Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Poison Information Centre
The Tygerberg Poison Information Centre (TPIC) provides a comprehensive, consultant-based, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week service to health care providers and the general public, effectively providing a not-for-profit service to the whole of South Africa.
Accidental and intentional exposures to poisons and mostly pesticides are a major problem in South Africa, particularly in disadvantaged communities with limited access to health care facilities.
The TPIC can rapidly identify cases of exposure to substances that carry no toxic risk. We can help to distinguish between mild poisoning cases that can be treated by first-aid measures alone or by non-hospital medical personnel; moderate cases that can be treated in general health facilities; and severe poisoning cases, which might need special facilities and equipment for treatment. In this way we can reduce both treatment delays and unnecessary hospital visits, with associated wastage of resources at health facilities.
Currently the TPIC staff have a big workload providing a 24 hour service. We are also involved in other activities such as teaching, research and community outreach programmes.
Our Poisons Information Centre is under severe financial pressure and with the funding we may receive from donations we could employ essential staff to further enhance our service.