Health Dept unpacks how new wellness vending machines work

Health Dept unpacks how new wellness vending machines work

The Health Department says there's a three-step system for the new wellness vending machines that is being piloted.

new wellness vending machines
Supplied: Health Department

The first machine was launched at the Mthatha Ultra City in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.

It offers sanitary towels, various test kits, including for pregnancy and HIV, as well as a range of contraceptives, including emergency ones.

The department says as part of the pilot project, 13 vending machines will be installed in five provinces at universities, shopping centres and other areas with a high concentration of youth. 

Health Department spokesperson Foster Mohale says the first step to using the machines involves calling a toll-free call centre number or sending a “please call me” for a medical professional to phone you back.

"Once they have screened you and taken you through different types of contraceptives and HIV prevention methods, then you will choose which one will be suitable. They will then give you a code, and you will take it to the machine. At the machine, you punch in the code, and that particular contraceptive of your choice will come out." 

Mohale says the vending machines will help those who work long hours, are unable to go to a local clinic, or are afraid of the judgmental attitudes of some healthcare workers.

"These services are rendered free of charge, so we are working closely with provincial departments of Health to ensure that these machines are always refilled."


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