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Vodacom offers 20 000 smartphones to COVID-19 health workers

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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.

The company says 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, says: “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 5 000 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.”

The telco says this latest donation 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.

It notes that 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,” said president and CEO of Samsung Africa, Sung Yoon.

“Our frontline workers need to be equipped with secure smartphones 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.”

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