Poisons Information Centre

About Us

The Poisons Information 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.

The centre produces the AfriTox® poisons information database to assist doctors throughout southern Africa to manage poisoning cases. It allows fast access to accurate information immediately after poisoning is suspected or confirmed, so that a patient can be treated appropriately and effectively.

Poisons Information Helpline (24 hrs)                 +27 861 555 777

For general or AfriTox® enquiries (8am-4pm)    +27 21 658 5308 or e-mail poisonsinformation@uct.ac.za



The Poisons Information Centre at Red Cross Children’s Hospital compiles, collates and researches information on the diagnosis and treatment of potentially poisonous substances, plants and venomous animals.

This information is packaged as the database AfriTox®  poisons information database which is designed to help medical professionals diagnose and treat poisoned adults and children. AfriTox® is widely distributed to doctors and treatment facilities throughout southern Africa  and it underpins the poisons emergency telephone service.

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 information on a wide spectrum of toxins, including locally available commercial products, South African poisonous plants and animals.

The running costs of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Poisons Information Centre are partly supported by the Western Cape Department of Health and partly by private donations through the Children’s Hospital Trust.

If you would like to make a donation to AfriTox and the Poisons Information Helpline, your support will help to provide a 24/7 poisons advice service to all people in South Africa. Please use the bank details below, with your name and surname as a reference, and email a copy of the proof of payment to afritox@uct.ac.za

Account Name: AfriTox

Bank: Standard Bank

Branch Code: 025009

Account: 071 519 432


The services we offer:

Poisons emergency telephone service

The Poisons Information Helpline is available to members of the public and health care workers 24 hours a day.

The service provides help with poisonings caused by unidentified toxins, and information on managing poisoning by substances including

·         Pharmaceuticals

·         Chemicals

·         Pesticides

·         Household products

·         Plants and animals

AfriTox® poisons information database

There are 2 versions of AfriTox® available to healthcare practitioners:

·AfriTox® ONLINE : for a single user with continuous internet access who can use it on a smart phone, laptop or PC

·AfriTox® OFFLINE : allows everyone who works in a clinical unit (eg an Emergency Room) access to AfriTox. The AfriTox database is downloaded onto a computer which only requires intermittent internet access in order to remain up to date.

The intellectual property rights to AfriTox® belong to UCT.

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.