Hello Doctor has launched a 24/7 doctor-based COVID-19 Triage Hotline which is accessible anytime, anywhere, on any phone, for all South Africans, for free.
South Africa’s healthcare facilities are at risk of collapsing under the vast number of people descending on their doorsteps. A triage hotline will reduce the unnecessary load of patients turning up at healthcare facilities (those who don’t need to be there) and free up clinics and hospitals to care for only those who really need to be treated.
The basis of the tele-triage hotline solution is simple: free, rapid access to a medical doctor’s advice and managed care – using technology that is readily available to all – the mobile phone.
All South Africans now have access to a single dedicated USSD number: *120*394#
The USSD session launches with a COVID-19 risk assessment tool, and the outcome of the assessment triggers a doctor callback request for high-risk individuals, or in the case of low-risk individuals, a list of educational COVID-19 FAQs.
This solution is particularly relevant for members of the public who have tested positive for COVID-19 and require managed care and advice while they are in quarantine.
Note: Hello Doctor’s service has been endorsed and approved by the NICD.
The COVID-19 hotline is primarily aimed at lesser privileged communities in South Africa, and as such:
- No airtime required at all (the USSD session is reverse billed, and doctors call patients)
- Device agnostic (works on any mobile phone)
- Completely free to the end user, meaning no one is excluded on the basis of affordability.
We cannot afford the skills of our health practitioners to be lost during this critical time in our country. We need all the doctors we can get online and, on the frontline, to reach patients before they reach our healthcare centres. That’s how we curtail this pandemic, flatten the curve and make sure we don’t let COVID-19 devastate our healthcare system, our country and its people.
Dr Michael Mol