Bonitas offers free virtual medical
consultations to all South Africans
April 8, 2020: Bonitas Medical Fund
today announced that it has extended its free virtual medical consultations to all South Africans. This facility
includes medical advice about COVID-19, other medical problems, the writing of prescription,where necessary and
free delivery of chronic medication.
Telemedicine was originally developed to reach remote patients living in rural areas. It has now
become a critical tool as the world reels under the COVID-19 outbreak. Half the world is staying at homeand virtual medical consultations are
emerging as an effective and sustainable solution for precaution, prevention and treatment to stem the spread of
Medical practitioners nationally,have echoed the President’s instructions and sent out an urgent
plea to South Africans to, ‘Stay at Home.’ Not only to prevent the
spread of the virus but to protect the healthcare workers who play a vital role in treating patients.
Bonitas has heeded this plea – making it possible for more people to do just that. The development
of the Virtual Care App was announced at the Fund’s launch last year
and scheduled to launch this month. It has since been adapted and
expanded to help alleviate the burden on healthcare workers at this critical time, while making quality
healthcare accessible to all South Africans.
Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund, announced today that Virtual Care is
available to both members and non–members for free online consultations and, where necessary, prescriptions for
medicine.He says, ‘I’m proud to announce that this new dimension of virtual care, using the Bonitas Member App,
will be available to all South Africans from today.’
Whether you are a Bonitas member or not, you simply register on the Bonitas MobileAppand book an online consultation with a doctor from the extensive network offamily
practitioners. The doctor will then engage with you in a virtual video consultationon any medical issue, not
just around the COVID-19 virus and advise you on the most clinically appropriate steps for further care. ‘To
ensure the solution is as comprehensive as possible’, says Callakoppen, ‘We’ve partnered with Afrocentric Health
and Pharmacy Direct so that any chronic medication needed will be delivered to your
‘It is important to note’, he says,‘That doctors will advise and treat you within the guidelines set
out by The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HSPCA). If this is not possibleand you need physical
examination and care, they will refer you to the nearest healthcare facility.’
delivery of medication crucial
Gawie Erasmus, CEO of Pharmacy Direct says, ‘The delivery of chronic medicines to patients will play
a crucial rule in this innovative solution. We are a nationwidecourier pharmacy who delivers prescribed chronic
medication to a variety of patients.
‘Getting medication to patients has always been critical but even more so with COVID-19 and the need
for social distancing. To date we have a 99.9% service level score to the patients in our care. We will ensure this continues by extending our working hours and adhering to
stringent hygiene measures, including contactless delivery and drivers hand sanitising before and after each
COMPLETE THIS FORM TO GET YOUR MEDICAL AID
Your medical aid quote will include options to suit your pocket. Please ensure that the cover you
select is exactly what you need and that you understand exactly what insurance you are buying. Do not hesitate to
ask questions about the medical aid or hospital cover you choose.
consultations during the pandemic
Dr Rani Elenjical,
part of the virtual consulting team says, ‘Internationally, we
have seen that virtual consultations have helped alleviate some of the strain on the healthcare system caused by
the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Telemedicine offers a real-time consultation with patients. Through a video conferencing platform doctors can provide medical advice and,
to a limited extent,diagnose patients. They are able to prescribe medications and advise about different
treatment modalities for their patients. It also helps to streamline care coordination by ensuring that patients
have access to primary healthcare first. This saves time using online triage (the degree of urgency) to evaluate
symptoms and concerns.
‘In the current pandemic it is helping to bridge the gap between doctors and patients, enabling
everyone, especially symptomatic patients, to stay at home and communicate through virtual channels,’ explains
It’s not just
People who are suffering from other medical ailments during this time can receive care from home,
without entering medical facilities, minimising their risk of contracting the virus.
Callakoppen says, ‘What differentiates this service from others is that it is available for
consultations on all illnesses and ailments for which you would normally seeyour GP – all from the comfort of
your home. This will help to ensure you comply with the requirements of the lockdown, while staying safe and
protecting others. The consultation is free during the Covid-19 lockdown period, but all acute medicine is for
your account. Pharmacy Direct will assist you in making sure you get the best value for money on your chronic
medication. Delivery of chronic medication is also free of charge.
‘We are here to support all South Africans limit their exposure to the virus, while still receiving
quality healthcare. Together, we can make it through the worst of this,’ says Callakoppen.
For more information on how to download the Bonitas Member App
visit www.bonitas.co.za. The app is available to download on the Google Play Store and the iStore. Bonitas members will
need to log in to access the features available while non-members can register for a virtual
You can also stay updated on all Coronavirus-related topics by visiting the
COVID-19 Information Hub at www.bonitas.co.za/home/covid. The Hub is updated regularly to keep you abreast
of the situation.