‘At the outset of the pandemic, Bonitas created an informative and educational Covid-19 hub as a reliable source of information for its members’, says Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund.
‘Recently, this hub was enhanced and bolstered and made accessible to all South Africans (www.bonitas.co.za/covid).
The information includes identifying symptoms, providing guidelines on how and where to be tested and receive treatment.’
The 3rd wave and Delta
This 3rd wave of Covid-19, which is predominantly the Delta variant, has had a major impact on our healthcare system with reports of hospital admissions being significantly higher than during waves 1 and 2.
‘Analysis by our actuarial teams shows that in 2020 we had a total of 8,111 members hospitalised due to Covid-19, as opposed to 8,675 over the past six months, says Callakoppen.
How the hub helps
‘As new scientific data becomes available, we continue to update the hub, highlighting key topics such as safety protocols, Covid-19 tests, dispelling myths around the vaccine and explaining the difference between Covid-19, the common cold and flu.
There’s a comprehensive guide to recovering from Covid-19 which includes tips for caregivers, as well as the do’s and don’ts of Covid-19 recovery.’
Private vaccination sites
By mid-July, Bonitas had vaccinated over 120,000 South Africans at its 10 private vaccination sites across the country.
A quarter of whom (32,078) were Bonitas members.
These sites adhere to all the required safety regulations and are staffed by qualified nurses.
Additional sites will come on-line in the new few weeks.
‘In addition, we have begun the process of opening vaccination facilities at major scheme employer sites, such as Eskom,’ says Callakoppen.
‘We have conducted a total of 350,602 PCR tests, 161,961 of these were between January and July 20th – with 31,948 members testing positive.
This is a 44% increase over 6 months. However, studies have shown that once people are vaccinated, they’re far less likely to fall seriously ill and that the vaccine provides protection against hospitalisation for the Delta variant.’
Vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, remains a priority if we are to minimise the impact of Covid-19.
‘It’s heartening to learn that vaccine acceptance is growing in South Africa.
Over 6,6 million doses had been administered, this means 4.15% of the population is fully vaccinated.
‘We have streamlined the process for members by providing access to a QR code, upon registration on the EVDS and our portal.
This means that they are scanned upon arrival, eliminating any delay by having to fill in forms – allowing for a smooth and efficient process.
Registration is still via the Government website on https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za, everyone must remember to take along their unique token, ID document/ passport to the vaccinations site.
If you’re on a medical aid, take your medical aid card with you.
‘We need to remain on high alert,’ warns Callakoppen.
‘We cannot afford to be complacent, we must all play our part to stay safe, following the protocols and get vaccinated.
‘We will continue to use our Hub as a central resource of information.
A ‘go to’ for help and advice as we learn to navigate through this pandemic.’