Implementing Lula Meds – Automated Medication Dispensing System (AMDS) in Eswatini

In Eswatini, the AMDS, known locally as Lula Meds™, operates as a tightly regulated system for distributing medications. It employs electronic cabinets to provide clients access to their prescribed medication parcels. This system comprises automated cabinets equipped with touchscreen monitors linked to secure storage units. Medications are prescribed, prepacked in parcels, and stored in these cabinets for selected clients. Clients receive a one-time password (OTP) via SMS, granting them access to the system and a specific cabinet containing their medication parcel. The cabinets are temperature-controlled and securely placed, and they use SMS alerts to notify clients about their next collection due date, sending reminders as well. Clients have a window of up to 7 days to retrieve their parcel. Once a cabinet is empty, the central system updates to load medication parcels for other clients.

The AMDS offers flexible access, making it convenient for clients with varied schedules and those who prefer avoiding queues at pharmacies due to time constraints or seeking after-hours health facility access. Additionally, it streamlines medication storage, dispensing, inventory management, and client reminders, potentially saving time for healthcare professionals.

The AMDS facilitates convenient prescription retrieval for chronic care clients, potentially reducing congestion at health facilities and promoting treatment adherence and continuity of care. Limiting direct interaction between healthcare providers and clients also serves as an efficient tool for implementing social distancing, especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The system can be installed on-site or at remote locations, fully accessible and remotely manageable by pharmacists. It reduces waiting times at pharmacy counters, with medication retrieval taking about 30–60 seconds.

Author: Ms. Saie Kim