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COVID-19: Mt Kenya University develops contact tracing Application dubbed as “KoviTrace”

Three researchers from the private institution have taken two months to develop a system which if adopted by the government will cut the cost of tracing contacts that may have interacted with Covid-19 patients.

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Mount Kenya University is the latest higher learning institution to have joined other Kenyans and institutions in devising ways to combat Covid-19 that continues to ravage the country.

Kenyans have been battling to innovate solutions to suppress the pandemic that continue to claim lives alongside leaving a trail of economic shockwaves.




So far, the country has rediscovered its potential in coming up with locally manufactured technologies such as automatic hand washing machines, Personal Protective equipment’s and ventilators.

Three researchers from the private institution have taken two months to develop a system which if adopted by the government will cut the cost of tracing contacts that may have interacted with Covid-19 patients.




The innovators led by Donatus Njoroge (a Biochemist and a lecturer at MKU), Gideon Kamau (an IT expert) and Dr Jessse Gitaka (a medical doctor) have developed a Covid-19 contact tracing Application dubbed as “KoviTrace” that has the ability to trace people who might have been in close contact with a patient for the last 14 days.

Initially according to the trio, the system was only meant for creating awareness in the local community and also offered recommendations as provided by World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health to Kenyans in case one exhibited symptoms.

The system according to Njoroge has a Back End system which is a Web controlled portal that can be used by the administrator, in this case the Ministry of Health, and a front end system which can be accessed by Kenyans with smartphones or through a USSD for those without smartphones.




“The mobile application keeps track of locations and time stamps in the database which can only be accessed by the administrator in this case, the government,” he said.

To access data, the administrator is only required to key in the mobile number of the patient and command the system to trace contacts.

“The entire system then compares the patient’s data, location and time stamps against all all other people and if there is an intersection then the system will robotically generate an SMS instructing everybody the patient has come into close contact with to self-quarantine or go for testing,” he said.




Speaking at the university, the researcher maintained that the system can also be used by users to gauge their susceptibility or exposure to the virus adding that it’s installed with all Facts, Answers and Questions (FAQs) regarding the pandemic from WHO.
He noted that the APP gives the user instructions of whether to self-quarantine, go for a test among other recommendations.

“It is also equipped with all the existing hotline numbers for Covid-19 response teams in the entire country where a user may seek urgent help,” he added.




If adopted by the Kenyan Government, Njoroge insisted that the development can save the Ministry of Health time and resources it has been using in tracing contacts noting that efficiency and effectiveness are guaranteed with the technology.

Dr Jesse Gitaka said that the APP is well designed not to victimize patients saying that the messages sent to his contacts are encoded to protect personal data and privacy of the patients.

IT specialist Gideon Kamau noted that the system will be advanced even post covid-19 to address other related pandemics and infection outbreaks.
“Since Covid-19 might not the last outbreak in the world, we hope to repurpose the application to tackle other outbreaks in the future,” he said.




The three innovators are now calling on the government through the Ministry of Health to consider approving and adopting the innovation as the country is seeking solutions as it primes opening the economy.

Source: People Daily

CORONAVIRUS CASES

Live Updates COVID-19 CASES
  • World 17,786,110
    World
    Confirmed: 17,786,110
    Active: 5,921,479
    Recovered: 11,181,140
    Death: 683,491
  • South Africa 493,183
    South Africa
    Confirmed: 493,183
    Active: 159,007
    Recovered: 326,171
    Death: 8,005
  • Egypt 94,078
    Egypt
    Confirmed: 94,078
    Active: 49,635
    Recovered: 39,638
    Death: 4,805
  • Nigeria 43,151
    Nigeria
    Confirmed: 43,151
    Active: 22,707
    Recovered: 19,565
    Death: 879
  • Ghana 35,501
    Ghana
    Confirmed: 35,501
    Active: 3,223
    Recovered: 32,096
    Death: 182
  • Kenya 20,636
    Kenya
    Confirmed: 20,636
    Active: 12,130
    Recovered: 8,165
    Death: 341
  • Ethiopia 17,530
    Ethiopia
    Confirmed: 17,530
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    Recovered: 6,950
    Death: 274
  • Somalia 3,212
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  • Zimbabwe 3,169
    Zimbabwe
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    Active: 2,098
    Recovered: 1,004
    Death: 67
  • South Sudan 2,322
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    Confirmed: 2,322
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    Recovered: 1,175
    Death: 46
  • Namibia 2,129
    Namibia
    Confirmed: 2,129
    Active: 1,953
    Recovered: 166
    Death: 10
  • Rwanda 2,022
    Rwanda
    Confirmed: 2,022
    Active: 911
    Recovered: 1,106
    Death: 5
  • Tanzania 509
    Tanzania
    Confirmed: 509
    Active: 305
    Recovered: 183
    Death: 21
  • Burundi 387
    Burundi
    Confirmed: 387
    Active: 82
    Recovered: 304
    Death: 1
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