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Chronic medicine collection made easy for Basotho

Chronic medicine collection made easy for Basotho

Chronic medicine collection made easy for Basotho

Maseru –BonoloMeds, a new healthcare innovation that makes free medicine collection for patients with chronic conditions easy, without standing in long queues, was launched today in Maseru by the Lesotho Ministry of Health. This programme is made possible through USAID’s Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) Project.

BonoloMeds supports the country’s Covid-19 prevention efforts by keeping chronic patients out of congested health facilities. It has been introduced into Lesotho by Right to Care Lesotho and its innovative pharmacy solution partner, Right ePharmacy. BonoloMeds is a free service for patients with chronic illness who are stable on their medication.

BonoloMeds is currently available in Maseru, with plans to expand into other parts of Lesotho. To qualify for medicines through this programme, patients are screened and registered at their local treatment facility by a nurse or doctor. They are then assisted by their healthcare worker to choose the most convenient medicine pick-up point.

Tawanda Dube, programme manager for Right ePharmacy, explains, “If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, HIV, hypertension, heart disease and asthma you will benefit from this new programme. Your healthcare worker will advise if you qualify for BonoloMeds and if you do, they will register you. You need to be stable on your medication according to criteria set by the Lesotho Ministry of Health.

“Once registered, you may choose a BonoloMeds pickup point that is convenient for you. This can be at a pharmacy, doctor’s practice or at one of our Collect & Go smart locker sites. These smart lockers are secure electronic lockers that safely store a patient’s monthly chronic medication.

“We have BonoloMeds signs across Maseru indicating where the pickup points are, or you can visit our website www.bonolomeds.ls to find a convenient pickup point.”

The Minister of Health in Lesotho, Hon. Semano Sekatle, says, “This programme is set to ensure an improved quality of life for the Basotho people. We welcome Right ePharmacy’s innovations in Lesotho as they support us to expand access to medicines and to improve patient adherence. Because medicine collection is quick and easy, we are confident that the BonoloMeds programme will reduce the numbers of chronic patients who stop taking their medication.”

Deputy director for USAID Lesotho, Ian Membe, says, “Innovation in health service-delivery is inevitable. It should not only make sense but also solve real problems with access to healthcare and, ultimately, make Basotho lives better. The Bonolomeds innovation ticks all these boxes. Decentralised drug delivery mechanisms like this one are right in the centre of where client-centred service-delivery is headed. These initiatives will ease patient access to healthcare and also encourage sustainability through private-sector integration.” 

Steps to follow when collecting medicines on the BonoloMeds programme

  1. Register on the BonoloMeds programme with your local healthcare worker if you have a chronic condition that is treated with monthly medication. Select your pick-up point.
  2. When your medicine parcel is ready for collection, you will receive an SMS to go to the pick-up point. 
  3. If you choose a BonoloMeds Collect & Go smart locker, the SMS will have a one-time PIN that is entered on the Collect & Go smart locker touch screen. This number will open the locker door for you so you can get your medicine.
  4. If you choose a standard BonoloMeds pickup point, take your identity document or passport or your BonoloMeds enrolment card with you to collect your medication. Your medication will be in a sealed box.
  5. You will receive SMS reminders to return to your healthcare facilities for clinical reviews and new prescriptions.

Dube explains that, “Patients can collect three months’ supply of medicine at a time. They can also choose someone else to collect their medicine if needed.

“Providing stable chronic patients with alternative places to collect their medicine means that they only need to go to their health facility every six months for a check-up and to get a new prescription. However, any patient experiencing health difficulties must contact our call centre or return to their treatment facility regardless of when their next check-up appointment is.”

BonoloMeds is also set to tackle some of the challenges the Lesotho health system faces. These include the shortage of pharmaceutical services, overcrowding in busy healthcare facilities, limited infrastructure and limited medicine access, all of which contribute to poor medicine adherence and poor healthcare outcomes for patients living with chronic conditions. The BonoloMeds initiative also supports healthcare workers with preventing Covid-19 in their facilities and reduces the negative impact of Covid-19 on client adherence to chronic medication. 

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