South Africa has committed to “achieve Universal Health Coverage including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations. Therefore, an Essential Medicines List (EML) with supporting Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) has been developed, for different levels of care.
The respective STGs and EML for primary healthcare and hospital levels (adults and paediatrics), and the EML for tertiary level of care are described below. The STGs and EML satisfies the priority needs of the South African population, provided for by the National Drug Policy of 1996 and is based on the WHO EML concept of evidence-medicine principles of comparative efficacy, safety, and affordability. Developed and maintained by the ministerially appointed National Essential Medicines List Committee (NEMLC), Technical Expert Review Sub-Committees of NEMLC and the Essential Drugs Programme from the Affordable Medicines Directorate of the National Department of Health (NDoH).
The rationale for inclusion or exclusion of a medicine to the EML is described in NEMLC evidence reports, medicine reviews and costing analyses.
The therapeutic interchange database lists therapeutic alternatives for medicines listed on the respective EML.
The Primary Healthcare (PHC) EML and STGs allow for the management of patients with relatively common conditions at primary level of care. They also guide referral of patients with more complex or uncommon conditions to facilities with the skills and resources to provide further investigation and management. As such, they serve as a progression to Adult and Paediatric hospital level EMLs and STGs. The PHC STGs and EML should be used by healthcare workers providing care at clinics, community health centres, and gateway clinics at hospitals. Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committees (PTCs) are responsible for ensuring the availability of medicines listed in the PHC EML at those facilities, as well as at higher levels of care.
*Note: The updated chapters contained in this folder supersedes those contained in the complete PDF.
|Primary Healthcare Level 2020 edition
|Updated Chapters for the 2024 edition
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 1: Dental conditions 2020-3 with supporting NEMLC report
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 3: Nutrition and Anaemia 2020 with supporting NEMLC report
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 6: Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2020-3 with supporting NEMLC report & review. Updated November 2023
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 7: Family Planning 2020 with supporting NEMLC report
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 10: Infections 2020-3 with supporting NEMLC report. Updated November 2023
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 11: HIV and AIDs 2020 with supporting NEMLC report
|Primary Healthcare Chapter 13: Immunisation 2020 and supporting NEMLC report 2020 Updated July 2023