WATCH | 'ATM pharmacy' to cut queues for SA's HIV/Aids patients

16 March 2018 - 08:42 By Kgaugelo Masweneng

The life of a woman who has been taking antiretroviral drugs since 1989 has dramatically changed as she no longer has to queue at her local congested clinic once a month from 5am.

Philda Dladla‚ who lives only 10 streets away from the newly established ePharmacy facility at the Alexandra Plaza Shopping Centre‚ Johannesburg – which has been described as an ATM dispensary - said she was satisfied with the system.

She said although Alexandra township was riddled with crime‚ she was confident the community would respect and preserve the facility.

Showing TimesLIVE her pharmacy smartcard Dladla said receiving her medication was a few buttons away‚ something she could do during her shopping. “It’s better here‚ it’s way better than being in a queue after waiting from 5am.”

Dladla was speaking at the launch of the ATM-like pharmaceutical dispensary unit by is the first of its kind in Africa and was developed by a team comprising experts from Right to Care and Right ePharmacy, in partnership with the Gauteng department of health.

MEC for health Gwen Ramakgopa said this was a great step forward for patients as it would reduce waiting times and congestion in public healthcare facilities.

“The patient comes with a script from the hospital from the clinic or hospital and they are loaded into an electronic patient system. They are [then] given a pin code and with that pin code and barcoded ID [identity document] they go to the ATM and enter their ID. You can communicate with the screen. The experience encourages adherence‚” said Ramokgopa.

Patients who will be using the ATM’s are those who have managed to stabilise their conditions and do not need monitoring. They will however need a referral from their local clinic or hospital.

The system is aimed at improving access‚ reducing medicine collection time‚ providing medication at convenient locations and offering counselling.

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