Got a question?

If you have a question our FAQs below don’t answer, get in touch via our contact page. Alternatively, join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

I need emergency medical assistance. Can Kena help?

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Kena is not suitable for emergency medical situations, injuries or mental health emergencies, which require immediate, in-person treatment. If you need emergency medical care, immediately call 10177 or 082 911 (Netcare Private Emergency number) or 084 124 (ER24 ambulance number) for assistance. If you or someone you know is having a mental health emergency, immediately call Lifeline South Africa on 0861 322 322 or Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit on 0861 435 787. Both are available 24 hours a day. Alternatively, click here for specific emergency medical services and mental health crisis hotlines.

What is Kena?

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Kena is an app that connects you with a nurse, doctor or mental health professional and lets you talk to them through text, voice or video. It’s designed to make getting quality medical care and mental health support simple, accessible, and affordable for everyone. With Kena, you can get a range of healthcare services, including expert medical and mental health advice, prescriptions, sick notes, referrals, and more.

How much does it cost to use Kena?

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When you join Kena, your first 3 consultations with a nurse, doctor or mental health professional are completely free.

No banking or credit card details are required upfront and you can decide after your free consults whether or not to continue using Kena. If you continue, each further consultation costs just R160. Kena only charges per consultation, with no hidden fees. To use Kena, you will need to download the app and have data on your phone or a reliable Wi-Fi connection.

Can I claim Kena consultations back from my medical aid?

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Yes. When you pay for a consultation, we will send you an invoice confirming your payment that you can submit to your South African medical aid for reimbursement.

Please note: reimbursement is dependent on your chosen medical aid plan and scheme rules. Please contact your medical aid provider for more information.

Can I call a doctor directly?

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When seeking medical advice, it’s essential that the doctor knows your medical history, so that they can give you the best treatment plan for your needs. Kena helps doctors get a comprehensive medical history by putting you through to an experienced nurse first. They will assess your condition in more detail before putting you through to a doctor.

Did you know?
 Many common healthcare needs can be taken care of by only a nurse, without the need for a doctor. Talking to a doctor is always an option on Kena, but if your condition can be addressed by a nurse, it can save both time and money.

What can Kena help me with when it comes to medical care?

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Kena can help you with a wide range of medical needs, from day-to-day medical care, such as medical advice, referrals, prescriptions, sick notes and interpreting test results, to care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which require regular check-ups with a doctor. If you’re not sure what you need, or whether Kena offers it, simply start a consultation. One of our clinicians will be able to help you find out. Use one of your 3 free consultations when you sign up to find out how we can help you.

What can Kena help me with when it comes to mental health care?

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Kena connects you with a mental health professional who is experienced in providing mental health counselling and support for stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and more. The best way to find out if Kena is the right place for you to get the help you need is to start a consultation with one of our mental health professionals. Use one of your 3 free consultations when you sign up to find out how we can help you.

What can't Kena help me with when it comes to medical care?

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1. Medical emergencies
Because Kena lets you consult with a nurse or doctor online, it is not suitable for emergency medical situations or injuries which require in-person treatment. If you need emergency medical treatment, immediately call the National Ambulance Response Line on 10177 or dial 112 toll free from your cellphone. Alternatively, call 082 911 (Netcare Private Emergency number) or 084 124 (ER24 ambulance number) for a private ambulance. Click here for specific emergency medical services.

2. Consultations requiring physical exams or additional tests
Some consultations require a physical exam, such as a doctor listening to your chest with a stethoscope, or a nurse drawing blood.  These will still need to be done in person. If you are unsure whether you need a physical exam, a Kena nurse can tell you, and give you a referral for where you can get one near you.For some medical needs, you will need to get a test done at your local clinic first and then show the results to a Kena doctor to get your prescription. These include, for example:– Contraception prescriptions, for which a Kena doctor will need to see a recent negative pregnancy test with your name and the date on it.– The prescription or adjustment of chronic medication, for which a Kena doctor will need to see recent test results with your name and date on them.

3. The prescription of Schedule 5 and above medication
Due to regulations, you need an in-person consultation in order to get Schedule 5 and above medication, which means Kena doctors cannot prescribe it online. However, if you need Schedule 5 medication, a Kena doctor can give you a referral with the name of the medication you need, which you can take to your local doctor or clinic to get your prescription

What can't Kena help me with when it comes to mental health care?

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1. Mental health emergencies
Because Kena lets you consult with a mental health professional remotely, it is not suitable for mental health emergencies which require in-person treatment. In the case of a mental health or psychiatric emergency, immediately call Lifeline South Africa on 0861 322 322 or the Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit on 0861 435 787. Both are available 24 hours a day.  Alternatively, click here for specific emergency medical and mental health crisis hotlines.

2. Consultations requiring in-person mental health assessments
Some mental health conditions require an in-person mental health assessment with a psychologist, psychiatrist or doctor in order to give a diagnosis or prescribe medication such as antidepressants. These will still need to be done in person. If you are unsure whether you need an in-person assessment, a Kena mental health professional can tell you, and give you a referral for where you can get one near you. Once you have a diagnosis, you can come back to Kena for ongoing counselling as part of your treatment.

3. The prescription of Schedule 5 and above medication
Due to regulations, you need an in-person consultation in order to get Schedule 5 and above medication, which includes antidepressants. Because of this, Kena doctors cannot prescribe it online. However, a Kena mental health professional or doctor can give you a referral which you can take to your local doctor, clinic, psychologist or psychiatrist to get a prescription.

