The Global Surgery Foundation (GSF) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in partnership with Slalom, the University of Cape Town’s Global Surgery Division supported by the Rali and Makentse Mampeule Foundation, launched a digital application to help South Africans assess symptoms of COVID-19 and identify coronavirus hotspots.
The launch of the application comes as the World Health Organization warns the death toll on the continent could reach 190,000 and the transmission pattern of COVID-19 will likely look different than elsewhere.
The application is tailored for South Africa, accounting for distinct demographic and public-health factors, and therefore aims to offer the public and policymakers an accurate overview of the virus.
The App uses minimal data bundles and is user friendly for both technologically savvy individuals and novice users. It is a helpful tool for people in need of free online medial consultations.
HOW DOES THE APP WORK?
The application is comprised of a series of brief questions regarding symptoms, health history, and location.
The data is fully anonymous but can be used to identify potential hotspots and communities at risk. It can support critical decision making by policymakers such as prioritizing resource allocations, targeting testing efforts.
To ensure benefit for majority of South Africans in remote areas, the App is translated into three official languages; developers are still on a process to add two more languages.
According the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the application is launching in South Africa as a pilot project with the expectation that is will be expanded to reach the entire African continent.
The ability to direct leaders to areas of high risk, especially in countries where testing is limited is critical for preventing the spread of the disease and saving lives.
The application is particularly exciting because it:
- Provides countries which do not have enough resources for testing or screening, the ability to provide a self-assessment.
- It assists individuals in making decisions that may help them in seeking healthcare if required.
- Stretches the medical resources in countries with shortages by identifying hotspots to inform equipment and resources distribution.
- Combats the second and third waves of the COVID-19 by providing accurate aggregated data to help inform policy decisions.
- Provide a tool for Africa that is tailored to its needs.
- It can easily and quickly be deployed for all future pandemics and epidemics.
“South Africa’s contribution to the development and taking the lead in test piloting application is key in ensuring that Africa is action ready for COVID 19 and other future pandemics,” says Rali Mampeule, Philanthropist and Chairman of the Rali and Makentse Mampeule Foundation.
The web application can be accessed free of charge on www.COVID.za.com