Momentum notes and understands Dis-Chem’s decision to close its COVID-19 testing facilities due to the backlog in obtaining test results from laboratories.
However, we would like to assure the public that this decision does not affect Momentum and Hello Doctor’s independent initiative to provide all South Africans with a free COVID-19 telehealth service.
Through Hello Doctor, a 24/7 mobile phone-based service that provides access to doctors within minutes, South Africans can still get free advice on whether they should get tested or obtain other COVID-19 related advice by dialling *120*394#.
“Even though the option of getting yourself tested at a Dis-Chem facility is now no longer available, Momentum will continue to fund the Hello Doctor telehealth service so that it remains free to all South Africans, and we are doing this without receiving external financial assistance for this initiative. The service was not offered in partnership with Dis-Chem, and can therefore continue as before. No data or airtime is required to use the service. Hello Doctor will call the patients back within an hour, and if they meet the necessary criteria, the doctor will refer them for testing,” says Damian McHugh, Executive at Momentum Health Solutions.
Dis-Chem, which had an initiative to provide more South Africans with access to free COVID-19 testing, was a good complementary service to Momentum Hello Doctor and allowed individuals without access to healthcare funding to obtain a test for free from Dis-Chem if referred by one of Momentum Hello Doctor’s health workers.
While Hello Doctor continues to service those who need COVID-19 advice and guidance the most, we would like to assure our clients who have access to Hello Doctor that the platform’s services available to them are not compromised.
Since the first case was confirmed in South Africa in March 2020, Momentum Health Solutions has launched various initiatives in the fight against COVID-19, such as its contribution to the Solidarity Fund, free access for all South Africans to Hello Doctor and financial relief to its clients through Momentum’s HealthSaver accounts and Momentum Multiply savings and rewards. Furthermore, they have provided a sponsored mobile testing unit to the Gauteng Provincial Government.
These initiatives are a great example of how South African corporates and government are working together to curb the spread of COVID-19 and bring more health to more South Africans for less.
“As the pandemic continues to evolve in South Africa, it is critical that we prioritise the most vulnerable in our society and provide testing services to those who would otherwise be unable to afford the tests. The Hello Doctor platform will continue to offer guidance to all citizens who do not have a medical aid, from 9am to 3pm during weekdays,” concludes McHugh.