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Through the Linda Application, Kenyans will now be able to know if they are within the vicinity of a person who has tested positive through Bluetooth technology/CFM - Moses Muoki

Capital Health

3 tech firms develop mobile application to support COVID-19 contact tracing

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12- Three local firms have developed a mobile application to support contact tracing efforts by the health officials in efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Through the Linda Application, Kenyans will now be able to know if they are within the vicinity of a person who has tested positive through Bluetooth technology.

Bob Ndubi, Silverhouse Capital Limited’s Managing Partner says once a person downloads the application on their mobile phones, they are required to have their bluetooth on, so that they can receive a buzz cautioning them to maintain social distance.

“We are trying to look at how can help by becoming part of the solution, and we settled on technology,” he said when he briefed journalists on Sunday.

He explained that “The people who have been tested and released, their numbers are identified, such that if your Bluetooth is on and theirs is on, any time they get close to you- the Bluetooth vibrates. That is supposed to warn you to keep distance.”

Through the technology, he said, health officials can also be able to easily trace people who come into contact with a suspected case of coronavirus.

“These names (of people who have either tested positive) will not be put out in the public. The numbers will be captured in a way that we have colour coding on this App,” he said.

One of the partners, Eric Mungai, said once the application is in use, they will rely on government data on coronavirus, a disease that has killed more than 100,000 people across the world.

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He said the application is developed in a way that the privacy of people with the disease will be maintained- with its sole purpose being to caution people to maintain social distance – one of the precautionary measures recommended by World Health Organisation.

Through the mobile application, he said, one can also do a virtual test online twice a day.

“Because this is not a medical application, if what you are feeling meets the COVID-19 case criteria, then a doctor or a Ministry of Health officials will get in touch to query more,” he said.

“Young people we should be at the forefront to make sure we curb this disease.”

For the application to be confirmed by Google, he said they are working on the standard guidelines more so on privacy.

“We want to make sure the data is anonymous, but it will be used to alert the next user that in their area, like a hundred metres, there are suspected cases that have not yet been tested,” he pointed out.

“To us, this is just another flower that has been added into the bukey of what other Kenyans are doing, to make sure that we preserve our lives. It is better we preserve on life, that mourn a death of a loved one.”

Kenyans will be able to access the mobile application in the App-store within a week according to Mungai.

There are hundreds of Kenyans in quarantine while the number of confirmed cases stood at 197 by Saturday.

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Eight people have succumbed to the virus while 25 have recovered and discharged from hospital.

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