Due to high levels of fear, South Africans are increasingly missing their healthcare appointments and not collecting their chronic medication during lockdown. However, it is now more important than ever that people who are immuno-compromised keep taking their chronic medication to increase their immunity for Covid-19.
To make sure that South Africans don’t have to wait in long queues at clinics or hospitals to collect their monthly medication, Right ePharmacy and the National Department of Health is fast-tracking innovative Collect & Go smart lockers.
Seventy locker sites are being rolled out in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State and will be completed within a month. 80% of the sites are already live and the first patients will be able to collect medication in May.
According to Fanie Hendriksz, MD of Right ePharmacy, a division of NGO Right to Care, “Electronic locker technology has been widely used for e-commerce internationally. To improve healthcare delivery, Right ePharmacy adapted the solution to develop Collect & Go smart lockers for medication collection with the help of the CSIR. These locally manufactured secure electronic lockers safely store your monthly chronic medication, so you can quickly and easily collect it close to where you live and work at a time that suits you.”
Patients will be registered for Collect & Go at their healthcare facility if their condition is stable. They will be given two months’ supply of medication and provided with the date for a first Collect & Go experience. Patients will need to return to their healthcare facility for a follow-up visit every six months and will be reminded to do so via SMS.
As soon as the medicine is in the locker, patients will receive an SMS with a uniquely generated, one-time PIN on their mobile phone. On arrival at the locker, the PIN number is inserted on a touch screen. The patient opens the locker and removes the medicine parcel.
All medicine parcels are tracked. Medicine that is not collected is flagged and can be followed up telephonically by the Collect & Go call centre.
Collect & Go smart lockers are customised to meet stringent pharmacy regulations. They include air-conditioning units and remote temperature monitors for optimal storage conditions. The lockers only need a 220V power source and do not need data connectivity.
Collect & Go locations are near public health facilities and busy areas like community shopping centres, police stations and inside retail pharmacies and doctors’ rooms which are close to communities, transport routes and areas where people live and work.
“Because collecting repeat medicine will become so easy, patients won’t have to fear going to a healthcare facility during the Covid-19 pandemic. Collect & Go will make it easier for patients to stay on treatment, remain well and avoid health issues and additional risks. We are doing research to investigate and understand the benefits of this solution to both patients and healthcare workers.” Says Hendriksz.
The Collect & Go helpline number is 080 111 2228 and the website is www.collectandgo.co.za .