MPhil study projects

Effectiveness of the central dispensing unit (CDU) in the distribution of ART from the perspective of HIV+ patients and primary healthcare (PHC) clinics in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg

Student: Virginia Apandju Osako Ngende

Country: South Africa

South Africa shoulders a substantial HIV burden, with about 7,1 million cases. UNAIDS (2016) reported that only 59% of HIV-positive people have access to antiretroviral treatment (ART).

One strategy aimed at enhancing ART accessibility is the implementation of chronic dispensing units. CDUs centralise the dispensing and packaging of chronic medication, aiming to reduce patient waiting times and healthcare worker burdens. This research investigated the efficacy of CDUs in ART distribution, focusing on CDU-enrolled patients and primary healthcare nurses in selected clinics in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg.

The study employed a mixed-method approach, combining qualitative and quantitative techniques such as interviews, self-administered questionnaires and document reviews. Sixty patients and eleven nurses participated voluntarily, providing insights into socio-demographic characteristics and perceptions of CDU services. Patient responses indicate reduced clinic waiting times and high satisfaction with CDU service delivery. Nurses reported improved ART accessibility. Shortcomings in CDU services, including late or insufficient parcel deliveries and transportation issues, however posed challenges to service quality.