As part of an effort to limit the contraction of the novel virus particularly by frontline health workers, a group of students from KNUST has developed an App that makes it easy for doctors to have consultations with patients via a video call feature.
In the view of the App developers, they believe this would be helpful at instances when patients are asymptomatic and are not aware they could be having the virus.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), over thirty-five thousand (35,000) health workers had been infected with coronavirus worldwide as of 21st April 2020.
It added that the number could be significantly higher because not all frontline health workers who contract the disease are reported.
According to the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) thirteen health workers have reportedly tested positive for the virus.
The COVAID has a video feature that enables a patient to speak to a doctor, including a GPS feature which makes it possible for the ambulance service to transfer personnel to one’s location when necessary.
The leader of the team, Stephen Frimpong speaking to CitiNews explained how the app which they have named “COVAID” works.
“It’s just one app but has two sections: the citizen’s part (patient’s) and the doctor’s part. Opening the app it asks whether you’re a patient or a doctor. We have a database of the list of qualified doctors provided by the Ghana Health Service. The system would deny user access once he or she is not a qualified doctor. The citizen’s part, however, has free access to everybody. They only have to enter their cell phone number and they’re good to go.”
“Once you’re logged in as a doctor, there’s a radio button to be checked and that indicates that the doctor is ready to work. Citizens who are logged on to the system will then be able to see the doctor’s name. The radio button can be unchecked when the doctor is not ready to work. There’s also a notification feature on the doctor’s side where the doctor can see new cases reported and track the location of the new cases as well. There’s a guide map should a doctor decide to visit the patient for treatment or testing,” he added.
The app has been created in such a way that one can easily see real-time updates of COVID-19 on the Ghana Health Service’s website.
Stephen says they are making plans to consult authorities at the Ghana Health Service on how they can collaborate and operationalize it.
“We are making preparations to meet the Ghana health service in order to explain to them how the app works, how it would be of help to them, and also how it’s going to protect our doctors and reduce their risk in their line of duty”.
The students believe this innovation will help transform Ghana’s health care system significantly even after COVID-19 since it could drastically help reduce overcrowding at various health facilities across the country.
“Beyond COVID-19, this app could be used to prevent our doctors from contracting contagious diseases. Aside from that, when the pandemic is over, it could still be used for doctor-patient consultation services. For instance: A patient who is mildly ill, could consult a doctor via the app without having to visit the hospital. That way, economic activities can still continue”.
The developers say they are working on the app to make people access it even without using the internet.
They also called on various organizations and groups to support them financially to help make the app fully functional.