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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 TESTING AND TREATMENT PROTOCOLS IN ZAMBIA

SES COVID-19-related questions and answers for our Zambian members.

WILL SES PAY FOR MY COVID-19 TEST?

This a question with different answers, depending on the circumstances and the reasons why you may need a COVID-19 test.

These are the circumstances in which SES will pay for a test:

  • Symptomatic for COVID-19. If you, our member, or any of your dependants, are showing COVID-19 symptoms, your test will be covered by SES if requested by an SES doctor.
  • In-patient procedure. If you, our member, or any of your dependants, have been admitted to a medical facility and require a COVID-19 test prior to a medical procedure, your test will be covered by SES. 

These are the circumstances in which SES will not pay for a test:

  • Travelling. SES will not pay for a COVID-19 test for travelling/visa purposes.
  • Contact tracing. SES will not pay for a COVID-19 test if done as a precautionary measure where the member has been in contact with someone who has tested positive and is not symptomatic.
  • Elective/out-patient procedure appointment. SES will not pay for a COVID-19 test if it is required by a medical facility prior to an elective or out-patient procedure or appointment. If a member chooses to go to a facility requiring a COVID-19 testing prior to an elective or out-patient procedure or appointment, the cost of the test will be the responsibility of the member and will not be reimbursed by SES.

WHERE CAN I GET A COVID-19 TEST?

All suspected COVID-19 cases are required, by law, to be managed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI).

The MOH is currently performing tests free of charge. These tests are run centrally in Lusaka. Medlands Hospital and CIDRZ Laboratory are also performing COVID-19 tests, but please note that these facilities are charging fees for testing.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK? (when out in public and/or when entering an ses clinic?)

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) recommend that everyone aged 2 years and older wear a cloth face mask or covering in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and who do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and to practise social distancing (this means standing at least 2 metres away from other people, especially in enclosed spaces).

Please note that no one (staff, patient, or visitors) will be permitted to enter any SES premises unless they are wearing a mask.

For more information on when and why it’s advisable to wear a face mask or covering, please consult this link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.

If you think you need a test, please call the MOH Covid-19 Hotline on 909 (toll-free). Only throat and nose swabs are available in Zambia for COVID-19 testing (COVID-19 blood tests are not yet available in Zambia).

If you qualify for a test, stay at home and wear a mask. The MOH will dispatch a COVID-19 team to come to your home for the test. They will contact you with the results.

If you don’t qualify for a test, please self-isolate at home. If you are an SES member, contact our dedicated SES COVID-19 Hotline and a medic will advise you on what next steps to take. Call +260 76 203 1802 if it’s an emergency, or if it’s not urgent, please send a WhatsApp to that number with your name and membership number and we will call you back.

I AM NOT FEELING WELL. SHOULD I SELF-ISOLATE? WHICH SYMPTOMS WARRANT SELF-ISOLATION?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pain and fatigue
  • Diarrhoea

If you are in doubt, please self-isolate. You may be positive for COVID-19 and displaying mild symptoms. By staying at home and self-isolating, you are aiding your recovery and reducing the risk of potentially spreading the infection to others, thus protecting the vulnerable citizens in our society. If you have to go out for essential medical appointments, please use a mask, practise social distancing and wash your hands regularly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

If you are an SES member, contact our dedicated SES COVID-19 Hotline and a medic will advise you on what next steps to take. Call +260 76 203 1802 if it’s an emergency, or if it’s not urgent, please send a WhatsApp to that number with your name and membership number and we will call you back.

WHAT DOES SELF-ISOLATION MEAN?

Self-isolation is when you and your whole household stay at home and limit contact with others. You can, of course, continue to work and study at home if you are well enough to do so.

I HAVE BEEN SELF-ISOLATING AT HOME. WHEN IS IT FINE TO STOP SELF-ISOLATING?

If you have been unwell, you should stay at home and self-isolate until you are well. By well, that means that at least 14 days should have passed from when your symptoms started and at least 72 hours should have passed since your fever and shortness of breath settled.

If you are self-isolating due to having travelled and/or having had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you need to stay at home for at least 14 days after your return from your travels or at least 14 days from the last contact you had some a confirmed COVID-19 case.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?

  • If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 and they require medical treatment and/or support, they will be taken to and treated at a MOH-designated isolation facility. At this time, no private facilities have been designated as COVID-19 isolation facilities. In the case of our members, SES will help in all ways possible in terms of liaising with local authorities. SES will also, with the authorities’ permission, provide medication, consumables, equipment and our hands-on clinical expertise.
  • If a person is admitted at an isolation center, SES insurance will cover all of the costs associated with treatment in line with the member’s level of cover.
  • We anticipate that private resources will be mobilized too, but this will be under the directive of the MOH.
  • If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 and does not require medical treatment and/or support, they can stay home and self-isolate. If the patient is a member, we will do remote check-ins, advise on the appropriate treatment of their symptoms and prescribe medication if necessary.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SYMPTOMS ARE SEVERE?

If you’re displaying any of the emergency warning signs for COVID-19 (below), please get medical attention immediately. You can call SES on 737.

Emergency warning signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If you’re displaying mild cold symptoms (such as a runny nose, sore throat, a mild cough, and no fever), please send a WhatsApp to our dedicated SES COVID-19 Hotline with your name and membership number and we will call you back.

WILL SES BE ABLE TO EVACUATE ME IF I GET COVID-19?

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and require a domestic evacuation, we endeavour to get permission from the MOH and ZNPHI for the transfer.

Please note that, as per all previous epidemics and the new SI’s in place, all suspected COVID-19 cases are required by law to be managed by MOH and ZNPHI.

