Not feeling well? Lonestar Cell MTN says you can call a short-code (6633) and speak live with a licensed Liberian doctor, to get instant health solutions-consultations, diagnosis, quick response to emergency health problems among other services.
The service, called ‘Dial a Doctor’, is a unique proposition for thousands of Liberians who know all too well the tedium of standing in lines, waiting to see a doctor at the hospital or clinic. The transportation; the time away from job; the pain; the hours.
At 10-cents a minute, and a 4-digit short code Lonestar Cell MTN believes they are on track toward mitigating the staggering doctor-to-patient ratio deficit the country is suffering.
A pressing need indeed.
Recently the Liberia Collage of Physicians and Surgeon (LCPS) revealed that the country has a total of 261 registered Liberian and non-Liberian doctors. The LCPS further disclosed the doctor-to-patient ratio stands at a stunning one doctor to ever 19,000 patients.
Lonestar believes “the provision of cheap and affordable services that helps patients get easy access to doctors will make an impressive change in the health condition of patients and the health sector of Liberia. Hence, the introduction of the ‘Dial a Doctor’ service is the first step in achieving that milestone.”
The Company assured subscribers of the effective nature of the new service and emphasized that all interactions with the doctors are strictly confidential.
The phone call consultations are completely anonymous for callers. However doctors on call are identified and, at the time of an anonymous experimental call by a Daily Observer reporter, there were three doctors on call – two females and a male. Their names were listed in the pre-consultation dialogue, and then the caller was asked to ‘press 1’ to begin the conversation. Callers do not get a choice as to which doctor to speak with.
The female doctor who answered did not introduce herself, but went straight into the inquiry of what the caller was experiencing. After about three minutes of the conversation, the caller asked where the doctor practiced. She replied that, as a matter of policy, they do not give out personal information beyond their basic identification. However, she was happy to recommend the caller to a hospital in Sinkor and another in Congo Town, both suburbs of Monrovia.
Lonestar Cell MTN has not disclosed how far around or beyond Monrovia this service has reached yet, but said since the launch of the service, the company continues to receive impressive feedback from subscribers about the service and the performances of the Liberian doctors. They also added that customers’ testimonies have further consolidated their desire to offer more value added services to enrich the lives of all Liberians.