The AfriTox poisons information database is compiled, maintained and distributed by the Poisons Information Centre which is based at Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Red Cross Children’s Hospital Poisons Information Centre is staffed by medical doctors and specially trained pharmacists, and is dedicated to providing up-to-date, well-researched and peer-reviewed information on a wide spectrum of toxins, including locally available commercial products and South African poisonous plants and animals.
Our poisons centre provides advice on the prevention, diagnosis and management of poisoning in both adults and children. The centre is part of the UCT Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and is situated in the Institute of Child Health at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. We produce the AfriTox® poisons information database which is widely distributed to doctors and treatment facilities in Southern Africa and it underpins the Poisons Information Helpline of the Western Cape. This emergency telephone service is available 24 hours a day, both to the public and to medical professionals. It allows fast access to accurate information immediately after poisoning is suspected or confirmed so that a patient can be treated appropriately and effectively.
The Poisons Information Centre has an interesting history. More information can be found on the University of Cape Town's website here.
Calls on the Poisons Emergency Line Statistics
The AfriTox Team
Our work is very much a team effort.
AfriTox helps doctors in Southern Africa treat patients exposed to any substance in our region. It focuses on local medicines and commercial products (using South African trade names), local plants, bites and stings. The treatment protocols are tailored to local conditions, are clearly presented and easy to interpret.
Dr. Cindy Stephen
Dr. Cindy Stephen is the Director of the Poisons Information Centre. After completing her MBChB at UCT, she worked in Kwa-Zulu Natal for many years in the disciplines of Paediatrics and Child Health and has been involved at a national level in the Child Healthcare Problem Identification Programme (Child PIP). Cindy has experience in writing and compiling health resources and will be working with Kate to further develop and streamline the AfriTox patient treatment protocols, as well as overseeing the new joint Poisons Emergency Line and the associated TeleLog database.
Ms. Linda Curling was a hospital pharmacist for 21 years, mostly at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry and at the Clinical Research Unit at Red Cross Children's Hospital before joining the Poisons Information Centre in 2006. She was involved in the process of developing and testing AfriTox and in designing our websites. She is responsible for AfriTox data entry and manufacturer liaison.
Mrs. Nicole Apollis organises the day to day activities of the Poisons Information Centre. She has worked in business administration and has broad experience in liaising with clients. She has a BSc in Medical Bioscience, has a good knowledge of medical terms and procedures and has research experience in a laboratory environment. Nicole is in charge of AfriTox subscriber management and usage monitoring. She liaises with those manufacturers who partner with us in supplying product information.
Ms. Farah Mohamed is a pharmacist who worked in the Red Cross Children's Hospital Pharmacy for many years before joining the Poisons Information Centre in 2011. Farah liaises with manufacturers of commercial products, particularly household products. She has a postgraduate Diploma in Medical Toxicology from Cardiff University.
Dr. Kate Balme
Dr. Kate Balme did her medical training at the University of Cape Town and has experience in a variety of disciplines including Emergency Medicine and Paediatrics. She has an MSc on the use of antibiotics in children with paraffin poisoning. Since 2009, Kate has supervised our Clinical Database which stores data on all children seen at Red Cross Children’s Hospital with poisoning, and she works extensively on writing and updating the AfriTox treatment protocols.