What you need to know:
- KoviTrace also provides users with WHO information about the disease as well as a self-screening test and other health information.
- Once a user tests positive, the technology will trace all of the users’ contacts in the past 14 days so that the government will have updated information on who needs to isolate.
Despite a global health pandemic and an economy battling difficulties we never expected, Kenyans will not give up. We have some kind of innate spirit that drives us forward against all odds.
This is the kind of innovative personality possessed by many of Kenya’s finest entrepreneurs, the ones taking on developing country challenges and addressing them in our own way.
While the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, China, and Israel come up with solutions that fit their own cultural and social realities, bright young Kenyan and African thinkers are the ones that will come up with the solutions that truly turn things around for us.
And while almost every country in the world is dealing with Covid-19 mitigation, each country has its own unique challenges to deal with. Some have broken healthcare systems, some suffer from lack of national cohesion, and others do not have leaders with clear visions.
But many countries, including Australia, have developed software to trace Covid-19 and get people to isolate.
Recently in Kenya, three hardworking researchers came up with a tracking system that will discover all the people that a Covid-19 positive patient has come into contact with in the last 14 days.
Biochemist Donatus Njoroge, IT expert Gideon Kamau and medical doctor Jesse Gitaki came up with KoviTrace in order to assist the government in finding this pernicious virus.
The technology includes a back end system which would be used by the Ministry of Health, and a front end system for citizens to install on their Android phones, or accessed by code for those without smartphones.
KoviTrace also provides users with WHO information about the disease as well as a self-screening test and other health information.
Once a user tests positive, the technology will trace all of the users’ contacts in the past 14 days so that the government will have updated information on who needs to isolate.
The system will alert them by text message and provide information on the nearest hospital. This is more effective than word of mouth because people could forget everywhere they have gone and who all they came into contact with.
If KoviTrace is adopted by the Kenyan government, Kenya will be one of just a handful of governments worldwide who are using similar apps to trace and mitigate Covid-19.
The sooner we implement technology like this, the sooner we will be able to reopen our economies and get back to business as usual.
After all, Kenya could be in a much worse situation than we are already. While coronavirus cases do continue to rise here, they have not gotten out of hand such as in other countries with much larger pools of resources.
In the United States, for example, there are about twice as many deaths per capita when compared to most European death rates.
When putting into perspective our fairly large population size and the resources we are working with, Kenya thus far has done a good job of keeping it at bay. Even as numbers rise, the government is continually adopting new technologies to stave it off.
Luckily, our president acted quickly as soon as news reached us that a case had landed in Kenya.
Though regrettably in early March it was still unthinkable for Kenya or any country to shut its borders and demand that everyone who enters quarantines, that rule was quickly implemented.
As a result of the government’s strict rules on movement and use of the media to educate what we know about Covid-19 and how to practice proper hygiene in order to prevent it, Kenya is still progressing.
During these trying times, it is crucial that we wake up each morning with an optimistic attitude and believe that together, it will be possible for us to get out of this mess. Many of the hardships that Kenya and other developing countries have faced are due to no fault of our own. Who would have expected that a virus from China could have affected us so drastically?
With continued Kenyan innovation and cohesion at all levels of society - between the government and the people, and between different tribes - historians will see Kenya as one of the countries that emerged on the right side of this global crisis.
Mr Cherambos comments on topical [email protected]