GHS launches mobile application to strengthen disease surveillance

By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey

Accra, Aug 14,
GNA
– A new mobile application (app) dubbed ‘GEPP’ was on Tuesday Launched
in Accra for use by the public to aid the early detection and prevention of
infectious diseases.

The app
developed under the Global Epidemic Prevention Platform (GEPP), a collaborative
initiative between the Korean Telecom (KT) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS),
seeks to prevent the transmission of infectious disease in all parts of the
country.

This follows a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in November last year between the KT
and the GHS to strengthen capacity on disease surveillance.

The app, which
can be downloaded for use on android and IOS smart phones, has been programmed
to alert users to be aware of potential infections, to encourage users to
report their symptoms to health authorities and provide them with nearest
hospital information.

Dr Ebenezer
Odame, Director of Policy Planning and Evaluation (PPME) at the Ministry of
Health (MOH), who launched the app, said the app could become useful only when
people downloaded it on their phones.

He said the
health sector would leverage on the technology to detect, prevent and quickly
respond to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with epidemic and
pandemic potential

He said the
African region had experienced over 100 outbreaks in recent times due to the
fact that diseases could be easily transported from an isolated rural community
to a major city in few hours.

“According to
the United Nations Development Group, the West African sub-region lost over USD
3.6 billion annually between 2014 and 2017 due to an increase in trade, closing
of boarders, flight cancellation and reduced foreign direct investments,” he
said.

Dr Odame stated
that though there has been an improvement in Ghana level of emergency
preparedness, the threat of highly infectious pathogens being transmitted
across the country truly existed.

He stressed the
need for Ghana to strengthen its diseases surveillance system within and across
borders and thanked the Korean and its partners for supporting Ghana to improve
on its preparedness towards health security.

Dr Dongmyun Lee,
President, Future Platform Business Group of Korean Telecom, said the app was
simultaneously operated by informing GHS of national travellers to
epidemic-prone countries or, local areas.

The app
according to him sent information by pushing app messages on disease
information, and prevention measures to users for pre-response during their
stay in connected areas.

The app,
according to him, would collect information to build a strong national public
health system that was able to maintain active surveillance of disease and
public health events.

“It would
rapidly investigate reports, assess public health risk, share information to
allow the implementation of public health control measures control measures at
national level and also warn citizens of local and seasonal diseases,” he said.

Dr Anthony
Nsiah-Asare, Director General of the GHS urged the public to download and make
use of the app to help Ghana to improve public health and minimise
socio-economic loses.

GNA

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