Vodacom has announced that it will donate 20,000 smartphones, 100TB of data, and 10 million voice call minutes to the National Department of Health to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
These resources will be used by health workers to collect and transmit data in real-time for resource planning purposes as the government accelerates its COVID-19 testing campaign.
“Through this initiative, Vodacom seeks to support government’s objectives to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by flattening the curve and lowering the infection rate,” said Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.
“Achieving this will require a massive collaborative effort and we’re delighted with Samsung Africa’s investment of 5,000 smartphones into this initiative.”
Joosub said that Vodacom is willing and committed to do whatever it can to help curb the spread of the virus.
“This is in line with a broader Vodacom Group programme to create a social contract with our stakeholders that addresses pressing societal challenges, such as that posed by COVID-19, in the markets where we operate,” he said.
“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.”
Samsung CEO Sung Yoon said they supported the initiative, recognising the need for technology to be accessible to health workers in South Africa.
“As Samsung, we are conscious of the increasingly important role technology will have in the fight against COVID-19,” Yoon said.
“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.”
“Dealing with the pandemic requires a strong collaboration between Government and the private sector and we are honoured to have been able to contribute on this project with Vodacom,” Yoon added.
Vodacom recently announced a partnership with Discovery to develop an online healthcare platform that allows South Africans to take advantage of free doctor consultations.
This platform makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.
As part of its COVID-19 response, Vodacom said it has also increased investment in its network to keep customers connected as more people work from home.
This includes ensuring its free ConnectU portal can handle the significant increase in traffic.
ConnectU offers free access to essential services such as Vodacom e-School, which gives learners access to curriculum-aligned content from grade R to 12.
The mobile operator has also zero-rated the national coronavirus website and ensured that the National Gender-Based Violence Command Centre remains operational.