Digitization has come as a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic and as the fight is becoming more challenging, digital epidemiology tools are coming to rescue. In Assam, with rising home quarantine cases, healthcare providers and the government are utilizing solutions beyond their walls to monitor the coronavirus more than ever.
Researchers are pivoting their technologies to help fight the spread of this deadly virus. The tough fight given by Assam sets an example, as it moulds digital intervention to be used as new surveillance tools.
As home quarantine became an essential step to contain the spread of virus, it was also felt than an appropriate system should be developed to be able to monitor on a daily basis, the people quarantined at home, in order to keep an eye on their health. Adhering to this demand, Assam government took up a unique initiative which is seen as a huge technological feat on it’s part.
TECH FOR HOME QUARANTINE
‘COVID Suraksha’, developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), which is Assam State Centre’s mobile app-based solution was first successfully implemented in Hojai district of Assam. Now it is being rolled out by Kamrup (Metro) district, as over two thousand people are in home quarantine who are being monitored under this system.
Interestingly, when Kamrup (Metro) was dealing with the problem of how to monitor home quarantine in the absence of a proper mechanism, Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) requested the NIC to provide an IT based solution. NIC, Assam State Centre suggested that ‘COVID Suraksha’ may be used for this purpose.
The Optimist News spoke to Biswajit Pegu, IAS and Deputy Commissioner of the Kamrup Metropolitan, as the district has gone digital in implementing this monitoring app.
“COVID Suraksha is a web based as well as a mobile based application to track people who are in home quarantine. This software was initially launched in a district called Hojai and gradually Kamrup metropolitan had adopted it. This is done by national informatics centre. NIC has developed QR codes to create a database of all those who are in home quarantine. The software has two parts, one is a web-based application portal and the other is a mobile app, which provides simple, user-friendly, and effective solutions.” Said BiswajitPegu.
COVID SURAKSHA IMPLEMENTATION
The district administration of Kamrup Metro had formed surveillance teams consisting of members of the Integrated disease surveillance team, District Epidemic Officer, ASHA workersand MPW (Multipurpose Worker). This monitoring surveillance team is deployed to look after 2,169 people under home quarantine. This team was initially entrusted to collect details of each and every quarantined member and was to be entered into the portal as a part of the registration process. On completion of the registration process, QR codes for each of the quarantined members were generated from the portal.
After the completion of the process, print outs of these QR codes were pasted on the front of the house of each of the members who were in home quarantine. On each visit, the members of the surveillance team scan the QR codes and along with medical details of the quarantine person concerned and upload these details it in the portal.
“QR codes are made for each person who are in home quarantine and these were pasted outside the residence. Our surveillance team consists of Integrated Disease surveillance team, district epidemic officer, and Asha workers go to each of these houses after checking up with quarantine person about his health, this QR code which contain all the details are scanned and uploaded in the website. That way we are able to know if any of the home quarantine people has COVID symptom or not. So far we have 2,169 home quarantine.” Added Pegu.
The status of each of the quarantined members submitted by the surveillance team members from the dashboard can then be viewed by the Kamrup Metro District administration. ‘COVID Suraksha’ has been successfully rolled out in the Kamrup Metropolitan District, in collaboration with the district units of National Health Mission(NHM)and Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).