Three Kenyans develop COVID-19 contact tracing App

The brains behind the idea  — Donatus Njoroge, a biochemist and a lecturer at Mount Kenya University (MKU)
Three Kenyan researchers have developed a COVID-19 contact tracing system that track down all the persons that a patient has come into contact with in the last 14 days.
Donatus Njoroge who is a biochemist and a lecturer at Mount Kenya University (MKU), Gideon Kamau an IT expert and Jesse Gitaki who is a medical doctor developed the App dubbed ‘KoviTrace’ which has a back end system (a web-controlled portal for use by the administrator and a front end system which is an application that can be installed on Android phones or accessed via a USSD code by those without smart phones.
The App also provides users with an updated access to WHO’s frequently asked questions about the disease and a self-screening test that gauges the user’s vulnerability to the disease based on his or her previous interactions, behaviour and movements.
Not only can this technology be used by the Ministry of Health in tracing all persons that COVID-19 patients came into contact with, Kenyans can also use it to establish if they have been into contact with persons who have tested positive.
“Once an individual has tested positive, a Ministry of Health official will only be required to key in the patient's phone number onto the web portal and command it to trace all his contacts within the last 14 days instead of relying on his word of mouth,” explained Njoroge, the researcher behind the idea.
The system also sends an alert to all the persons that the patient came into contact with.
The alert, received in the form of a text message, also contains information on preventive measures, contacts of the nearest hospital and the emergency toll-free numbers of the respective county COVID-19 coordinator.
Njoroge points out that the system works for those who have installed the app in their phones or registered with the USSD code.
“It uses a geo-sensing technology that tracks the user’s location and time. The data is saved under a unique ID that is encrypted and cannot be accessed by other parties,” says Njoroge.
If Kenya certifies and adopts ‘KoviTrace’, it will rank among global economies that have established similar apps for use in taming the virus before reopening the economies.
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