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SES Newsletter | February 2021
Dear members,

On the 14th of February, the Ministry of Health in Zambia reported on 983 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths in a 24-hour period. Now is the time to stay safe and stay at home as much as possible. If we all play our part – by wearing masks, limiting social contact and practising good hand hygiene – it will go a long way towards flattening the curve and limiting transmission.

Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sarah Taylor, is using all resources available to monitor the situation from our clinics in Lusaka and Kitwe and our website’s COVID-19 FAQs page is being constantly updated.

For those of you who haven't visited our website lately, here are some of the most important COVID-19 updates to be aware of:
Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

The MOH is currently performing tests free of charge. Both PCR tests and approved Antigen tests are available at many district clinics as well as UTH, Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and Maina Soko Hospital.

In Lusaka, Medlands Hospital, CIDRZ Laboratory, Lancet Laboratory, Victoria Hospital and Coptic Hospital are also performing COVID-19 PCR tests (please note that these facilities are charging fees for testing).

In the Copperbelt, Arthur Davidson Hospital, the Tropical Disease Research Unit at Ndola General Hospital and Lancet Laboratories are able to do PCR testing.

Please note that reagent availability and turnaround time varies considerably at all of the MOH and private facilities on a week-to-week basis.

SES Clinics in Lusaka and Kitwe have a limited number of COVID PCR and Antigen tests available for symptomatic patients who meet the criteria for testing. Please note that due to the limited number of available tests, SES Clinics are not offering testing for travel purposes or for contact tracing (if done as a precautionary measure where the the member has been in contact with someone who has tested positive and is not symptomatic).
Will SES pay for my COVID-19 test?

This is 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:
  If you, our member, or any of your dependants, are showing COVID-19 symptoms, your test will be covered by SES if requested by a registered doctor or approved by a SES medic.
  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.
Is there a limit to the number of COVID-19 tests SES will cover?

Yes there is. The annual benefit limits are as follows:
What should I do if I think I need a COVID-19 test?

If you think you need a test, please use this online tool to assess your symptoms and risk profile.

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. If it’s an emergency, call the SES Call Centre at 737 /  +260 96 274 0300 / +260 96 941 6388, or if it’s not urgent, please send a WhatsApp to +260 76 203 1802 with your name and membership number and we will call you back.
What happens if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?

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.

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, a few private facilities in both Lusaka and the Copperbelt have been designated as COVID-19 treatment facilities.

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.
What is SES doing to help members during this pandemic?
  We’re keeping you, our members, up to date with information as we receive it via newsletters 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 or WhatsApp the number for non-urgent queries. Please contact the Call Centre for emergencies.
We’re offering Chronic Disease Management for all members who are at a higher risk of serious symptoms. 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 have access to free consultations at our SES Clinics during the pandemic.
We’ve made change to the Gold and Silver benefits during this pandemic (please visit our website for details).
Should a member contract COVID-19 and require transfer or admission, our SES medics will liaise with District Health Doctors to optimize 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.
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently unavailable in Zambia. The Ministry of Health is responsible for ordering the vaccine and establishing criteria for vaccine eligibility. Once the MOH has received vaccines and finalised eligibility criteria, SES will communicate directly with you, our members, to generate a list of those eligible and will work to facilitate vaccination. As and when the vaccine becomes available in the private sector, SES will work to roll it out to our members in a systematic manner, with the highest risk members (elderly or underlying health conditions) first.

Kitwe Clinic’s new operating hours

We’re open Mondays to Friday, from 8:00 to 17:00, and Saturdays from 9:00 – 12:00. On Sundays, public holidays and after-hours, however, we will only be available for emergencies. If you have any questions, you can call reception on +260 96 777 0304, make an appointment by calling 737 or you can email us at
First Aid courses for 2021
Please be aware that SES offers various first aid courses (upon request), including the well-known American Heart Association (AHA) Heartsaver First Aid course. There will be a first aid course presented on a Saturday of each month. To make a course viable we require 6 candidates. If we do not meet the required candidates the course will be postponed to another date.
For more information, please contact Konrad or Chanda (Lusaka) or Jasmine (Kitwe) on the email addresses below:

Meet the SES team: Operations Paramedic
Ruaan Kleinhans
Ruaan Kleinhans first joined the SES team in September 2019. As an Operations Paramedic for SES in a time of COVID-19, he’s a pretty busy guy – but he did push pause to answer these five questions so that you can get to know him a bit better:

Where did you work before joining SES?
I worked as a paramedic in Iraq for seven years.

What do you love most about your job? 
I must say that I love the adrenaline rush you get when you’re on the road doing emergency calls, but most of all I love seeing a smile on a patient’s face and knowing you’ve made a difference.

Can you share one SES experience with us where a member having health insurance made all the difference?
I remember that I’d just started working at SES when we got an urgent call in the early hours of the morning. Two of our members were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. Some bystanders had pulled the two occupants from the vehicle and took them to a local clinic. The driver was badly injured and the passenger suffered minor injuries. I went directly to the clinic, stabilised the patients and took them to a private facility. It was discovered that the driver sustained a fractured pelvis and was later evacuated to South Africa for further medical treatment. That incident was the first of many I’ve witnessed as a paramedic that show the importance of having health insurance and getting world-class medical care when and where you need it.

Do you have a COVID-19 message to share with our members?
By now we all know that we need to take precautionary measures to protect ourselves and our family – sanitise, wash your hands regularly, and wear a mask. We all need to do what we can to reduce the possibility of infection.

Lastly, on a lighter note, when you’re not on duty and saving lives, where will you be and what will you be doing?
I love being out in nature, camping and mountain biking. It’s good for the soul. I also keep myself busy working on home improvement projects.
Thank you. Natotela. Zikomo.
See you next month!
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