Outpatient (community) social centres | South Africa Outpatient (community) social centres | South Africa

15 Aug 2022

Public sector: Outpatient health clinics in the South African public health system are not dementia-specific, offering general reproductive and maternal health, and the clinical management of communicable (e.g., HIV/AIDS and TB) and non-communicable diseases at 3500 primary health clinics and health centres across the country (McKenzie et al., 2017). The extent to which the clinical management of dementia occurs at these clinics are unknown (no dementia surveillance in South Africa).

Private sector: By 2013, there were approximately 3500 private outpatient clinics and 314 private hospitals with a total beds capacity of 34,572 (hospitals and clinics combined) (Econex, 2013). Since there is no dementia surveillance in South Africa, it’s unclear how many (if any) are dementia-specific.

Community Mental Health centres: There are 3460 outpatient mental health facilities and 80 day treatment facilities across South Africa’s public sector (WHO, 2007). In the private sector, there is the Life Healthcare care group that has a division for Mental Health with 9 facilities across 4 provinces with selected facilities (not disclosed how many) offering a neuro-geriatric wellness programme that includes a mental gymnasium for elderly patients (see https://www.lifehealthcare.co.za/patient-information/patient-services/complementary-services/life-mental-health/ ). Life Esidimeni centres are a subsidiary of the private Life Healthcare group and are contracted by the National and Provincial Department of Health to provide out-of-hospital health and care services to public service users (see https://www.lifehealthcare.co.za/about-us/clinical-and-support-functions/out-of-hospital-services/ ). Life Esidimeni has 10 facilities across 5 provinces, of which 7 are centre-based and include frail care with provisions that include dementia care (see https://www.lifehealthcare.co.za/about-us/life-esidimeni/ and https://www.lifehealthcare.co.za/about-us/life-esidimeni/frail-care-services/). This list of private mental health centres is not exhaustive and may include more private facilities that were not found in the time desk review period.

Memory clinics: This desk review found that there were 5 memory clinics based across the country’s two capital provinces, (Western Cape and Gauteng), with only 1 in Cape Town based at the public healthcare system.


  1. MemoryCare (Johannesburg), see https://www.memorycare.co.za/about-us/
  2. The Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa, Groote Schuur Hospital (Public): http://www.instituteofageing.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/126/IAA/Facilities/Memory%20Clinic%20Brochure.pdf
  3. Cape Town Mind and Memory, (Cape Town) (Private): http://ctmindandmemory.co.za/about-us/
  4. Panorama psychiatry and memory clinic (Cape Town) (Private): see https://mentalhealthsa.org.za/mental-health-service-providers/3646/panorama-psychiatry-and-memory-clinic/
  5. Specialist geriatric and memory clinic, Vincent Pallotti Hospital, Pinelands (Cape Town) (Private): http://sgmclinic.co.za/

Outpatient (community) social centres: South Africa relies heavily on the NGO-sector to provide services to persons with dementia and their families within their homes, with 2 dementia-specific care organisations identified (i.e. Alzheimer’s South Africa with 9 branches across the country [see https://alzheimers.org.za/services-and-activities/] and Dementia South Africa [see https://www.dementiasa.org/help-and-support/#family-interventions] located within the Western Cape province). Other NGOs also exist, for example, the Care Company that provides outpatient care services to older persons in general, with specific services also catering for dementia home care needs. The Care Company has 2 expert teams across 2 provinces (see http://www.carecompany.co.za/dementia-care/), but the total amount of NGOs that offer dementia-specific social care is unknown (i.e., minimum of 12).


Econex. (2013). The South African Private Healthcare Sector: Role and Contribution to the Economy. https://econex.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Econex_private_health_sector_study_12122013-1.pdf

McKenzie, A., Schneider, H., Schaay, N., Scott, V., & Sanders, D. (2017). Primary Health Care Systems (Primasys). In World Health Organization and Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/341145/WHO-HIS-HSR-17.38-eng.pdf?sequence=1

WHO. (2007). WHO-AIMS Report on Mental Health System in South Africa. In World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health South Africa. Available from: https://pmhp.za.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/WHO-2007-AIMS-report.pdf