Pack programme brings primary healthcare to the people


pack---textHealthcare workers will through the Pack be able to diagnose and manage a range of common ailments. (Image: UCT)

A comprehensive low-cost medical tool, the Practical Approach to Care Kit, or Pack, which allows healthcare workers to diagnose and manage a range of common ailments, is now being rolled out by South Africa’s University of Cape Town.

Pack covers 40 common symptoms and 20 conditions including cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, TB, HIV and Aids, women’s health, and end-of-life care. This makes it an essential for poorer, under-resourced regions

Now BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge company, has joined with the UCT Lung Institute’s Knowledge Translation Unit to develop and distribute the Pack programme to healthcare workers in low to middle-income countries.


This collaboration will train and support doctors, nurses and pharmacists to improve primary healthcare in underdeveloped areas. BMJ will provide technical development, marketing, sales and licensing to help implement the Pack programme globally.

“It is crucial for healthcare workers to be provided with the latest evidence-based recommendations, and locally relevant information, to diagnose and treat patients effectively,” said Dr Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief at BMJ.

“We are delighted to partner with UCT to bring the programme for use in underserved communities to help improve the delivery of primary care.”

In accordance with South Africa’s National Development Plan or Vision 2030, in the healthcare sectorhuman capacity is key. Managers, doctors, nurses and community health workers need to be appropriately trained and managed, produced in adequate numbers, and deployed where they are most needed.

Since Pack was first launched in South Africa in 2007, it has reached 20 000 health workers in 2 000 clinics and hospitals across the country.