SHARE

South Africans Can Now Get Medicine From Vending Machines

Must Read

Top 10 Youngest Presidents In Africa (Updated: 2021)

In recent years there has been a subtle surge of politicians in their 30s and 40s winning leadership roles...

African Culture: The Wodaabe Tribe Wife Stealing Festival

The Wodaabe tribe is a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders...

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Becomes First Female Head of World Trade Organization

Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed to head the World Trade Organization as it seeks to to resolve disagreements over how it decides cases involving billions in sales and thousands of jobs.
SHARE



An innovative system to dispense medicine to patients with chronic illnesses has taking off in South Africa. The award-winning “Pelebox,” created by South African engineer Neo Hutiri, is a computer-controlled vending machine stocked with prescription drugs, which patients access using a personal code.

South Africans Can Now Get Medicine From Vending Machines

The Pelebox has been hailed as a life saver for many, who use often-crowded South African hospitals and clinics. The medicine dispenser resembles the common automated teller machine and functions in a similar way.

Explaining why he created the pelobox, hutiri had this to say “If you have been to public clinics, one of the biggest challenges that you face is spending hours and hours to get access to your chronic medication. The idea was very simple: Can we create a technology, locally manufactured, locally born idea where we can get somebody to collect medication in a couple of seconds, instead of waiting for hours?” asked Hutiri.

Details of each patient are uploaded into a computer system connected to the machine. The patient must indicate the clinic or point where they want to get their medication. The machine consists of a simple wall of lockers controlled by a digital system. And Hutiri, who once had a chronic illness, explains the most exciting experience for patients.

“We take pre-packed medicine, we would scan the medicine, load it inside the unit. It then sends an SMS to a patient saying ‘Neo your medication is ready for collection, here is a one-time pin, please come and collect your medication at Winnie Mandela clinic.’ The patient simply walks to the unit. On that touch screen, enters their cell phone together with a pin. It pops open the door. They collect and they are on their way,” said Hutiri.

The technology, first introduced in 2016, has been a hit among patients. There are 11 Peleboxes already operational across the country.

For years, 45-year-old Jenifer Shingange, a beneficiary of the technology, had to line up at dawn to collect her medication every month. She says since she started getting her drugs from the Peleboxes, she chooses a time that suits her, including after work.

“I would like to say very thank you. Thank you so much. What is making me excited is that when I come here I don’t stand in a long queue. I just put my cellphone and pin and press and get my treatment,” said Shingange.

The Aurum Institute, a leading health care organization that has partnered with Hutiri, expects to introduce 10 more machines in the city of Ekurhuleni. Up to 26 machines will be functioning across the country by September.

With each of the Peleboxes serving over 1,200 patients a month, authorities say they will go a long way toward shortening lines in hospitals and clinics.

VOA



Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to receive email updates

With a subscription profile, you automatically receive updates without having to return to the website and check for changes

Just In

Top 10 Youngest Presidents In Africa (Updated: 2021)

In recent years there has been a subtle surge of politicians in their 30s and 40s winning leadership roles...

More Articles Like This