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COVID-19 TESTING AND TREATMENT PROTOCOLS IN ZAMBIA
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.
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.
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).
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain and fatigue
- 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.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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:
- Coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Parenting in the time of COVID-19
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.