Publicist and activist Lerato Sengadi recently tried to get tested for Covid-19 and, according to her, the experience wasn’t what she expected.
Taking to Twitter, she expressed her frustration with the experience of trying to get tested via the hotline supplied by the government.
The South African government advised people to call 0800-029-999 as soon as they believe they have symptoms.
The late rapper HHP’s widow said after visiting Europe recently and experience flu-like symptoms, she immediately called the number as she wanted to do the responsible thing and get checked.
However, she claimed, after calling twice she realised that what has been communicated to the public regarding seeking help from the hotline and what she experienced where two different things.
Lerato broke down the events of her call in a thread she shared on Twitter.
“I called the line after starting to have flu symptoms. Ordinarily, I would get over-the-counter meds, but because I was recently in Europe, I wanted to do the responsible thing and get checked.”
“I wanted to do the responsible thing and get checked. I called twice and both times the consultants said I should go to the doctor and self-quarantine. Which is obviously contradictory to the message circulating. They said there IS NO FREE TESTING!”
She said she was referred to the hospital by her doctor and when she got there, she had to pay R1 500 for a nasal swab as there is no free testing.
“Testing cannot be done at the doctor but at a hospital. Went to my doctor this morning and she put me under quarantine & referred me to Morningside Hospital for testing. Got there and THERE IS NO FREE TESTING! It’s R1500 for a nasal swab.”
“While I was waiting to get tested, I heard [one] of the nurses say they won’t test u without u being referred by a doctor (confusing bcos the comms say don’t go to a doctor) [sic].”
At the time of her tweets, she said she was in self-quarantine for the next seven days.
According to News24, only public-sector testing is currently free.
As of 9 March, Lancet Laboratories announced that it would also be processing Covid-19 tests from private doctors for R1 400 — how much of this cost you will have to cover yourself depends on your medical-aid scheme.
Discovery Health Medical Scheme will cover the costs of a test if you are found to be positive. If the result is negative, then you will pay for the diagnostic with medical savings.
The Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems), which covers more than 2,5 million South Africans, announced it would also pay for tests and treatments for the virus.