Ghana's Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated that the gathering and availability of data has played a significant role in Ghana's battle against COVID-19 so far.
Identifying suspected cases, testing and tracing contacts of confirmed cases and treating them have become the most effective way of tackling the virus around the world, and with nearly 40,000 tests conducted so far, Ghana is ranked among the top 20 countries in the world as far as per capita testing of COVID-19 is concerned.
Speaking at the launch of GH COVID-19 Tracker (an app to track COVID-19 cases in Ghana) in Accra on Monday, 13 April 2020, the Vice-President, who is the Chairman of Ghana's COVID-19 Daily Monitoring Team, noted that the government’s reliance on data of cases have become Ghana's biggest weapon in the fight against the Coronavirus.
"Data is our most powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19. You cannot fight what you cannot see," said Dr Bawumia.
Apart from the vigorous preventive campaign the government has launched, the decision to close down the county's ports of entry, ban public gatherings and institute a partial lockdown in some parts of the country, the Vice-President said the government has resorted to a scientific way of curbing the spread of the Coronavirus by relying on data from various sources to identify suspected individuals for a quick response.
On the GH COVID-19 Tracker app, Dr Bawumia said the app will significantly boost government’s main strategy in combating the virus, which he labelled as "the three T" strategy of testing, tracing contacts and treatment.
"Our focus has been on tracing, testing, treatment, as well as observing social distancing and these have been made possible through data, and this COVID-19 Tracker will significantly help.”
With the launch of the GH COVID-19 tracker app, Ghana's COVID-19 team has a mobile app with rapid response features for contact tracing and symptoms tracking, which will ultimately lead to more testing - a development the Vice President described as a great step.
"The launching of the GH COVID-19 Tracker App today is yet another step by the government to leapfrog technology in finding solutions to the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking around the world."
"This is another weapon in our arsenal. It will provide us real-time data and allow a quick, early response by our professionals," Dr Bawumia said.
The COVID-19 Tracker App, through the common platform of mobile networks, is able to trace contacts of persons infected by the virus, show where they have been in recent time, through various telephone-related data, and link such people to health professionals for urgent action to be taken.
The app, through same telephone-related data, is also able to report contacts which are, or have recently been to COVID-19 hit countries, as well as track whether individuals required to self-quarantine, are indeed doing so.
Countries like China, South Korea and the United States are using this concept of crowd sourcing from phone data to manage and track persons affected by the pandemic and offer health care.