Meds On The Go

Drum English|4 June 2020

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Meds On The Go
Many chronic medication patients fear not getting their monthly pills during lockdown, but there are many options for those in distress
Duenna Mambana

Visiting a clinic is, at the best of times, a harrowing experience for many South Africans.

There are the long queues of shivering people who have to huddle together on dark and chilly winter mornings, waiting to collect their medication from clinics, or to see healthcare workers. There’s the anxiety about getting to work late, or discovering medication isn’t available.

But now, for many people, clinic visits have become a matter of life or death. Yvonne Mnisi* is one of them.

She’s HIV-positive and needs to collect her ARVs, but she’s terrified of becoming infected with Covid-19.

Some clinics have come up with innovative yet simple ways to ensure social distancing and to speed up the dispensing of medicine, but at others the throng of patients is no different than it was before the pandemic.

Yvonne usually collects her treatment at the Midrand West Clinic in Johannesburg. She travelled to Limpopo when the lockdown was announced but she collected her prescription before she left Gauteng. Now it’s almost time for her refill and she’s worried she might get infected at the clinic.

“I take care of small children and the last thing I want is to make them ill, and then put myself in danger because of my compromised immune system.

“But I don’t have a choice right now.”

Yvonne is not the only one in this situation – millions of vulnerable South Africans don’t know how to get their vital medication.

We take a look at the options available for people who usually collect their medication from clinics, who need their prescriptions renewed or need to visit a healthcare worker or doctor.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I CAN’T GO TO A PHARMACY OR CLINIC?

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4 June 2020