Alex welcomes Africa's first ATM pharmacy

A patient simply has to slot their ID and patient card into the machine, enter their four-digit pin and their prescription will automatically appear on the screen.

An ATM pharmacy machine in Alexandra, the first of it's kind in Africa, was launched on 15 March 2018. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

ALEXANDRA - Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has launched an ATM pharmacy in Alexandra, northern Johannesburg, which she says will give patients suffering from chronic illnesses their repeat medication in under three minutes.

Ramokgopa, who partnered with private health companies including Right To Care and Right e-Pharmacy, says she is looking forward to the positive results the new technology will bring.

The pharmacy dispensing unit is the first of its kind in Africa and the technology was developed with a team from Germany.

The pharmacy dispensing unit has been created to cut their waiting times at clinics after complaints about people having to wait around for over two hours and sometimes more just to get medication.

Ramokgopa says this is a much-needed development.

“I’m very much excited, encouraged and indeed inspired by this initiative.”

The pharmacy dispensing unit works like an ATM with skype-like audio visual interaction between patients and pharmacists.

A patient simply has to slot their ID and patient card into the machine, enter their four-digit pin and their prescription will automatically appear on the screen.

As soon as the patient is done confirming all their details with the pharmacist, their prescription comes out from the machine the way money would from an ATM.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)