On Monday, April 13th, the government of Ghana launched a new app, the COVID-19 Tracker App, which is to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
The launch of the app indicated a new level of innovation in the battle to contain this virus which is sweeping all over the world and sparing no unprepared nation.
On the African continent, Ghana has been at the forefront of preparedness and innovation in battling the infection.
Ever since the first infections in the country were recorded in March, Ghana’s efforts to fight the virus, led by President Nana Akufo-Addo, has been ahead of the curve, especially in comparison to the rest of the continent.
That was sharply illustrated with the launch of the app, an effort which no African has country has undertaken so far.
The App works by providing the general public with a way to quickly and efficiently report any symptoms which might be an indicator of the virus. It asks you questions about symptoms, risk factors and geographical location.
In case a person tests positive, alerts are sent to anyone who has been in contact with the person to self-isolate, with the infected person’s identity being kept anonymous.
It’s expected to be a boon in the fight against the virus and help in containing its spread by quickly identifying potentially infected people and guiding them through the necessary self-isolation or quarantine protocols. It will also be instrumental in carrying out efficient contact tracing.
This puts Ghana’s fight against the virus at a level difficult to match anywhere else in Africa. Coupled with the quick and necessary lockdown of the major hotspots and the closure of Ghana’s borders early into its spread, community spread of the virus has been virtually contained, leaving most new infections mostly coming from those with confirmed contacts with the first batch of infections.
The efficient battle to contain the virus is also coupled with social interventions to help the citizens forced to live under a lockdown which has disrupted economic activities. Ghana’s offer of free water for the next 3 months as well as 50% off electricity bills is unprecedented anywhere else.
The coronavirus has crippled far richer and powerful nations than Ghana – with the U.S.A, Spain and Italy being just 3 examples. It had the potential to do far worse here but the rapid response government has taken to fighting it has led to one of the most textbook fights against the virus which hopefully can be studied and replicated by leaders elsewhere pining for success against COVID-19.