09 March 2016

Department of Health will electronically track medicine stockouts

The SA Department of Health is working on an electronic system to monitor the availability of medication with the help from healthcare workers.


The Stop Stock Outs Project (SSP), a coalition of six civil society organisations monitoring the availability of medicines in South African public health facilities, has welcomed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s allocation of R300m for developing a national electronic medicine stock management system.

Logistical and administrative challenges

Minister Gordhan made the announcement during his budget speech in Parliament on 24 February.

“The Stop Stock Outs Project views the announcement of an electronic stock management system as a positive sign that the South African government is committed to taking measures to address stock outs in our struggling health system,” said Sue Tafeni, SSP Project Manager.

Read: Red flag over HIV medicine stock out

“Establishing an electronic system needs to go hand in hand with addressing  logistical and administrative challenges within the current medicine supply system to optimise its effectiveness. Until then, much deeper collaboration between civil society, health care workers and the National Department of Health is required to address the scale of stock outs in this country.

"As response rates of over 85% in our past two surveys demonstrate, health care workers are willing to engage in reporting and problem solving."

The SSP conducted its annual survey between October and December 2015, asking facilities nationwide questions about stock outs that were on-going, or had occurred in the past three months.

The SSP will release the full results of its 2015 survey in six weeks’ time. 

For further information or to conduct interviews with SSP coalition members, please contact Ryan Fortune on 072-350-0851 or

Also read:

SA launches world’s first early drug stock out warning system

Motsoaledi: Shortage of children's ARVs

ARV shortages: DA is convinced the health department is to blam


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