Who is Linda, Kena’s digital assistant, and what does she do?

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Linda, our digital assistant, is an automated conversational agent we designed to help gather routine patient history to free up the time of our nurses, doctors and mental health professionals, helping them spend more time with you. Answering her questions accurately and honestly is important because it helps us give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

I have very little data. What do I do?

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We know data can be expensive and we will always try and help you in ways that use as little data as possible, such as using text chat and sending photos. When consulting with a nurse, doctor or mental health professional on Kena, you can request to talk via chat or voice as much as possible and only use video if it is necessary to accurately diagnose and treat you. If data is a concern, we recommend starting a consultation when your phone has a Wi-Fi signal.

What are Kena’s operating hours?

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Our nurses, doctors and mental health professionals are available at the following hours: 
Monday - Friday: 8:00 - 18:00
Saturdays and public holidays: 8:00 - 14:00
Sunday: Closed
If you start a consultation outside of these hours, Kena will send you a notification as soon as one of our clinicians becomes available. We are working to extend our opening hours as our services grow.

Are consultations on Kena available on public holidays?

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Yes! You can get a Kena consultation with a nurse, doctor or mental health professional on all major public holidays between 08:00 and 14:00, except for Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Note that consultations will not be available if the public holiday falls on a Sunday.

How does seeing a nurse and/or doctor work?

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Step 1: Select what you would like to talk about on the Kena app.
Step 2: Linda, our digital assistant, will ask you some routine questions about your health.
Step 3: You will be put in a queue to speak to a nurse, who will talk with you one-on-one. You can use text or a voice or video call. If yours is one of the many common healthcare needs that can be taken care of by a nurse, they will provide the assistance you need, including issuing a sick note, referral or giving medical advice. All documents will be available on your phone.
Step 4: If your concern requires a doctor’s attention, the nurse will put you in a queue to see a doctor, who you can also talk to via text, voice or video. All consultations are strictly private and confidential.
Step 5: The doctor will give you your diagnosis, treatment plan, prescription, sick note, referral or medical advice. All documents will be available on your phone.

How does seeing a mental health professional work?

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Step 1: Scroll down to the mental health section on the Kena app and select what you would like to talk about.
Step 2: Linda, our digital assistant, will ask you some routine questions about your health.
Step 3: You will be put in a queue to talk to a mental health professional who will talk with you one-on-one. You can talk using text, voice or video. Voice or video calls won’t be started without your permission.
Step 4: The mental health professional can then set up a treatment plan with you, including future follow ups, or refer you to a doctor, who you can often also see on Kena.

Can I use Kena on behalf of someone else?

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Yes. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a child, you can use Kena on their behalf by scrolling down and selecting ‘Child’ on the home screen. You cannot currently use Kena on behalf of another adult, but we are working to allow you to do so in the future.

Why is Kena only available to people with South African ID numbers?

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When giving professional medical advice and treatment, such as prescriptions, it is important to confirm an individual’s identity. This is why we require an ID number, which we encrypt and store securely.

We know requiring an RSA ID number limits the number of people who can benefit from Kena, so we are hard at work on additional ways for people to confirm their identity.

Why do we use the phrase ‘mental health professional’?

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We use the broad phrase ‘mental health professional’ because there are different kinds of qualifications you can get to treat mental health. Not all mental health professionals are psychologists or psychiatrists, for example, some are registered counsellors. On Kena, we ensure they are qualified, registered with a national body, such as the HPCSA or ASCHP, and able and equipped to help you.

Will I speak to a real doctor on Kena?

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Yes. All our nurses, doctors and mental health professionals are based in South Africa and are qualified, experienced and vetted by us to ensure you always receive quality care. All of our nurses are registered with the SANC and our doctors are registered with the HPCSA.

Can Kena help me with my baby?

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Right now, Kena can only help with children over the age of 2 and so cannot help with newborns or babies as they require specialist care. However, we are working hard to be able to bring you more specialist care in the future, including being able to treat newborns and babies.

My question isn’t answered here. Who can I talk to?

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If you have a question that isn’t covered here please contact us. Alternatively, join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Why are Kena’s consultation costs so low?

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There are many ways Kena reduces costs, but the most important one is that we’re able to save time for our doctors. Kena uses a digital assistant, Linda, to collect routine health information, and a team of highly trained and experienced nurses who can both collect additional information and address many common health needs themselves without you needing to see a doctor as well. This means that when you see a doctor, they already have most, if not all, of the information they need to give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. This saves them time and allows us to charge significantly less for consulting a doctor.

Do I need to book to see a medical professional? 

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No, you don’t need to book to see a medical professional on Kena. Just open the app and start a consultation. Our digital assistant, Linda, will collect your medical history as soon as you start and you will be connected to a nurse, doctor or mental health professional within minutes. 

Will I wait long to see a medical professional?

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No, you won’t have to wait long.

Kena will connect you to a nurse, doctor or mental health professional within minutes.The best part is you don’t have to wait on hold. After you are added to the queue, Kena will send you a notification when a member of our healthcare team is ready to see you, so you can continue doing other things while you wait.

Can I really get treatment without being in the same room as the nurse, doctor or mental health professional?

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Using text, voice and video, the vast majority of day-to-day medical conditions can be treated through Kena. Similarly, the majority of mental health needs can be addressed by consulting a mental health professional remotely. There are important exceptions, though. These include: emergency medical and mental health situations, physical trauma (except basic wound care), and babies under 2 years of age. See ‘What can't Kena help me with?’ above for more details.

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