Menu

Tracking Coronavirus Symptoms In Ghana Using Accessible Mobile Tech

Tracking Coronavirus Symptoms In Ghana Using Accessible Mobile Tech

Dr Kwabena Nuamah, together with a team of software developers at Cognate Systems in Ghana, have deployed a Covid-19 symptoms tracker using accessible mobile technology: USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data). Through their system (Opine Health Assistant), users in Ghana dial the USSD short code *920*222# or *714*444# on their mobile phones and then follow the prompts to answer questions about symptoms and other Covid-19 risk factors. Deploying the system via USSD removes many of the barriers to accessing the system in such a critical moment. USSD is widely accessible across the country on all mobile networks; it does not require internet access; it does not incur network charges for users; it does not require the installation of a mobile app and so users do not need to have a smartphone.

In addition to asking users about their health status, the system also asks users if they need food and (or) shelter. Based on a user's stated location, details of nearby food banks, shelters and other relief items are sent back to the user via SMS. They are working with community food banks and other organisations providing social relief items to keep this information updated.

This effort was recently featured on CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/04/africa/ghana-coronavirus-hotspots