About Us

About the SQM Project

The Service Quality Measures (SQM) Initiative was started in 2008. This initiative is the first performance measurement system for addiction treatment in a low and middle income country, engaged key stakeholders in the substance abuse services system in the development and testing of service quality measures (SQMs) for the South African substance abuse treatment system. SQM’s are measures that treatment providers can use to assess the quality of services they provide. These stakeholders include substance abuse treatment providers from a range of provinces and types of services, representatives from provincial and national departments of health and social development responsible for policy and service delivery plans, as well as local and international experts in the addiction field.


The purpose of the performance measurement tools developed for this initiative is to enable participating facilities to monitor the performance of their individual facilities and to enable service planners and policy makers to monitor the performance of regional, provincial and national substance abuse treatment systems on a core set of indicators. The information generated from this system will enable service providers.

  1. Why participating is beneficial?

By participating in this initiative service providers will have the opportunity to collect standardized information on a regular basis. Information on the types of services you provide and treatment outcomes, will allow you to modify treatment over time. The information you collect from your clients (via the SAATSA) will provide insight into how your clients view your services and whether they are satisfied with the service you provide. The SQMs will highlight the strengths and challenges related to (a) the effectiveness of treatment (in the areas of clients’ substance use, quality of life, social connectedness and HIV risk behaviours), (b) accessibility of your treatment programme to people with substance use disorders, and (c) the quality of treatment you provide. This initiative will provide you, the treatment provider, with data that will allow you to monitor the quality of care you deliver, will allow you to recognise issues that may hinder the effectiveness of the treatment you provide, and provide direction as to where services might be improved. It will also allow you to monitor the impact of interventions that you put in place to strengthen service effectiveness. Participation of your clients in the initiative (through completion of the SAATSA) will provide them with an avenue to contribute to the improvement of services. The SQMs will also generate data that can be used in progress reports to funders.

Towards National Implementation of the Service Quality Measures Initiative

We are moving towards national implementation of the Service Quality Measures Initiative, the performance measurement system custom-built for South African addiction services. Read more.....