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Painless clinic visits with Pelebox - patients get medication in 30 seconds

Neo Hutiri contracted tuberculosis in 2014 and endured the pain of waiting for his medicines for hours at a local clinic.

It was this terrible experience that inspired him to invent a solution that would help dispense chronic medication in just over 30 seconds.

Hutiri, an engineer, began collecting medication from a local clinic in Bophelong township, in the Vaal.

"Sometimes I would queue for two and half hours waiting to get medication. I then became very curious and began speaking to my nurse, clinic manager and people around the clinic. I said there has to be an easier way of doing this. Why is it we are a country with the biggest ARV programme in the world and yet people are still subjected to the queues," Hutiri asked.

Hutiri's company Technovera, developed a machine that allows the clinic to put pre-packed medicine into the Pelebox and send an SMS to patients with a pin.

The patient comes to the clinic, punches their cellphone number and pin, which opens the door of the Pelebox with the medicine.

Pelebox has been taken onboard by the City of Tshwane and is being implemented at Stanza Bopape 2 clinic in Mamelodi East.

It is this kind of innovations that Barloworld Mbewu social impact programme launched yesterday, wants to grow.

Barloworld Mbewu will provide support to small businesses, non-profit organisations, social cooperatives and training institutions whose ideas are aimed at uplifting communities in townships and rural areas.

Programme beneficiaries will be selected from social enterprise start-ups and established social businesses with proven income streams and potential for scalability.

Entities can apply online and shortlisted business will be invited to pitch their organizations to a panel of experts.

Only the most innovative submissions will be selected for the programme. Barloworld will use its partners to provide funding to winners, access to finance and incubation with the aim of scaling up their business and create sustainable social value.

"We've re-looked our approach to social investment with the aim of maximising social value creation and we believe that social enterprises are an ideal vehicle to further contribute to inclusive growth," said Barloworld CEO Dominic Sewela.

Organisation applying need to be:

 - black-owned and run by South Africans;

 - operational for more than a year;

 - active in marginalised and previously disadvantaged communities;

- active in the education, automotive value chance, agro-processing, agriculture, green economy, groundbreaking innovation, creative arts and the use of technology to address local challenges.

Businesses involved in gambling, alcohol and sex work will not be considered. Applications will close on July 31.

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