New tech helps ministry better monitor Covid-19

By Confidente Reporter

MINISTER of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Itah Kandjii-Murangi this week handed over a Covid-19 Case Management and Surveillance Technology Solutions Suite to the Ministry of Health and Social Services to enable health workers countrywide to offer mobile phone services related to the pandemic.

The technology suites enables health workers to provide and manage support and services to citizens and patients via mobile phone. Apart from providing and managing health support related to the virus, the technology suite also enables surveillance of the pandemic across Namibia.

According to press statement by the education ministry, the suites have features such as self-assessment and reporting application for the general public, a patient diary application used for self-reporting and can send out an emergency alert during quarantine and has a health worker portal for managing patients, facilities and reporting.

The technology solutions jointly developed with the Ministry of Health have an executive dashboard to provide insights at a glance of the various metrics, locations and data. It also has a homeless persons application that registers and manages the needs of persons in need of shelter.

The tech suites, according to the statement, were developed under the mandate of the High Level Research Coordination (HILREC), a task force on COVID-19 appointed by Kandjii-Murangi to function as the higher education sectoral response to the pandemic.

Chaired by University of Namibia (Unam) Vice Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu, it consists of academics from Unam, the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST) and stakeholders from the private sector.

The tools were received this week by Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula for use and deployment at health facilities across Namibia. Features intended for public use will be available for free and the data management and access will solely be the responsibility of the Health Ministry.

The statement further noted that several thematic areas have been identified with different projects. One of the thematic areas is Epidemiology and Forecasting led by Prof. Anicia Peters, which has projects such as data modelling, case management, surveillance technology solutions and vulnerable community outreach initiatives.

Members of this thematic area include staff from Nust, Unam, the United Nations Development Programme, Green Enterprise Solutions, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia, Ministry of Information Communication and Technology, Namibia Statistics Agency and the Ministry of Health and Social Services.