Research Articles

Patient experiences with designated service provider medication delivery in a rural general practice in KwaZulu-Natal: a cross-sectional study on HIV patients

V. V. Reddy, O. H. Mahomed
South African Family Practice | Vol 58, No 3 : May/June| a5671 | DOI: | © 2022 V. V. Reddy, O. H. Mahomed | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2022 | Published: 01 May 2016

About the author(s)

V. V. Reddy, Independent private practice, Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
O. H. Mahomed, Discipline of Public Health Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Background: Healthcare funders (medical schemes) have established disease management programmes (DMPs) and designated service providers (DSPs) to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes to meet legislative requirements. However, there is a paucity of studies that have researched patient experiences and adherence to medication through the DSP process.

Methodology: A retrospective cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted between January and June 2013 within the designated family practice amongst all HIV patients who were receiving antiretroviral treatment provided by healthcare funders via DSP agreements (Medipost, Direct Medicines, etc.) Data were collected using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire as well as a record review tool.

Results: The majority of patients (77%; 26) reported receiving antiretroviral medication deliveries on time, receiving a reminder before delivery (88%; 30) and receiving correct medications (77%; 26). Short messaging services (SMS) were the most popular method used to inform patients of an impending medicine with 85% (28) of all respondents reporting that they received SMS messages. Some 70% of the patients rated their satisfaction with DSP medication delivery between good and excellent. However, 30% of the patients rated the service as satisfactory to poor.

Conclusion and recommendation: DSP delivery of ART medication has fared well in this study, with the majority of patients satisfied with the services. This may in part be due to the higher level of education amongst the participants of the survey. A national study should be conducted using different population groups to identify the satisfaction and adherence to HIV medication amongst patients from a lower socio-demographic profile.


antiretroviral treatment; designated service providers; HIV and AIDS; private practice


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