According to Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the National Department of Health’s (NDoH) mHealth Stock Visibility System (SVS) is helping health facilities prevent stock outs of medicines.

The SVS is a mobile app that healthcare professionals use to scan medicine barcodes and enter the stock levels for essential ARVs, TB medication and vaccines.

“This information is in real-time and is availed at any geographic location via the web. Six provinces have the SVS, covering 1,900 or 60% of our clinics,” said Dr Motsoaledi after tabling his department’s 2016/17 Budget Vote in Parliament.

“We plan to have 100% of all primary health clinics reporting medicine availability into a national medicine surveillance centre within the next three months,” continued Dr Motsoaledi.

During his media brief, Dr Motsoaledi added that as part of NHI preparations the NDoH is implementing a Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme which will allow stable patients to collect their medication from a pick-up point near their home or work – saving both time and money.

“CCMDD also reduces waiting times at clinics by reducing volumes of patients who have to come to a clinic. We currently have 400,000 patients enrolled on this programme, accessing their medicines from over 1,000 pick-up points including adherence clubs, occupational health sites, GPs and private pharmacies,” said Dr Motsoaledi.

The NDoH plans to reach 800,000 patients by the end of this financial year.

Dr Motsoaledi said the NDoH further plans to reduce patient waiting times by dealing with the poor administration of patients’ records and data.

“We have started the process of installing dedicated computer hardware for the rollout of the Patient Health Information System in our clinics. In each dedicated computer, we are installing software for a patient registration system in accordance with paragraph 364 of the White Paper on NHI,” said Dr Motsoaledi.

“This system will be able to trace any patient within the system, like when and which clinic they have visited before, what medication they received and what amount of medication was dispensed,” continued Dr Motsoaledi.

Out of the 700 primary health care facilities in the NHI pilot districts, 657 have already been covered. A total of 1,400 additional facilities are expected to be completed in this financial year, with the remaining facilities to be completed in 2017/18.

The system will be officially launched next month after loading one third of the uninsured population.

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