Johannesburg / More than 10,000 South African patients, mostly chronically ill of conditions such as AIDS or diabetes who need regular medication, are already using a pioneering invention in the world: an electronic pharmacy that works like a ATM and prevents the user from queuing for hours.
At first glance, there are few differences with respect to an electronic banking terminal: a screen, a card scanner, buttons and a mailbox. These are green and are presented under the acronym PDU (Pharmaceutical Dispensation Unit, for its acronym in English).
The user has a card where, after registration in the system and approval of their clinic, they have their recipes loaded.
Behind the curtain, a robotic arm and a remote assistance centre for the user to converse directly with a pharmacist complete the system.
It becomes a 5-minute process for up to 5 hours of queue that thousands of South African patients, especially in poor areas, have to suffer every month to withdraw their medicines from public hospitals, which in some cases, means losing an entire day of work.
“It’s not difficult, just put your card and your pin and get your medication and go home,” explained Phil Eladla Dladla, a patient with AIDS aged 59 and resident in Alexandra (Johannesburg), where the first PDU was installed in pilot phase in 2017 and for which this month it is estimated that 3,000 patients will pass.
Dladla says the electronic pharmacy has been a great “change” in his life, because you do not have to invest every month a whole morning to get your antiretrovirals.
In 2018 they added two more locations in the old Soweto ghetto and another in the Diepsloot ghetto – all in the Johannesburg area – while working on a forthcoming release in the province of the Free State (centre).
Each centre has several PDUs and permanent security and assistance personnel, especially to assist new users.
The project dates back to 2010, devised by the South African company Right ePharmacy and supported by the NGO Right to Care, in collaboration with governmental health authorities.
“All technology is similar to that of a bank teller, so that makes it easier to use,” Fanie Hendriks, director of Right ePharmacy, told EFE.
This South African company owns the technology patent, which is manufactured in Germany.
There are, according to them, other electronic pharmacies of this type in the world – although they have evidence of pilot projects in countries like the United Kingdom – and believe that they could export the idea not only to the rest of Africa, but also to other parts of the planet. (May 12, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)
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Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read and answer the questions)
pronto los habitantes de Sudáfrica podrán utilizar farmacias electrónicas.
las primeras farmacias electrónicas están en un país africano.
es posible que haya también farmacias electrónicas en Sudáfrica.
se parecen a los cajeros automáticos de los bancos.
no se parecen en nada a los cajeros automáticos de los bancos.
son iguales que todas las farmacias del mundo.
No se sabe.
los pacientes nunca podrán contactar con un farmacéutico humano en estas farmacias.
un farmacéutico da en persona los medicamentos a los pacientes.
el brazo de un robot es el que da los medicamentos a los pacientes.
se agiliza el servicio de atención al público.
los usuarios tienen que esperar más tiempo para comprar sus medicinas.
es poco probable que las personas sean atendidas más rápido.