A new mobile application (app) dubbed ‘GEPP’ was on Tuesday launched in Accra for use by the public to aid the early detection and prevention of infectious diseases.
The app developed under the Global Epidemic Prevention Platform (GEPP), a collaborative initiative between the Korean Telecom (KT) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), seeks to prevent the transmission of infectious disease in all parts of the country.
This follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in November last year between the KT and the GHS to strengthen capacity on disease surveillance.
The app, which can be downloaded for use on android and IOS smartphones, has been programmed to alert users to be aware of potential infections, to encourage users to report their symptoms to health authorities and provide them with nearest hospital information.
Dr Ebenezer Odame, Director of Policy Planning and Evaluation (PPME) at the Ministry of Health (MOH), who launched the app, said the app could become useful only when people downloaded it on their phones.
He said the health sector would leverage on the technology to detect, prevent and quickly respond to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with epidemic and pandemic potential.
He said the African region had experienced over 100 outbreaks in recent times due to the fact that diseases could be easily transported from an isolated rural community to a major city in few hours.
“According to the United Nations Development Group, the West African sub-region lost over USD 3.6 billion annually between 2014 and 2017 due to an increase in trade, closing of boarders, flight cancellation and reduced foreign direct investments,” he said.
Dr Odame stated that though there has been an improvement in Ghana level of emergency preparedness, the threat of highly infectious pathogens being transmitted across the country truly existed.
He stressed the need for Ghana to strengthen its diseases surveillance system within and across borders and thanked the Korean and its partners for supporting Ghana to improve on its preparedness towards health security.
Dr Dongmyun Lee, President, Future Platform Business Group of Korean Telecom, said the app was simultaneously operated by informing GHS of national travellers to epidemic-prone countries or, local areas.
The app according to him sent information by pushing app messages on disease information, and prevention measures to users for pre-response during their stay in connected areas.
The app, according to him, would collect information to build a strong national public health system that was able to maintain active surveillance of disease and public health events.
“It would rapidly investigate reports, assess public health risk, share information to allow the implementation of public health control measures control measures at national level and also warn citizens of local and seasonal diseases,” he said.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director-General of the GHS urged the public to download and make use of the app to help Ghana to improve public health and minimise socio-economic loses.