A NEW pick up point facility for patients with chronic diseases is now fully functional in Verulam.The facility, which is among many pick up points under the Central Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme, is located on Ireland Street in the CBD. The aim of the programme is to end long queues at the clinics and hospitals and bring chronic medication nearer to the patients. MEC for KZN Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo launched the programme in 2014 and the programme was rolled out in the department’s 11 health districts. The programme will assist patients who have been travelling long distances to reach health care facilities to pick up their chronic medication. However, this programme is for chronic stable patients who have been on treatment for a long time and do not require seeing the doctor too often for check-ups. Patients who need medication for non-communicable ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, HIV, Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB), etc. are encouraged to visit the centre to pick up their medication.The departments said in a statement that since the inception of the programme, more than 100 000 people are getting their medication through this programme. The department said patients who are eager to be part of the programme are required to register at the Department of Health facility and choose the pick-up point that is convenient for them to collect the medication. An identity document or permit is required to collect the treatment. “The patient receives notification via SMS that the medication has been dispatched [at the facility] and is ready for collection,” the department said.Ward councillor Johnson Chetty said: “For far too long, patients queued unnecessarily for hours at hospitals and clinics to collect their chronic prescribed medication. This has also contributed to massive congestion at these health facilities. The added danger is the spread of diseases among the patients who are in the queue. It is for these reasons that the medical authorities have partnered with drug companies like Cipla to roll out drug dispensers like the one in Verulam”.Chetty said the project was a fairly new initiative and it’s working quite well. “The intention is to roll out this programme to all disadvantaged communities in the near future. It is heart-warming to note that our vulnerable people’s interests are being considered. I support this programme wholeheartedly,” said Chetty. For any queries, call the Verulam CCMDD office on 061 474 5077 or KZN toll free number on 080 007 0070.