Basic Information

Our tagline:

Enabling patients in South Africa to re-shape their experiences when engaging public healthcare systems meant to serve them.

Our pitch:

Technovera is a social impact startup that is focused on technology inclusion with the aim of improving the last mile for chronic medication access in Africa. We've developed Pelebox, a smart locker system that enables patients to collect their repeat chronic medication in under 2 minutes instead of waiting hours on queues at public clinics.

South Africa has world's biggest antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme for patients living with HIV and AIDS, and there's been a steady increase in the number of patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), requiring chronic therapy. A patient's experience tends to be one of long waiting times, typically above 3 hours. This poses potential adherence barriers which may lead to poor health outcomes and places a strain on the patients in terms of transport costs and loss of income.

Pre-packed medication for a particular patient is loaded into an internet enabled smart locker, the system then sends an SMS with a one-time-pin (OTP) to the patients. The patient would then come to a collection unit, authenticate themselves using a one-time-pin (OTP) together with their cell phone number. A cubicle that has their medication would then pop-open. The systems keep's track of all collection records and can be integrated into a patient records management system.

By leveraging the power to technology, we are igniting the voice of patients to co-create new and innovative approaches for access to health.

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Pretoria, South Africa

If you selected other, please explain the dimension of the Challenge your solution addresses here:

Inclusive Innovation

About Your Solution

What makes our solution innovative:

Our tech is 10 times cheaper, is manufactured in locally, and can be scaled into local clinic without needed to do any modifications to existing structures. These collection points are closer to the patient instead of needing to travel to major hospitals that are kilometers away.

How technology is integral to our solution:

Pelebox Smart Lockers are internet enabled lockers that allow for pre-packed medication for a particular patient to be retrieved in a three-step process.

This simple process enables a patient to engage with a self service locker that only requires then to enter cellphone and a pin. This deals with issues of literacy by ensuring that full process just needs a patient to have basic numeracy. The Pelebox Smart Locker platform manages patient booking and collections automatically. Patients get to engage a digital technology while augmenting the lack of infrastructure in our public healthcare system

Our solution goals over the next 12 months:

In 2019, the focus is to grow from 5 site operation to 10 and eventually 30 units by the end of 2020.

This would be supported by a growing maintenance and operations teams in those communities. We anticipate sustaining the growth phase trajectory in 2020 and more than double our operation in terms of assets in the field and impact the lives of 400 000 patients per month.

Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:

Our vision includes participating and co-shaping an ecosystem that is building local, relevant, and patient-centric technologies that recognise the voice of the patient.

This vision involves opening channels for previously disadvantaged communities to co-own the solutions that they are co-creating. We are pushing for a future that no-longer endorses the foreign rescuer syndrome where solutions are imaged somewhere else and diffused without authentic collaboration.

We are building towards a future where skilled engineers, computer scientists and other professionals come together to co-create scalable innovations that are co-owned by communities and villages which use these solutions.

The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa

How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:

South Africa has the biggest ART (AntiRetroviral Therapy) program in the world; this drive for increased access to medicine has had an unintentional consequence of long queues when patients need to go collect medicines. Pelebox Smart Lockersallow patients to collect their medicine in under 2 minutes in three easy steps as opposed to the current average waiting time of 3.5 hours. That's a time saving of (99.05%), meaning that people don't have to ask for leave every time they need to collect their medicine, and productivity at work can improve because people can collect after hours from a locker.

How many people we are currently serving with our solution:

We also set out to prove that a patient should be able to collect their medication in under 2 minutes, Thus far, we have reached over 3500 patient collections with an average collection duration of 36 seconds (much lower than the anticipated 2 min).

Our impact has gone beyond the patients collecting medication, our technology has ignited conversations on what else is possible if we pair the patients voice with technical skills than can develop other forms of products that can ensure that patients can shape the kind of healthcare service that they would like to get.
About Your Team

The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:

Neo Hutiri graduated from University of Cape Town with a BSc Electrical Engineering and went on to join ArcelorMittal SA as an automation engineer. He then took up an operations management role working as a technical assistant to the COO of ArcelorMittal SA while also completing a Masters in Industrial Engineering. He is inspired by the power of technology and its abilities to enable communities to activate the future that they would like to be a part off.

Our revenue model:

Because of the simple nature of reaching a patient through text message (SMS), we have dealt with the issue of varying phone types used by patients. Our focus for the remainder of this year (2018) is to deploy more units to different communities to test a scaled up version of our operations model. In 2019, the focus is to grow the number of sites while still activating community members to work with us to come up with other ways of innovating for their key challenges.
Partnership Potential

Why we are applying to Solve:

Our focus would be to reach more patients by setting up additional Pelebox Smart Lockers in communities that are still subjected to long waiting times. The co-ownership ensures that the impact is not just limited to better access to medicine, but they would transform beneficiaries to co-owners. The idea is not to increase our organisational size too much but to focus on patient and community reach.

The key barriers for our solution:

Internal Risks:
1. Only have a limited budget for operational expenses, any unforeseen issues would really challenge our financial position
2. We are only using a single supplier for our steel cutting and the manufacturing of the steel shell, this means that our product pricing is still linked to their price
3. Two person management team
4. No room for technology error, if anything goes wrong with the allocation of patients to medication

External Risk:
1. Revenue model too closely tied to South African Government, single client revenue at the moment
2. Regulation linked technology

The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers:

  • Other (Please Explain Below)

Solution Team

  • NH NH
    Mr Neo Hitiri Founder, Technovera - Pelebox Smart Lockers
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