We anticipate that private resources will be mobilized too, but this will be under the MOH directive.

Should a member of ours require international evacuation, we will try our utmost to get clearance from the relevant authorities in both Zambia and South Africa, but the ultimate decision will lie with these government bodies.

WILL SES BE ABLE TO EVACUATE ME FOR A CONDITION NOT RELATED TO COVID-19?

At this time, domestic medivacs will continue.

Patients will be brought to Lusaka for treatment. Should a member of ours require international evacuation we will try our utmost to get clearance from the relevant authorities in both Zambia and South Africa, but the ultimate decision will lie with these government bodies.

WHAT IS SES DOING TO HELP MEMBERS DURING THIS PANDEMIC?

  • We’re keeping our members up to date with information as we receive it via frequent newsletters (https://mailchi.mp/a16fe9105438/ses-coronavirusupdatemarch2020-2936834?e=2a8d85a9e7 and https://us11.campaign-archive.com/?e=&u=39873ab597bc7c4291eb48690&id=62ab58fc40) and social media posts.
  • We’re offering our members direct access to telephonic advice from our experienced medics. For this we’ve set up an SES dedicated COVID-19 Hotline: +260 76 203 1802. Members can call the number for emergencies and WhatsApp the number for non-urgent queries.
  • We’re offering Chronic Disease Management for all members who are at a higher risk of serious symptoms. (Please see the section below that talks to high risk patients.)
  • We’re doing everything within our power to ensure that all members on chronic medication have adequate supplies.
  • Our SES Clinics and ambulance services are still open and available to service our members for suspected COVID-19 cases (via separate entrances, waiting areas and consulting rooms), as well as other illnesses and injuries.
  • We’re offering telephonic consults at the clinics to limit face-to-face contact
  • Gold members will have access to free consultations at our SES Clinics during the pandemic.
  • Gold and Silver changes to benefits during this pandemic (please see the related section below).
  • Should a member contract COVID-19 and require transfer or admission, our SES medics will liaise with District Health Doctors to optimise their care.
  • Should a member contract COVID-19 and be well enough to stay at home, SES will do remote check-ins, advise on appropriate treatment of symptoms and prescribe medication if necessary.

CAN SES PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH MASKS?

Unfortunately not. We need to keep our masks to protect our clinic staff and for sick patients entering the clinic.

Please note that no one (staff, patient, or visitors) will be permitted to enter any SES premises unless they are wearing a mask.

For more information on when and why it’s advisable to wear a face mask or covering, please consult this link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.

HOW SHOULD I CLEAN/DISINFECT AT HOME?

It’s advisable to use a bleach/Jik solution for ‘high touch areas’ and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Please browse the following CDC article for further information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html.

WHO IS AT HIGHER RISK OF SEVERE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS AND WHAT SHOULD THEY DO TO LIMIT THIS RISK?

Elderly patients, as well as those with uncontrolled underlying health problems such as COPD, Severe Asthma, Diabetes, Hypertension, HIV or other causes of immune suppression are at risk of more severe symptoms.

We strongly encourage anyone in this category to practice self-isolation with their entire household.

Please WhatsApp our dedicated COVID-19 Hotline +260 76 203 1802 if we have not contacted you yet. We will contact you to establish the following:

  • Whether you enough supply of your chronic medication. If you don’t we will work to access the medication you require.
  • Whether your condition is optimally controlled. If it is not, we encourage a face-to-face clinic appointment to optimise your management.

WHAT SHOULD I STOCK IN MY HOME FIRST AID BOX WITH AND WILL THIS BE COVERED BY SES?

Medications to have at home:

  • Paracetamol tablets
  • Calpol Syrup for Children
  • Regular cold and flu medications (e.g. Coldrid)
  • ACC 200 or other mucolytic (breaks up thick sputum)
  • Any chronic medications (ensure you have an adequate supply)

Our SES 2020 Table of Benefits (page 5) does allow for an over-the-counter medication allowance.

Claims can be submitted to payandclaim@ses-unisure.com.

WILL I BE COVERED ON MY GOLD OR SILVER COVER IN ZAMBIA DURING THIS PANDEMIC?

SES will be extending in-country benefits to Gold and Silver members, who will be fully covered in Zambia for acute life and limb threatening conditions that are unrelated to the Coronavirus if we are unable to evacuate the member during the COVID-19 outbreak due to closure of borders and international airspace. This means that SES will cover emergency response, emergency hospitalization and treatment until the member has been discharged.

Gold members can be attended to at the SES Clinics in Lusaka and Kitwe, free of charge for consultations. Medications and specialist treatment will need to be paid by the member on a fee-for-service basis.

Official notice will be sent out to all Gold and Silver members to inform members when the restrictions on international evacuations have been lifted and when SES can return to business-as-usual.

TIPS FOR STAYING INFORMED AND COPING WITH THE STRESS OF THE PANDEMIC

  • Avoid social media account disseminating false news and scare mongering
  • Do not disseminate false news yourself. Follow government bodies and health authorities for accurate, up-to-date information.
  • Embrace the positives of quality time at home with family and connecting virtually with friends and family.
  • Develop healthy routines at home, following an adequate exercise regime and eating a healthy, balanced diet with as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and if you smoke try to decrease or stop totally.

Browse these World Health Organisation resources for more information:

 

SES is PACRA registered. SES is licensed to sell insurance policies through the Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) License Number: 1072. SES is registered with the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) for Medical Services and Clinical operations.

2019 © SES Zambia - Part of the the Unisure Group. All rights reserved. E&OE.

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