Surveillance of Notifiable Medical Conditions (NMCs) in South Africa

Did you know that failure by a nurse or doctor to report a Notifiable Medical Condition (NMC) is a criminal offence?

According to the National Health Act, 2003 (Act no.61 of 2003) and the current Regulations on Control of Communicable Diseases, every nurse and every doctor has a mandate to report all diagnosed cases of medical conditions that are stipulated as notifiable. Failure to do so is a criminal offense.

What is the current state of the national notification system?

The current system of reporting of Notifiable Medical Conditions is being re-engineered by the National Institute for Communicable Disease with the National Department of Health. Measures are being placed to ensure that we have a real-time functional reporting system that is able to detect notifiable diseases at an early stage in order to mount an appropriate, timeous public health response.

To date there have been a number of actions taken that include but are not limited to:

  • Revision of the current NMC Regulations, it is anticipated that these regulations will be promulgated in 2017 and they will be published on the HPCSA website as soon as they are finalised;
  • Assessment of the current notification processes and channels to identify limitations and learn from best practice;
  • Based on the findings of the national assessment, development of new notification systems and processes and strengthening of reporting and feedback structures;
  • Enhancement of laboratory and private sector based reporting of NMCs;
  • Continued awareness campaigns for the need to notify, what conditions are notifiable, and how to notify.

When will the new notification system be implemented?

A phased out national roll-out of the new system is scheduled to start in May 2017 and will be carried over a 18 month period.

As a health care practitioner (nurse or doctor) what am I expected to do?

Before the roll-out of the new system

Whenever you diagnose any one of the NMCs, complete a notification form available at your healthcare facility and submit it to the relevant responsible people within your healthcare facility and to your district or sub-district Communicable Diseases Control (CDC) office. Also send a copy via email to NMCsurveillanceReport@nicd.ac.za or fax to 086 639 1638

After the roll-out of the new system

As the new system is being rolled-out, comprehensive training will be conducted for all system users to ensure comprehension of and compliance with the new system. These training sessions will provide complete details on how to report NMCs.

For more information

Email: NMCsurveillanceReport@nicd.ac.za or call the NMC national surveillance hotline: 072 621 3805