DURBAN – In response to the global viral pandemic, a national medical support hotline has been launched to assist South Africans, as the number of confirmed cases in the country increases.
Supported by Nedbank, the KwaZulu-Natal Doctors Healthcare Coalition (KZNDHC), Usizo Advisory Solutions and Vula have championed an urgent private sector response from primary health care doctors to provide a ‘Doctors on Call’ hotline to all South Africans
Doctors on Call Helpline addresses concerns or questions related to Coronavirus. Over 400 medical doctors have volunteered their time in support of this initiative. The service operates on weekdays from 8am until 5pm and is manned by a dedicated unit of doctors.
Project leader, Dr Anuschka Coovadia said: “When we started the Covid-19 doctors on call hotline, we imagined 5-6 doctors answering a few calls per day. We never expected hundreds of doctors, across the country, to choosing to volunteer their services rather than get paid. We didn’t expect to be getting almost 1000 calls per day. We didn’t expect that the national health institutes and clinics would be referring their callers to our team,”
“We didn’t expect the support of important organisations like GEMS and Nedbank. At a time when darkness surrounds us, the team at Covid-19 Doctors on Call has lit up the skies over South Africa. Often calling patients back, finding solutions where they are not easy to see, helping desperate people in rural areas access care, calming the fears of the aged and anxious,” she said.
Daily reports from the calls are captured on a dashboard and the clinical cases can be reviewed, if there are any queries. All data collection is done in line with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) requirements. All COVID related data will be stored by the NICD after the pandemic is over and studied to look for patterns that may assist if a similar event happens in the future.
“Engagements are also currently underway to explore how Doctors on Call can also support the 50 000 community healthcare workers, who the Department of Health are preparing to dispatch to do household visits in local communities,” added Coovadia.
When to call: You have symptoms of coronavirus, you have travel history and feel you might be exposed, you have been in contact via any other means, you want additional information about coronavirus.
Doctors on Call: 087 0550 234.
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