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Vodacom makes R40m donation to National Department of Health to curb spread of COVID-19, partners with Samsung to provide 20 000 smartphones

Thursday, 9 April 2020

JOHANNESBURG - To support efforts in combatting the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa, Vodacom Group will donate 20 000 smartphones plus 100 terabytes of data and 10 million voice calls minutes to the National Department of Health. This will be used by frontline health workers to collect and transmit data in real time for resource planning purposes as government accelerates its COVID-19 testing campaign.

Commenting on the R40 million donation, Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO, said: “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. Achieving this will require a massive collaborative effort and we’re delighted with Samsung Africa’s investment of 5000 smartphones into this initiative. Vodacom is willing and committed to do whatever we can to help. 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. 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.”

This latest donation announced by Vodacom will also assist Government by ensuring that medical care resources are efficiently and effectively distributed to help those who are infected or require critical medical assistance. Each of the 20 000 smartphones will be loaded with 5GB of data and 500 voice minutes to be used to facilitate the immediate collection and transmission of data to the National Department of Health COVID-19 Information Centre to assist with resource distribution planning. Samsung Africa will cover the cost of 5 000 of the 20 000 devices.

“As Samsung we are conscious of the increasingly important role technology will have in the fight against COVID-19. Our frontline workers need to be equipped with secure smart phones 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. As a partner to South Africa we also wanted to acknowledge the Government’s efforts to date and are committed to assisting where we can,” said President & CEO of Samsung Africa, Sung Yoon.

Vodacom recently announced a partnership with Discovery to deliver a simple but powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic and whereby both companies committed R10 million to provide free online doctor consultations for people that are at high risk. 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 has significantly increased investment in its network to keep customers seamlessly connected as more people work from home. This includes ensuring its free ConnectU portal can handle the significant increase in traffic, as people use essential services such as Vodacom e-School, which gives learners access to curriculum-aligned content from grade R to 12 in all 11 official languages so that they can continue to work from home during the extended break. Vodacom has also zero-rated Sacoronavirus.co.za and put measures in place to ensure that the National Gender Based Violence Command Center remains operational at a time when our more vulnerable citizens need assistance the most.



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