• Skip the queue

    Skip the queue

    The future of HIV treatment in South Africa could soon look something like this: ATM-style medicine dispensers scattered across rural areas relieve people from having to stand in long queues, missing work and forking out much-needed money on transport costs.

    The £63 000 prototype – developed by the Right to Care project with robotics from a German team of software experts – was unveiled in Durban earlier this month. The machine, referred to as a pharmacy dispensing unit, will also distribute other medication for people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and TB, according to the Guardian.

    Fanie Hendriksz, Right to Care’s ePharmacy project MD, says that four units have already been set up in Johannesburg, and the aim is to reach an additional six by the end of the year. He adds that each dispenser comes with an individual power source and is linked via webcam to a centre with an on-call pharmacist, though – generally – scanning a smartcard ID is all it takes for patients to receive their prescriptions.

    26 July 2016
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images