In order to help in the tracking and surveillance of coronavirus cases, the government has installed a new digital system to improve the response for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH). The new system, officially unveiled on Monday, is believed to be a more suitable digital tool that enhances result oriented surveillance, monitoring, and tracking of coronavirus cases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic broadly at national level.
A team of experts led by the MoH and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) have been working to reconfigure and deploy a digital information system for public health officials and policymakers, to access accurate, real-time information during the outbreak.
Health Minister, Lia Tadesse (MD) explained at her office that the world had seen the evidence shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health experts on how we can help flatten the curve to slowdown the spread of the epidemic and to mitigate the risk it creates.
“Doing so will require individual and collective protective measures that stamp out new chains of transmission while also mitigating the damage of the spread of COVID-19,” she said.
She further indicated that the tools are critical in terms of routinely collecting surveillance data, tracking suspects, tracing contacts of confirmed cases, issuing lab requests and receiving results and monitoring COVID-19 patients until their health outcome is determined.
The minister, coordinating the fight with the response task force against the growing threats of the virus, pointed out that “these tools will be integrated with the other existing systems, developed by our partners for better consistency and timeliness of all COVID-19 related information.”
Similarly, Ebba Abate (MD) – Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) Director General – on his part said “the digital tools will support the enrollment and tracking of suspected cases, create lab requests, link confirmed cases with contacts, and monitor patient outcomes.”
He said that as a result call center agents, rapid response team members, medical officers, lab technicians, and national and local health authorities involved in the coronavirus response, will be able to do their jobs more efficiently.
USAID Mission Director, Sean Jones noted that “Data is not going to stop the coronavirus by itself, but will serve as an essential tool for epidemiologists and health authorities to monitor and respond to the crisis more effectively.”
In the meantime, the National COVID-19 Resource Mobilization Committee is mobilizing funds availed by local and international sources that would strengthen the financial needs for the response to the virus.
Members of the committee have announced that in the first five days of its establishment, it was able to collect close to 200 million birr, locally.
The committee was established last week with a task of coordinating efforts of gathering financial and non-financial materials for COVID-19 emergency preparedness. The committee is set up and chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, while some 10 ministers are part of the committee.
On Wednesday, the PM, on his Facebook page said the amount of the fund collected locally, did not include the contributions made in-kind.
More than 241,000 people have contributed 2.7 million birr through Ethio-telecom’s SMS service locally, he said, connecting the contribution of various people and organizations, with Medemer mentality.
“This is a clear demonstration of MEDEMER in action, with Ethiopians from all walks of life saying that we stand united through adversity,” Abiy said adding, he is grateful to all the contributors “For heeding the call and ask you to continue your support through the official government channels of resource mobilization.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-amoudi, chairman and owner of MIDROC Ethiopia, donated 120 million birr to fight the pandemic.