Local entrepreneur wins Africa award for self-service medication dispensing system

2019-07-02 16:31
Neo Hutiri. (Photo:DRUM)

Neo Hutiri. (Photo:DRUM)

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Local entrepreneur, Neo Hutiri has won another prize for his Pelebox Smart Lock invention – this time at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation in London. 

According to Business Insider, the 31-year-old is the first South African to win the prestigious award that was accompanied by a cash prize of R470000.

Speaking to DRUM earlier this year, Hutiri revealed how the system helps patients collect chronic medication in seconds rather than spending hours in queues. The product which functions like an ATM allows patients who want their medications dispensed in lockers to inform a health professional at the clinic, who will then register the patients and reserve a cubicle for them.

Clinic staff then load the pre-packed medication into Pelebox lockers and patients receive an SMS with a one-time pin (OTP) telling them their medication is ready for collection.

Patients arrive at the collection unit and authenticate themselves using the OTP and their cellphone number. A cubicle then pops open and the exchange is done.

The system also keeps track of all collection records and can be integrated into a patient's record-management system.

The qualified engineer also explained how the idea came to him after he was diagnosed with TB.

“As a patient you spend a significant amount of time collecting chronic medication," he says.

"I finished my treatment while at GenWye, but it wasn't really working out. I decided to look at what else I could do and that's when the Pelebox concept came to me," he says

.Speaking to People after the win, Hutiri revealed what he would do with the prize money.

“Winning the Africa Prize is a massive achievement for us. We can now ramp up our manufacturing efforts using the prize money. The networks we are part of will also be instrumental for the growth of our business,” he told the publication.

According to the publication, the Pelebox is now available at seven facilities across the City of Tshwane and Erkhuruleni metros and has reached over 3000 patients.

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