SOUTH AFRICA – The Kena Health application launched in South Africa connects users to a team of qualified healthcare practitioners for advice, diagnoses, prescriptions, sick notes and provides referrals to a specialist pathologist for medical needs.

The new mobile solution provides a network of doctors, nurses and mental health professionals to chat with via smartphones available on both iOS and Android along with a digital assistant dubbed Linda which collects general information about the user’s condition to form part of the secure patient record.

Kena Health uses a team-based approach that allocates health practitioners to each patient’s unique needs based on a shared data view of the patient while an experienced nurse offers family planning advice and treatment of gastritis, anaemia, allergies, urinary tract infections and common colds.

Mental health apps are essentially digital mobile applications that can be used either on a smartphone or tablet and they provide advice or assistance with their mental health.

Consultations can be conducted via text, voice or video within the app that is tailored to keep data costs manageable and in instances where a doctor is required, the nurses can transfer the call for a seamless connection within the Kena team.

The mental health app comes at a time when there is fundamental underinvestment in mental health that makes providing access to care incredibly difficult coupled with little progress in terms of government spending on mental health.

According to UNICEF South Africa , some 65% of young people stated that they had some form of a mental health issue where more than a quarter of respondents didn’t think their mental health problem was serious enough to seek support while 20% did not know where to get help and 18% were afraid of what people would think.

Kena Health provides private, affordable and remote care for mental health through digital solutions in an effort to improve access to mental health services across South Africa and help to alleviate the lack of mental health services in rural areas.

Kena Health Founder Saul Kornik pointed out that the mental healthcare app aims to improve access to quality care by lowering cost, noting that the app focuses on team-based healthcare while improving the quality of health outcomes for each patient.

Digital mental health solutions are increasingly helping to address the barriers to seeking mental health care. The mental health application assists in improving access to mental health professionals through a private, affordable and remote access service,” said application creators.

Saul Kornik further said that users can access their first three consultations free of charge, with subsequent consultations costing as little as R160 (US$1.36) each, adding that the mental healthcare app will be a game changer for millions of South Africans.

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