South Africa


Public Health

Type of Investment


Project Stage

Test & Transition

Length of Investment


Investment Overview

HealthConnect for COVID is a suite of mobile tools to allow users to access timely and accurate information and seek advice based on their personal circumstances and symptoms, while producing a large volume of data which can be utilised to inform government decision making in response to the pandemic.


The Development Challenge

South Africa was badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic: the number of positive cases identified exceeded 1.52 million by 9th March 2021. The scale of the pandemic put huge pressures on health services and has disrupted the ability of vulnerable populations, such as those living with TB and HIV/AIDs, to safely access care. As with other governments, communicating effectively with citizens and challenging myths and misinformation was a challenge in South Africa, as was accessing and utilising timely data on the incidence of symptoms to inform policy response.


The Innovation

HealthConnect for COVID is an innovation developed by South African non-profit, Reach Digital Health, and was a key tool for the National Department of Health’s (NDOH) response. It comprises two components, HeathAlert and HealthCheck, that both use mobile technology to provide access to citizens. Via HealthAlert, citizens can request the most up to date information on Covid-19 from a trusted and reliable source, and via HealthCheck they can undertake a risk assessment based on their symptoms, and receive tailored advice depending on their circumstance. Over 20 million people used HealthAlert around the world including through the WHO, with 8 million of these users based in South Africa.


Our Investment

GIF awarded a USD500K grant to IDinsight and Reach Digital Health (RDH) to better understand how users' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours were influenced by using HealthConnect, which could generate feedback loops to improve communications in the future. It was also seeking to maximise the potential of the data collected, including citizens’ self-reported data, to generate insights to improve the government’s response to the pandemic. The aim was for this investment to generate new learning on the potential of mass communication tools and self-reported health information.


HealthConnect for COVID in numbers


Unique users of Health Alert in South Africa

USD 500K

GIF Grant


Healthonnect Completion Report