Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List for South Africa. Hospital Level, Adults. Fourth edition, 2015
(2015; 547 pages)


Access to essential medicines is a fundamental component in ensuring equitable health care to all South African citizens. The Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) and Essential Medicines List (EML) provides a platform for equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable treatment options. It is thus my honour to introduce the 4th Edition of the Adult Hospital Level STGs and EML.

Essential medicines are selected through the review of available clinical evidence, considering efficacy, safety and affordability. The STGs provide guidance for the rational use of these essential medicines.

New features have been incorporated into the revised Adult STGs and EML for Hospital Level care. These include the level of evidence and supporting citations, new algorithms and a warnings and cautions for medicine use reference. Additionally, the revised edition of the STGs and EML will be available in mobile application format. This is intended to improve accessibility to all healthcare professionals at all levels of care, and allows health care professionals immediate access to up-to-date information and decision support at their fingertips.

The extensive use of antimicrobials has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse the life-saving power of these medicines. The revised STGs and EML features a quick antimicrobial reference appendix supporting the initiative of antimicrobial stewardship. In addition, a more comprehensive care package for anaesthesiology, pain and intensive care is included.

The revised publication is the culmination of many months of intensive review by the National Essential Medicines List and Adult Expert Review Committees, as well as collaboration and peer review from various internal and external stakeholders including National Department of Health Programmes, Clinical Societies and Health Care Professionals.

First printed 1998

Second edition 2006

Third edition 2012

Fourth edition 2015

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