Health professionals roll up their sleeves to field residents' calls

Dr Luvuyo Bayeni.
Dr Luvuyo Bayeni.
Image: File

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and even a close aide to health MEC Sindiswa Gomba took over the department's call centre in Quigney on Wednesday as the provincial government shored up its fight against the coronavirus.

The team of senior health professionals, who also comprised labour and wellness specialists, took calls from the public between  8am and 1pm.

Gomba's technical adviser, Dr Luvuyo Bayeni, was among those  taking calls and jotting down notes from concerned callers, whose inquiries ranged from their chances of contracting the virus to what they assumed were symptoms.

A reassuringly calm Bayeni allayed their fears while imparting knowledge.

Speaking to the DispatchLIVE, Bayeni said the opportunity presented “conversations and consultations” with Eastern Cape residents over the phone about the pandemic.

He said some inquiries would be followed up on within four days.

“We have been deployed to come assist at the call centre today. The experience so far has been that there are people calling in because of concerns of the symptoms they've had and we have been able to have conversations and consultations with them,” Bayeni said.

He said they had no reason to suspect any of the callers had been infected.

“We have been receiving complaints from people reporting that some of their workplaces have not shown to have any plans related to the 21-day shutdown. Those complaints have been sent to the joint operations centre.

“We must indicate as well that there is another issue, which society should be contributing as well. In the motor industry sector, people are still continuing to book their cars for servicing. Cars are unfortunately coming through in East London, and coming from as far as Mthatha,” Bayeni said.

Provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: “The exercise is another way of getting the public to have access to our experts. Usually it's call centre agents who work here, taking calls. This is a 24-hour call centre.”

The department was meeting private security firms protecting all health facilities to assure them they were an essential service that would not be affected by the lockdown.