As a number of frontline health workers have contracted the coronavirus disease worldwide, a group of students from KNUST has created an app that makes it possible for doctors to have consultations with patients through a video call feature that could help reduce the rate at which health workers are at times exposed.
They believe this would be helpful especially when patients are asymptomatic and are not aware they could be carrying the virus.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), over thirty-five thousand (35,000) health workers had been infected with COVID-19 worldwide as of 21st April 2020.
WHO believes the number could be significantly higher because of underreporting.
In Ghana, the Ghana Medical Association has disclosed that thirteen health workers have been infected with the virus.
In a bid to offer protection for health workers, a group of students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has developed an app that makes it possible for persons who seek to visit health facilities to have consultations with doctors using the app.
It has a video feature which enables a patient to speak to a doctor, including a GPS feature which makes it possible for the ambulance service to dispatch personnel to one’s location when the need arises.
The team leads for the students, Stephen Frimpong explains how the app which they have named “COVAID” works.
“It’s just one app but divided into two: the citizen’s part (patient’s) and the doctor’s part. The moment you open the app it asks whether you’re a citizen 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 designed in such a way that one can easily see information published on the Ghana Health Service’s dedicated website for COVID-19.
Stephen says they are making efforts to engage 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 innovators 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.
9 Ghanaian innovations COVID-19 has triggered
The outbreak of coronavirus has sparked various inventions aimed at combating and saving the lives of Ghanaians.
Among such innovations include low-cost ventilators, Ebenezer bucket, Rapid Diagnostic Test kits, and Face shields.