The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has introduced the Pelebox Smart Lockers to provide access to pre-packed chronic medication for HIV, diabetes, epilepsy, and TB patients in the Katutura State Hospital.

The Centre for Disease Control in Namibia provided technical and financial support.

Health Minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula said the introduction of Pelebox Smart Lockers would improve the rates of adherence to treatment among patients on chronic medication as well as decrease treatment defaults in the country.

"The smart lockers will reduce the chances of patients missing their medication refill appointments, leading to better health outcomes. One important factor to be noted is that the Pelebox Smart Lockers will significantly reduce the waiting time for patients. Instead of standing in waiting lines at pharmacies and dispensaries, patients will go straight to the smart lockers in their localities and collect their medications at their chosen times. This is another way the ministry is introducing additional efficiencies and effectiveness. Similarly, resources and personnel within healthcare facilities will be freed up, allowing them to focus on providing more specialised care to those who need it most."

According to Dr. Leonard Bikinesi, who is the Chief Clinical Mentor, there are currently 19 smart lockers installed at various health centres countrywide.

"We also conducted training for our local staff so that they can gain the necessary skills to maintain, troubleshoot, and address any challenges that will arise during the operation of the lockers."

Also speaking at the occasion was U.S. Ambassador to Namibia Randy Berry.

"If you run out of medicine when you have a chronic condition, it can put your health, and sometimes the health of others, at risk. But having a constant supply of medicine is not always easy. For people living far from a health facility, like many Namibians do, there is the barrier of travel. For people in full-time employment, the youth in school, or parents caring for their children, there is the barrier of time. For some people, there is a fear of stigmatisation when collecting medicine. The barriers are different and varied, and they affect everyone in any sector of society."

The project was founded by Neo Hutiri in 2020 after he realised the time it takes for patients to collect their chronic medication.



Maria Kaalushu