribution system as the service providers become responsible for end to end distribution and only refer clients back into health facilities if they have issues that need to be addressed by a health care worker.

South Africa’s more-intensive DSD models include the Advanced Clinical Care models, which were shared with CQUIN colleagues from Malawi and Zimbabwe during a November 2018 CQUIN-supported south-to-south visit. The standardized package of care for patients at high risk includes daily and weekly home visits, spot pill counts, enhanced adherence counseling, clinical monitoring with viral load monitoring every two months, and decentralized pharmacovigilance. In addition to this more-intensive model, NDOH recognizes the importance of enhancing its community-based models to address the needs of patients at high risk of disease progression and is continually looking to strengthen and diversify models.

 Visit ICAP’s website for a broader portfolio of work in CQUIN network countries.


November 10-14, 2019 Johannesburg, South Africa Meetings Days 1-4 including Tools Lab

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