Vodacom directs R40m phone, data donation to Health Dept for Covid-19 fight

9th April 2020 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Telecommunications giant Vodacom has committed to donating 20 000 smartphones, 100 Tb of data and 10-million voice call minutes to the Department of Health (DoH) for frontline use in the battle against the Covid-19 crisis.

The donation, valued at R40-million, will enable frontline health workers to collect and transmit data in real time for resource planning purposes as government accelerates its Covid-19 mass screening and testing campaign.

“This latest donation announced by Vodacom will also assist government by ensuring that medical care resources are efficiently and effectively distributed to help those who are infected or require critical medical assistance,” said Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.

Each of the 20 000 smartphones will be loaded with 5 GB of data and 500 voice minutes to be used to facilitate the immediate collection and transmission of data to the DoH Covid-19 Information Centre to assist with resource distribution planning. Samsung Africa will cover the cost of 5 000 of the 20 000 devices.

“To succeed in beating this global health crisis will require that, as citizens, we all take collective responsibility for curbing the spread of this virus,” he continued.

“Our frontline workers need to be equipped with secure smartphones that enable quick contact tracing and communication in order to slow down the rate of infections in the country,” added Samsung Africa president and CEO Sung Yoon.

“As Samsung we are conscious of the increasingly important role technology will have in the fight against Covid-19.”

Vodacom recently partnered with Discovery to launch an online healthcare platform, with the parties committing R10-million to provide free online doctor consultations for people that are at high risk.

“This platform makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility,” Joosub commented.