Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, Mission Director to India, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Dr. Nutan Mundeja, Project Director of the AAMC 100, on Tuesday inaugurated an automated Medicine Vending Machine (MVM) at the Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinic in Rajender Nagar, New Delhi.
A first of its kind in the country, the vending machine is a mini-medicine shop that can store and dispense up to 50 different types of prescribed medicines, including tablets and bottles.
Sunil Wadhwani, founder donor, Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare (WISH), was also present at the inauguration. USAID and WISH, under the project SCALE, have together funded the medicine vending machine and will help setup similar machines in nine other Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics across Delhi.
The Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinic (AAMC) is the Government of Delhi’s flagship health program that aims to improve access to health care for the people of Delhi, reduce the out-of-pocket health expenditure, and bring down crowding at government hospitals. A total of 100 such clinics are currently in operation.
The medicine vending machine, designed and developed by WISH and Telechikitsa, uses sensor technology to automatically dispense medicines based on doctor’s prescription.
Stressing on the need for technological innovations in health care, Dr. Nutan Mundeja, Project Director, AAMC 100, said, “We are proud to present the use of innovative technology to ensure access to better healthcare for all, especially the most vulnerable in society. The real answer to healthcare challenges can be found in empowering individuals and via this initiative we are hopeful of ushering in this change.”
Expanding on USAID’s support, USAID/India Mission Director Ambassador Addleton said: “Working closely with the Government of India over the last several years, USAID has supported innovations for improving health care systems.
This IT-enabled medicine vending machine offers important possibilities in terms of potentially scaling up in clinics and other facilities, providing solution for improved pharmacy management in both public and private healthcare facilities.
USAID will also carry out a cost-benefit assessment to present to the Delhi government to help make a determination if such machines could usefully be installed in other Mohalla clinics.”
Highlighting the benefits of the machine, Wadhwani, founder donor, WISH, said: “The MVM is an innovative technological solution for improving efficiency in health care services by freeing the doctor from non-clinical activities and allowing more time for patient interaction.
It streamlines the medicine dispensing protocol.” The technology-enabled vending machine cuts the need for a full-time pharmacist, and helps the doctor better manage the medicine stock and keep a check on whether the right drugs are issued over the counter.
On the occasion, Dr. Richpal, Doctor in-charge of AAMC Todapur, Rajender Place, said: “This is a great initiative and I am very excited at the potential this machine has in Mohalla clinics. I am finding it so convenient to dispense medicines now. My support staff is also happy as they don’t have to do manual medicine counting every day.”
Picture, Courtesy governancenow.com, shows Aam Aadmi Health Clinic set up in New Delhi.