Government has doubled efforts to have medications served to South African patients in a faster and efficient way.
They did this with the introduction of medication self-service ATM-style machine.
This development was related on Tuesday to delegates in the ongoing International Aids Conference taking place in Durban.
Information from the Department of Health says the ATM-style machine; otherwise known as Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU) is a medication dispensing machine that allows people withdraw their medication; in the same way they withdraw money.
According to the department, the process begins with registration by patients; who would then receive an ATM-like card for withdrawal.
Statement by the department reads: “To use the machine, all a patient needs to do is register for the service; after which they receive a card that’s similar to a bank card.
To ‘withdraw’ their medication; users simply insert their card into the PDU machine; enter their PIN; and select the medication they require from their prescription list.
The machine immediately dispenses the selected medication; eliminating the need for the patient to wait in queues.”
ATM-Style Machine Piloted In Joburg
The PDU; which is currently being appraised at Thembalethu clinic in Johannesburg; gives room for patients to communicate directly with a trained pharmacist from the machine using a built-in video conferencing function.
The department also unveiled a programme called MomConnect – This unique programme is simply a free SMS service; it updates pregnant mothers with regular development of their foetus throughout their term of pregnancy. It currently has over 800 000 registered users.
The conference also unveiled another service called Mothers2Mothers – A unique service that connects new mothers to experienced mentors to help them through their pregnancy.
Others include; the Medication Adherence app – Which reminds users of their clinic or hospital visits and to take their scheduled medication.
B-Wise – A youth focused online service that provides young people with health information; the app also allows them to have their health-related questions answered by an expert.
The Stock Visibility System – a mobile application that enables medicine availability information at primary health care clinics to be uploaded to a central online data repository.
The Stock Visibility System has a camera which can be used to scan the medicine barcode and update stock levels. The App also fosters easier monitoring of quantity of drugs in stock in health care centers.
Notably, South Africa is anchoring the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world; the number of patients on treatment in three decades has soared from 400 000 to over 3.4 million.