Epicentre News • 21 April 2020
or too long South Africans have been left in limbo over private COVID-19 testing. Inspired by a challenging Coronavirus testing experience of our own & with the backing of medical aids, Epicentre is stepping up.
We will provide a brand-new service to serve self-administered test-kits right to people’s doorsteps. These self-administered test kits will be delivered & collected by trained nurses in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town.
When our families COVID-19 symptoms, how do we actually get them tested? To say getting privately tested in South Africa for the Coronavirus is difficult is an understatement. Many of our family doctors go pale when the virus is even spoken about. Yet testing is an internationally recognized as a key weapon against the Coronavirus.
Inspired by Our Experience
At Epicentre, a member of our team has unfortunately come down with COVID-19 after his work in the community. Without a thought for his own safety, one of our managers put himself on the front lines to get much needed medical equipment to desperate clinics in the Western Cape. When he returned home sick, our team jumped into action, and we have placed him in self quarantine.
The Epicentre team as leading members of the health industry knew it was crucial that we get a formal diagnosis for John*. This was a priority for us because we not only wanted did we want to be sure that he would get the right treatment should he need it but also because we wanted to do our part to ensure our government would have up-to-date information on the numbers of infected.
We knew from our experience that we would have to collect a swab from John (an earbud with his saliva in a plastic container). Once we had his sample one of our team went to a private doctor that we had contacted and agreed to help us. We arrived at the doctor’s office with the sample in not one, but 2 plastic bags wrapped around the plastic container holding the swab.
When the team member arrived at the offices, the private doctor and his staff were helpful but confused about what we were carrying around. As soon as our team member said COVID-19 everyone got very pale. What happened next was over so quickly our team member suddenly found himself pushed outside and locked out. After 15 minutes of bargaining through a closed door, he was told to just leave the specimen on the doorstep.
We found that our story inspired us. We had experienced firsthand how people dependent on our country’s private sector were being taken care of and they had left us wanting. There is a significant gap in COVID-19 private care.
While we need to have patience with everyone that’s panicking, but we need to move away from the stigma that South Africans often put on our sick. For a long time people stigmatized the HIV positive and now we’re doing the same to those with COVID-19. This needs to stop. We need to support each other and come together as a community to find solutions.
That is why, after this experience, Epicentre has decided that we needed to step up and use our experience with the HIV pandemic to provide a solution to this very serious issue for South Africans. The people of our country need to have someone that they can depend on to test them and their families, without getting turned away in their time of need.
Families have paid significant fees for medical aid and access to private hospitals for years. They need to feel the benefits they have payed for during this crisis. Mothers need to have somewhere they trust to turn to for quality testing for their families. For these mothers, business owners, and institutions, Epicentre has committed to provide peace of mind as: