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COVID-19 technology: Philippines launches app to collect data

To deliver fast, accurate, and real-time data reports on COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) recently announced the launch of the COVID KAYA application.

The app helps collect data and address information gaps relating to the country’s COVID-19 health situation.

According to the app description, it will assist frontline responders and others during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not to be used, nor should be used for diagnosis or treatment.

COVID KAYA aims to support the global community and provide community-centric IT tools to help proactive response and decision-making by authorities, while also extending peer-to-peer support through local communities.

A press release reported on a public briefing where the DOH Undersecretary, Maria Rosario Vergeire, said that COVID KAYA was developed and made by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

She said the system automates a data collection system used by frontliners when submitting COVID-19 case data reports.

The temporary classification of fresh and late cases is because of COVID KAYA application. The health department must check the laboratory’s line list to cross-validate the existing data they have.

The health department said in a statement that they are working closely with licensed laboratories to speed up the submission of COVID-19 test results.

The official said that when all the department’s laboratories submit consistently their daily reports, and they use the COVID KAYA application, only then can close to real-time information sharing between laboratories and the DOH happen.

Meanwhile, the DOH said its daily BeatCOVID19 situation report posted in their official social media sites and pages has all the relevant updates including the number of cases, laboratory facilities, laboratory capacity, unique tests are done, PPE updates, healthcare workers data, and behavioural messages.

As of 1 June, the DOH recorded 552 additional cases with 119 fresh cases and 433 late cases. This brings a total of 18,638 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. The department also reported 960 deaths and 3,979 recoveries.

DOH also granted the Bataan province license to operate a testing machine to conduct rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the virus.

The Governor said that the Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) recently received a GeneXpert machine that can provide COVID-19 results in only one to two hours. The machine reportedly has a 95 to 97% accuracy rate.

The GeneXpert test is intended for emergency cases to easily determine whether the patient should be isolated or admitted at BGHMC which was designated as an exclusive COVID-19 facility.

The rapid PCR testing machine includes 600 testing kits provided by DOH, and BGHMC is expecting another GeneXpert to be delivered by the second week of June.

Patients will no longer have to wait long before they know the result of their test, and they can stay at the hospital’s triage area for their doctor’s next move, he added.

The machine is part of the COVID-19 testing facility in the province, which shall be called as 1Bataan-BGHMC PCR Laboratory, with RT-PCR machine and other equipment for testing.

In the meantime, the province is waiting for the negative pressure system to be installed in the laboratory before it can receive full accreditation from the authorities, the Governor stated.

Once fully operational, 1Bataan-BGHMC PCR Laboratory will be capable of conducting about 350 COVID-19 tests in a day. The facility is located at the Provincial Health Office compound in Balanga City.

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