By Mpho Shelile

Maseru- Bonolomeds, is a healthcare innovation that makes free medicine collection for patients with chronic conditions easy, without standing in long queues.It was launched in 2020 but began distributing medicines in 2021 with the help of Ministry of Health, BonoloMeds is a DDD program which supports client-centered care by facilitating the collection of medication outside of health facilities; including semi-automated pick-up points (PUPs) i.e. private pharmacies, CAG meeting locations, other static PUPs and at fully automated PUPs (elockers).

The name is derived from a combination of the Sotho word “bonolo,” meaning easy. This programme is made possible through USAID’s Maintaining Epidemic Control (Epic) Project. Bonolomeds supports the country’s Covid-19 prevention efforts by keeping chronic patients out of congested health facilities. It has been introduced into Lesotho by Right to Care Lesotho and it’s an innovative pharmacy solution partner. Bonolomeds is free for patients with chronic illnesses who are loyal to their medication.

BonoloMeds is also set to tackle some of the challenges the Lesotho health system faces. These includes; the shortage of pharmaceutical services, overcrowding in busy healthcare facilities, limited infrastructure and limited medicine access, all of which contribute to poor medicine loyalty and poor healthcare outcomes for patients living with chronic conditions. Lesotho has made a significant stride in this joined venture with the United Nation.

And with this sensitization to media fraternities, they hope this will help them get the word out there so that this information can reach as many people as possible. Mrs Ts’ilisehang Motuba in her opening remarks said they arranged this meeting with the purpose of making sure the media knows about how Bonolomeds operates on a daily, she said that they are working together with the ministry of health and are planning on getting more patients to use Bonolomeds, “If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, HIV, hypertension, heart disease and asthma you will benefit from this new programme. Your healthcare worker will advise if you qualify for BonoloMeds or not and if you do, they will register you. You need to be committed the treatment set by the Lesotho Ministry of Health”, she said.

In the presentation overview by Mr Tlaitlai Paul Sepetla he said Bonolomeds Programme is intended to improve access to essential medicines for chronic public sector patients by differentiating ART delivery services through decentralised community-based alternative collection points and semi-automated collection services (eLockers)

“Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 95-95-95 targets an estimated 94 percent of people living with HIV (PLHIV) aware of their status, 82 percent on treatment, and 80percent virally suppressed. The country’s HIV prevalence of 21.1% remains the second highest in the world. In response to this challenge, innovative approaches for effective and sustainable delivery of therapy (ART) and lifesaving medicines to the growing number of patients accessing treatment are needed. These approaches should make services more convenient for clients, reduce the burden on health systems and, make life saving treatments available to all the patients,” Said Sepetla.

 In his presentation he also added that their Primary goal as Bonolomeds is to fast-track attainment and maintenance of epidemic control by addressing key challenges in the HIV cascade with respect to prevention, case finding, and treatment ACME will contribute to Lesotho’s retention goal of increasing access to quality and client-centered ART services to maintain viral suppression, prevent HIV transmission and improve the health and wellbeing. He also added that this program is free and has about 14 thousand patients in it. Stating it is an easy collect and go process with no long queues. 

Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Health and PEPFAR implementing partners on the provision of alternative decentralized drug distribution (DDD) establish a DDD model for PLHIV that are at risk of low retention Support. This was to achieve  national epidemic control through cross-border programming Geographic focus: Maseru, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek with possible further expansion to be agreed upon with USAID/Lesotho, PEPFAR, and the MOH.

Innovation in health service-delivery is inevitable. It should not only make sense but also solve real problems with access to healthcare and, ultimately, make Basotho lives better. The Bonolomeds innovation ticks all these boxes. Decentralised drug delivery mechanisms like this one are right in the centre of where client-centred service-delivery is headed. These initiatives will ease patient access to healthcare and also encourage sustainability through private-sector integration

In his closing remarks, Mr Moobeli Ntsane who works as a Communications Coordinator at PEPFAR American Embassy, indicated that they are proud to have partnered with USAID, Ministry of health and Right to care, for this amazing innovation called BonoloMeds, for they have made it so easy and efficient for patients to have easy access to medication. “We look forward to more future innovations by Bonolomeds”, said Ntsane.