Safaricom cuts call rate to doctor service
VALUE ADDED SERVICES| Oct. 12, 2012, 8:03 a.m.
Safaricom has slashed in half the cost of using its Daktari medical advice line.
The cost of calling the Daktari 1525 line is now to Kshs.10 per minute. Daktari 1525 is a teletriage service which allows customers to get medical help from qualified doctors through the phone by dialing 1525.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore noted that by reducing the call rates, more subscribers would now be able to access the Daktari 1525 service which was launched in November last year.
“The Daktari 1525 service was introduced so as to widen the bracket of Kenyans with access to quality healthcare. By reducing the call rates, our intention is to ensure that this vision is not inhibited by costs given that majority of Daktari 1525 users are in the Kshs. 0-500 range,” Collymore said.
Presently, Daktari 1525 service receives up to 2,000 callers per day. Since its launch last year; over 200,000 calls have been received for issues ranging from medical emergencies, suicide, reproductive health advice and information on small children who fall sick at night.
According to Dr Polly Okello, a Director at Call-a-Doc, majority of the callers come from Nairobi, Rift Valley and Central regions. He added that the Daktari 1525 service has set aside Wednesdays and Fridays as “specialist days” where Pediatricians and Gynaecologists are available to respond to calls.
“This follows the realization that many of the callers need specialist advice especially on matter to do with children and reproductive health,” Dr Okello said.
Kenya's doctor-patient ratio is one doctor for every 17,000 patients, which is far below the WHO recommended one doctor for every 1,000 patients. Safaricom says the Daktari 1525 service will help address this challenge and see people who would otherwise never get medical help from a doctor access it.
The Daktari 1525 service is co-owned by Safaricom and Call-a-Doc limited, an establishment that deals with the dissemination of medical information using modern communication tools. Safaricom offers the platform and connectivity while Call-a-Doc limited offers the expertise in medical services and hires doctors.
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