Short Report - Special Collection: COVID-19

Home delivery of medication during Coronavirus disease 2019, Cape Town, South Africa: Short report

Zameer Brey, Robert Mash, Charlyn Goliath, Darrin Roman
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 12, No 1 | a2449 | DOI: | © 2020 Zameer Brey, Robert Mash, Charlyn Goliath, Darrin Roman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 April 2020 | Published: 04 June 2020

About the author(s)

Zameer Brey, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa
Robert Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Charlyn Goliath, Metropolitan Health Services, Western Cape Government, Cape Town, South Africa
Darrin Roman, Metropolitan Health Services, Western Cape Government, Cape Town, South Africa

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The public sector primary care facilities in Cape Town serve a large number of patients with chronic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Prior to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, stable patients with chronic conditions attended the facility or support groups to obtain their medication. During the COVID-19 epidemic, these patients would be put at risk if they had to travel and gather in groups to receive medication. The Metropolitan Health Services, therefore, decided to offer home delivery of medication. A system of home delivery was rapidly established by linking the existing chronic dispensing unit system with the emerging approach to community-orientated primary care in the Metro. Medication was delivered as usual to primary care pharmacies, but then a variety of means were used to disseminate the parcels to local non-profit organisations, where they could be delivered by a city-wide network of community health workers (CHWs). Innovations included various ways of delivering the parcels, including via Uber, bicycles and electric scooters, as well as Google forms to monitor the success of the initiative. It was estimated that up to 200 000 parcels per month could be delivered in this way via 2500 CHWs. The new system was established throughout the Metropole, and its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are further discussed. The initiative may prevent COVID-19 amongst people with comorbidities who would be at risk of more severe diseases. It may also have de-congested primary care facilities ahead of the expected surge in COVID-19 cases.


primary care; COVID-19; community health workers; chronic disease; medication adherence


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Crossref Citations

1. TB and COVID – Public and private health sectors adapt to a new reality
Joel Shyam Klinton, Charity Oga-Omenka, Petra Heitkamp
Journal of Clinical Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases  vol: 21  first page: 100199  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1016/j.jctube.2020.100199