As the world continues on its race against time trying to innovate all possible solutions to the coronavirus crisis, an unexpected bunch here in Kenya are busy trying to create solutions as well. Tracing apps and services are methods that have been adopted by a number of countries so far to try and track the spread of the pandemic. By having movement histories of various COVID-19 patients, the health authorities are then able to identify other potential patients and areas that need more tests done.
However, these apps have not been used widely in Kenya as there has still been debate on how legal it would be with rising concerns about privacy. Well, these methods seem to matter more according to these students who have gone ahead to develop an application that can actually be used beyond just tracing COVID-19 patients.
A group of youngsters from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) developed a Contact Tracing and Case Management app, set to help identify who, where and when a person gets into contact with a COVID-19 patient. As reported by The People newspaper, the app has already seen progress with a new partnership with Super Metro Bus Sacco that’s already using it. According to the students, the concept has been working successfully helping drivers and touts identify commuters that may possibly be infected with the virus.
The team that consists of Victor Muthembwa, Boniface Bundi and Crispus Nyaberi certainly hope that this app can develop further with time. The students hope that the service can be used further to solve the various doping cases that have been arising for years now, affecting many Kenyan athletes. This is by tracing the athletes’ movement history thus providing enough evidence on whether they doped intentionally or not.
“With the case management and triaging function, it will also be possible to make predictions of hotspots and showcase the trends of the disease in real-time. It also means when someone goes to the hospital, their details won’t have to be taken manually, a move that will reduce cost. Overall, this will be crucial in guiding policy-making and interventions, as well as epidemiological mapping,” explained one of the students, Crispus Nyaberi.
It will only be a matter of time before we see the app spread widely in Nairobi and beyond to try and help in testing and curbing this pandemic that has the world on its knees.