Collecting your chronic medication at the clinic can be an inconvenient, frustrating and risky experience. These challenges make it more difficult than it should be for you to manage your high blood pressure, or HIV, or diabetes, or any other chronic condition.

You probably have to make a very early start to join the queue before the facility opens.

Perhaps you have to take time off work to go there, because you may well spend hours before you can pick up your medicine parcel – and for the most part, standing in all weathers while waiting.

To make things worse, sometimes the clinic has no more stocks of your medication, and you have to return on another day to collect your supply – taking more of your time, your money and your energy every month.

Now, there is a known risk of being exposed to COVID-19 during a visit to the clinic – and during the journey there and back using public transport.

Problems like these may have made you delay your collection visit, or led you to stop taking your medication. This is really dangerous for your health, as people with poorly managed chronic conditions are at greater risk of getting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill from it.

There is a solution: If your chronic condition has remained stable, you can collect your government-issued medication for free through a service called CCMDD (Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution) available from over 200 pick-up points across Durban.

This service is administered by the National Department of Health, in partnership with the private sector, as a National Health Insurance (NHI) initiative to make collection of chronic medication quick, easy, and community-orientated, and to reduce the pressure on public health facilities.

Keeping your chronic condition stable means having regular test results within the normal range, or your HIV viral load being suppressed for six months in a row.

If you can maintain this stability, you can register for CCMDD and collect your medication from pick-up points like Dis-Chem, Clicks, Pick ‘n Pay or even your local spaza shop. In eThekwini alone, more than 300 000 people are using the CCMDD service.

If your local clinic is still the most convenient location for you, you can register for the Spaced Fast Lane queue to speed up medicine collection.

To support stable chronic patients and the health system in coping with COVID-19 risks and restrictions, the CCMDD eligibility criteria have been changed so that more people can benefit from this service. Now you can qualify for CCMDD if:

  • you’re older than 18,
  • you have a chronic condition and your test results have been within the normal range for six months, and/or
  • you are HIV-positive and your most recent viral load test showed viral suppression.

So chat to your healthcare worker about registering for CCMDD.

To register, you will need a valid South African Identity Document, or a valid Asylum Seeker Permit, or a valid Foreign Passport.

CCMDD offers you a range of benefits, above and beyond convenient medicine collection:

  1. You can protect your health by avoiding crowded clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic and after it has passed.
  2. You can now collect a three-month supply of your medication.
  3. If you aren’t able to collect your medication yourself, you can nominate two other people, either of whom can collect it on your behalf.
  4. You will seldom have to face medicine shortages at the CCMDD pick-up points.

Learn more about how to get started here.