The new app named E-pass (Electronic pass) is intended to help the Ministry of Health truck and geo-fence the movement of COVID 19 patients under home based care thus reducing the number of non-critical patients that get admitted in hospitals.
At the height of the pandemic, many people would be rushed to health centers, even those that were not in critical conditions, a situation that overwhelmed health centers and also stretched the limited resources in hospitals.
This situation led the ministry of Health to develop a Home based care policy in which non critical patients would be cared for and monitored from their homes or other locations outside the hospitals.
Speaking at the launch of the app, MTN Uganda General Manager for MTN Business Ibrahim Ssenyonga said the new app will go along helping the government and the country to better manage resources as non-critical patients can now be monitored remotely from their locations of isolation.
“This new app will alert the ministry of health designated officials, if in case a patient under surveillance goes outside of the planned location boundaries. That way, the ministry can minimize further spread, but also be able to locate some of the contacts in the areas where the patient might have veered off to,” Mr. Ssenyonga said.
Development of the app which lasted about four months cost shs 460 million with package including 400 smart phone handsets which will have been installed with the app and will be used for monitoring.
At the height of the pandemic in Uganda, many Ugandans would storm health centers either in critical condition or out of fear resulting from normal flu or cold and they would all demand to be admitted.
NITA-Uganda Executive Director said that they are pleased with the solution as it will serve as a game changer in the management of COVID 19 pandemic.
“We are very proud because of the local capacity we have to quickly develop an app of this kind that will change the way we manage the COVID 19 pandemic in the country. This coming at a time when the vaccine is already in the country is a big boost in government efforts to curb and minimize the spread of the pandemic,” the Executive Director said.
The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine thanked MTN Uganda and NITA Uganda for this intervention saying that it takes collective effort from every one to be able to defeat this disease.
“It is true that management of patients was quite a night mare for government and the health centers. We were having many people coming to hospitals that didn’t need to be there. And these were taking space for those that needed to be there the most. So this solution is very welcome and it is a win for us as a country in the management of this pandemic,” Atwine said.
Atwine also paid special tribute to MTN who she said have really stood through thick and thin with the ministry not only in the management of the COVID pandemic but in many other health related initiatives over the years.
MTN Uganda was at the forefront of supporting the government in the fight against COVID 19, contributing over shs 2 billion in various interventions through the year 2020.