Violent crime has increased since the nationwide COVID-19 alert level 3 took effect on 1 June 2020. Cases of abuse of women and children have also increased dramatically. Through the #DiscoverYourVoice initiative, Discovery is supporting medical scheme members who experience gender-based violence and other traumatic crime.
UNITING AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
South Africa has one of the world’s highest gender-based violence rates in the world. According to a 2018 report by Statistics South Africa, our femicide rate (the murder of women on the basis of their gender) is five times higher than the global average. Globally, the World Bank calls gender-based violence a pandemic in which one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence, or both. They also highlight that a staggering 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
To turn the tide on the violence that we see take place in our society against women and children, we all need to play our part.
- Adrian Gore, Discovery Group CEO
Discovery is invested in creating an environment in which the health and prosperity of all South Africans is nurtured. Motivated by our core purpose, #DiscoverYourVoice encourages those who experience gender-based violence to reach out for help and to access immediate and confidential trauma support and scheme benefits, linked to Discovery’s Emergency Services and Trauma Support benefit.
Most importantly, this programme features dedicated channels to support a person through the trauma associated with gender-based violence. People who use the service connect directly with a dedicated specialist who will take the individual through a high-touch journey, offering direction towards:
- Guidance and advice on appropriate consultations with various healthcare professionals
- Emergency support that may be needed (such as hospitalisation or medical treatment)
- Counselling support sessions
- Practical advice, such as where to access places of safety or how to get a protection order.
The Emergency Services and Trauma Support benefit offers comprehensive assistance for those who have been through a traumatic event and is available to all members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme. Support is confidential and comes at no cost to the individual seeking help.
Access the service by calling 0860 999 911 (the Discovery 911 Emergency Line operated by Netcare 911), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Press 5 for trauma related to gender-based violence to reach our dedicated line and support.)
We also engaged with Discovery employees in the #DiscoverYourVoice campaign. Run over November and December 2019 across all five South African campuses, it rallied employees and leadership around this critical issue. The internal campaign included a LinkedIn campaign video and a SapJam (a company-wide intranet collaboration platform) page providing information and updates.
SUPPORTING DR MNYANDA’S PIVOTAL WORK TO BETTER UNDERSTAND AND SUPPORT VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Every year Discovery honours various professionals in the medical field through support made available through the Discovery Foundation. In 2019, Dr Yandiswa Mnyanda – Chief Medical Officer in the Accident and Emergency Department at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital (near East London) – was chosen to receive a Discovery Foundation Rural Individual Fellowship Award. This was for her work in providing quality care to individuals affected by gender-based violence, and particularly survivors of sexual violence.
Dr Mnyanda helped set up the Thuthuzela Care Centre at the hospital for sexual-assault survivors. She also developed a study to identify the reasons why survivors tend to delay reporting an incident or seek medical care. With the support she has received through her Discovery Rural Individual Fellowship award, she is actively studying more than 1 300 survivor files, so that targeted awareness initiatives can be developed to help to encourage necessary interventions much earlier.