Diploma in Child Health DCH (SA)

The DCH (SA) is designed to give recognition to competence in the care of children to general practitioners, community service doctors and medical officers who have trained in paediatrics and child health and wish to continue using their skills in the diagnosis, management, and prevention of common and important acute and chronic medical, surgical and psychological disorders of childhood.

Practitioners in the community should have an understanding of hospital paediatrics to enable them to know when to refer and what to expect. Hospital practitioners should have a good understanding of social and community paediatrics and of other services in order to facilitate improved communication and an integrated child health service.

The aim is to test primary care paediatrics.

 [Adapted from DCH SA Examination, Candidate guidelines, 2020]

  The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) website (www.cmsa.co.za) provides the following documents:

  1. Instructions for admission to CMSA examinations
  2. Examination regulations outlining the syllabus & structure of the examination with examples of questions
  3. Examination Code of Conduct
  4. Accredited hospitals for training
  5. Examination prices
  6. Examinations dates and venues
  7. Past examination papers

Registration requirements:
The candidate must be registered or registrable with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)

Before being admitted to take the examination for the DCH (SA), the candidate must:

  • hold a registrable primary qualification
  • have completed her/his internship
  • have completed at least six months of full-time training (which may include four months of internship training) in paediatrics at:
  • any South African hospital accredited for internship training by the HPCSA or
  • at a South African non-internship accredited hospital that has been accredited by  the CMSA for the DCH(SA) examination, or
  • at a foreign hospital that is accredited by the CMSA as offering satisfactory training

The DCH (SA) examination consists of TWO components:

Written: Two written papers:

  • Paper 1: Data interpretation
  • Paper 2: Scenario-based questions

Clinical: Comprising a carousel of 6 stations:

  • 3 clinical cases
  • 1 history-taking station
  • 1 communication station
  • 1 skills station

The Department of Paediatrics at the University of Cape Town provides a preparatory programme for any DCH (SA) candidates who wish to attend comprising:

  1. A series of presentations may be found in DCH resources on this website. Some of these presentations may be outdated and the content of the lecture series are currently being overhauled to encompass all facets of child health. Going forward, the lecture programme will be delivered as an online series using a peer-to-peer software platform that will allow candidates outside of the Cape Metropole to access the teaching as needed. This plan has been delayed due to clinical service-delivery requirements around the pandemic. To be included in the blended teaching programme once this is established, please email tamara.kerbelker@uct.ac.za and your details will be added to the mailing list.
  2. Bedside clinical teaching may be offered on an individual basis to candidates based at Red Cross Children's Hospital by arrangement with paediatric consultant or registrar staff.  Candidates based at other hospitals should approach paediatric consultants, registrar or senior medical officers with paediatric experience to practice examination and presentation of clinical cases and to assist them with preparation for the clinical examination.