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Aurum delivers life-saving medication to homes

Aurum delivers life-saving medication to homes

Hundreds of people are receiving life-saving chronic medication while staying at home and safe during the COVID-19 lockdown, thanks to Aurum’s innovative home delivery project. Aurum is one of a few organisations delivering chronic medication, including antiretroviral treatment (ART), to people at their homes.

This is to limit the number of people at healthcare facilities as part of measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Teams from Aurum’s POPINN project are also doing home deliveries of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and ART to key populations- men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW)- in five districts across the country.

Aurum’s Head of Pharmacies Niel van Rooyen said the idea for home deliveries was prompted by the need to provide an innovative approach to public health during this time. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Aurum was already pioneering solutions for the convenient collection of medication such as the chronic medication locker system, the Pelebox created by Technovera. These support the Department of Health’s Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme. “For home deliveries, we target clinics with a high number of patients and we’re delivering all CCMDD treatment.” Drivers are currently delivering from 10 health facilities in Ekurhuleni, where Aurum supports the government with TB and HIV treatment programmes funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said van Rooyen.

The project is managed by Trevor Masevhege, a Community Management Mentor at Aurum. “Each person’s medication is pre-packed when it arrives at the pharmacy. Clinic and Aurum pharmacists and pharmacist assistants then allocate these packages to decanting teams,” he said. These teams identify alternative treatment pick-up points such as the post office, to decongest clinics.  Other medication is loaded into the Pelebox and now, some are bound for home delivery.

One of the Aurum drivers who makes these deliveries is Mncendisi Mpulo, who is based at the Dukathole Clinic in Germiston. He works with tracer Phindile Sityodana who contacts the recipients to make an appointment. “She sends the list of the day’s deliveries to my tablet and I use that information to plan my route for the day. It’s very important to plan ahead so I can be efficient and make more deliveries,” said Mpulo. He alerts the recipients when he leaves the clinic and phones again when he is outside their home or alternative meeting point, as some people fear stigma. “I check their ID and clinic card to make sure I’m handing the medication to the right person. I sanitise my hands and the package before handing it to them and then again after. People are very happy that they don’t have to come to the clinic. Home delivery saves them time and money they would have spent on transport or lost having to take the day off work to queue for their medication as many work in the informal sector,” added Mpulo.

There were 4360 deliveries made between 4 May and 15 June. This is an effective way to keep people on medication to promote adherence while social distancing. 

Adherence saves lives, which is what motivates driver Nicolas Moremi. He works with tracer Molatelo Manamela to deliver medication from the Tembisa Health Care Centre. He said the project gives him a sense of purpose. “Making sure people get their medication is a big responsibility and it makes me feel like I’m playing an important role in the healthcare system, especially at during this pandemic which has left so many people vulnerable in different ways. It makes me really proud to be part of a solution which is helping people stay healthy,” he said.

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