Medipost Pharmacy: support for parents managing their child’s diabetes

We hear how Medipost Pharmacy supports parents of children living with diabetes.

It can be a major shock for parents to learn that their child is diabetic. While there have been significant advances in the management of childhood diabetes, the intricacies of monitoring the health of a diabetic child can be particularly stressful for families.

“A diabetes diagnosis is life-changing for children, as well as their parents, and learning about how to manage the condition can seem extremely daunting at first,” says Marilize Dreyer, pharmacy manager at Medipost Pharmacy.

She explains that many of the families who rely on Medipost Pharmacy for the delivery of their diabetic children’s chronic medicine have been through the often-harrowing journey leading up to a diabetes diagnosis. Including the process of healthcare professionals trying to pinpoint the cause of persistent and distressing symptoms.

“Many parents tell us that simply knowing that our pharmacists and pharmacist’s assistants are just a telephone call away provides them with a measure of peace of mind. Therefore, we go the extra mile to support families with clinical advice and reassurance.”

Most common question asked

Medipost Pharmacy’s core service is delivery of chronic medicines, reliably and conveniently, anywhere within South Africa. Marilize says that one of the most common queries parents phone to seek guidance on is whether insulin can still be used if it has not been stored in the fridge.

“The answer is that insulin is safe to use at room temperature for up to 30 days. Medipost Pharmacy ensures that all medicines, such as insulin, that require a cold supply chain are packed with ice packs that have been frozen for a minimum of five days at -20oC. They are packed in polyurethane boxes to ensure that the cold chain is maintained for up to 50 hours. The boxes and delivery routes are tested regularly to guarantee that the cold chain is maintained at all times.

“This ensures that the insulin will still be below 8oC when the parcel is delivered each month. So, even if it is not refrigerated when the family receives the insulin, its pharmacological integrity will remain intact up to the time when the next month’s Medipost Pharmacy delivery arrives. Parents are therefore comforted by the fact that the medicine that they need to manage their child’s diabetes will arrive on time each month and in good condition.”

Assistance with medical aid authorisations

“We also assist with obtaining medical scheme authorisation for medicine, such as insulin, and consumables, like insulin pumps, to ensure that there is no delay in the delivery of these essential supplies for the patients who need them,” Marilize explains.

Lelani Delport, who is a post-basic pharmacist assistant and leads the team responsible for medicines and medical devices for diabetes management, says that during her 13 years with the company she has walked a long path with many families.

“I can remember advising the parents of some children, who are teenagers today, when they were first diagnosed with diabetes as toddlers. It is not always an easy journey for families, as there are many considerations when raising a child with diabetes, but we do our best to alleviate their anxiety by taking the time to talk through any concerns they may have and advising on the day-to-day management of childhood diabetes through appropriate use of the prescribed treatments.”

85% of Type 1 diabetes medication is for children

Another key member of Lelani’s team within the Special Medicines Department is administrator Anne-Marie Pretorius, who has been with the company for some 14 years. She is known affectionately to many families making use of this service as ‘Anne-Marie Medipost’.

“More than 85% of the patients we deliver Type 1 diabetes medicine for are children, and it’s our passion to take the time to ensure authorisation and dispatch of medicines rollsout smoothly, month after month, so that these families have one less thing to worry about.

“While we do not often see these people face-to-face, we try to make a difference in their lives. Over the years, we come to know the families and they have come to know us. Some even go so far as to send us a thank you card or a box of chocolates for Christmas as a token of their appreciation. There really is no need because we so enjoy being of assistance to these families, and knowing that we are playing a role in keeping their children well is in itself the greatest reward,” Anne-Marie concludes.