The Poisons Information Centre at Red Cross Children’s Hospital has over several decades compiled, collated and researched information on the diagnosis and treatment of potentially poisonous substances, animals and plants. This information is packaged as the database AfriTox® which is designed to help medical professionals throughout Southern Africa diagnose and treat poisoned adults and children.
The AfriTox® poisons information database is available free of charge to state hospitals and by subscription to private practitioners, and it underpins the poisons emergency telephone service. 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 intellectual property rights to AfriTox® belong to UCT.
The 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 poisons information. We provide 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.
The running costs of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Poisons Information Centre are partly supported by the Western Cape Department of Health, partly by private donations through the Children’s Hospital Trust and partly from fees generated from AfriTox subscriptions.
Teaching and education
Education of health care professionals in an approach to poisoning
Teaching of medical students and pharmacy interns
Public education in prevention of poisoning through the media, talks to interest groups.
Poisons emergency telephone service
The Poisons Information Helpline is a 24 hour service for the public and health care workers, provided by the staff of the Poisons Information Centres at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital.
The service provides:
Help with poisonings caused by unidentified toxins
Advice on managing poisoning by identified substances including