Drug ATM for South Africans
In the same fashion people draw money from ATMs, South Africans will soon be able to get medicine from dispensing machines.The Department of Health made the announcement at the 21st International Aids Conference, which took place in Durban from 18-22 July. The pharmacy dispensing unit (PDU) is being piloted at Thembalethu Clinic in Johannesburg. It is a self-service machine where patients can obtain their medication.
Easy to use: Anyone interested in using the machine first needs to register. Just like a bank ATM, once registered, they receive a card. To get the medicine, they insert the card into the machine, enter a PIN and get what they need.
“The machine,” said the department, “immediately dispenses the selected medication, eliminating the need for the patient to wait in queues.”However, the machine does not totally eliminate pharmacists. There is a trained pharmacist available on the PDU via a built-in video conference functionality.