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Has lockdown caused you to miss your regular health check-ups

31 Aug 2020

A study commissioned by Liberty indicates the long-term health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic include the fact that more routine health issues have been disregarded during lockdown.

The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to include further pressure on hospitals in the near future as people who have been delaying regular medical screenings and procedures during lockdown begin to return.

And while there are still many unknown factors regarding the long-term health implications for COVID-19 survivors, there are already indications that the disease can cause permanent organ damage, which could lead to more requests for chronic care.

This is according to the Liberty COVID-19 Trends Report: Navigating the Flux, a recent industry study that looks at the future health risks of COVID-19 on South African citizens.

“Insuring one's health is critical especially in light of the direct mental and physical health effects that could indirectly lead to yet another wave of medical sector issues. With elective surgeries likely to be deferred to prioritise more urgent treatments - such as chemotherapy and other cancer treatments - this could also lead to a general fear of health checks, meaning other illnesses could go undiagnosed," says Dr Dominique Stott, Chief Medical Officer at Liberty.

“Life cover benefits are particularly important now that the mortality rate is increased. Studies have shown that 80% of the COVID-19 related deaths in South Africa were people over the age of 60. But death rates are also increased for those clients who have developed underlying high-risk diseases,” adds Dr Stott.

However, it is the indirect health implications that are also of concern, as mental illness has seen a sharp spike since the implementation of a nationwide lockdown in March. Between a rise in suicides and suicidal ideation, depression, stress and burnout, the report suggests it has become a necessity for employers to provide the necessary psychological support employees require.

The report further outlines that people with chronic illnesses might skip their medication and this will have significant impact on their lifespan: since COVID, 13% of HIV patients have put their antiretroviral treatments on hold.

"While there is much uncertainty concerning the long-term health consequences of the virus, it has left many people reassessing what is really important, and we believe that it presents an opportunity for us to deliver certainty to them through solutions that meet their evolving needs,” says David Jewell, Liberty's Group Executive for Retail Solutions.   

"At Liberty, we believe that it is during these unprecedented times that show the importance of being and staying insured, and that expert financial advice is critical to preserving and protecting one’s future financial health,” he says.

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Liberty Group Limited (Reg. no 1957/002788/06) is a licensed Insurer and an Authorised Financial Services Provider (no 2409).