New self service ATM-style drug dispensers on the way

The department of health working with Right To Care Health Services, are piloting an automated pharmaceutical dispensing machine in Johannesburg. John Maytham spoke to Pharmacy Automation Manager at Right To Care, Belinda Strydom.

It is aimed at chronic patients who go to primary health care clinics for their medication.

Rather than sitting in a queue for five hours at the clinic waiting for medication, they can go for instance to a shopping mall and pick up medicine there.

Belinda Strydom, Right To Care

Patients will register with either an SA ID book, or a bar-coded health card issued to them, and will have a secure access pin.

We will load their prescriptions onto the system, and they can access it through these ATM-like machines.

Belinda Strydom, Right To Care

The patients may consult with a pharmacist via their call centre

Currently they are targeting the most common chronic diseases, the big 5, which includes diabetes, hypertension, HIV and asthma. This will eventually be expanded in time.

These machines are able to hold a few thousand items and we will have staff on site working permanently to load machines.

Belinda Strydom, Right To Care

Listen to the full interview below:

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