A Year of COVID-19 Response With CommCare
Last year, we released our first template application for COVID-19 response and announced that CommCare would be made available on a pro bono basis to organizations using the platform to build applications for their own COVID-19 response efforts.
Since that time, we’ve seen more than 100 projects focused on COVID-19 response use CommCare for everything from contact tracing and case investigation to facility readiness assessments and workplace screening.
Let’s look at how a few of these partners have been using CommCare for COVID-19 response:
Contact Tracing in Togo
Back in March 2020, Dimagi rapidly adapted the WHO First Few X (FFX) cases protocol into a CommCare template application, which proved to be of interest to several organizations, including the Government of Togo. By the end of that month, they had equipped their contact tracers from the Ministère des Postes et de l’économie numérique and Ministère de la santé et de l’hygiène publique with the application.
The reference application served as an effective starting point and allowed the teams to iterate and deploy quickly. After an initial three-day sprint, the Togolese government was confident enough to begin training users on how to use the application, and by late March, the application was in use. Once launched, the application expanded in scope to include additional functionality that could be useful in lab settings and call centers.
Workplace Screening in South Africa
Since June of 2020, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in South Africa has been utilizing CommCare to ensure that those entering the physical office can work in a safe and COVID-19-compliant workspace.
CHAI’s CommCare application allows for easy and quick workplace screening and contact tracing. Each day, before entering the office, employees complete a symptom screening and risk assessment in the app. Based on their responses to the screening questions, the application provides guidance on whether they are at high risk of having COVID-19, and if they are, it advises them not to enter the office. At the same time, SMS messages are automatically sent to the company’s COVID-19 compliance officers to flag the risk. Each day, at the beginning and end of the workday, scheduled reports that detail who was in the office are sent to the management team.
Quarantine Management in Sierra Leone
Since April of 2020, Dimagi has been working in partnership with Sierra Leone’s Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation and Ministry of Health and Sanitation to develop digital solutions for COVID-19 response activities. Over the course of the partnership, we developed multiple products to tackle different angles of the pandemic with the goal to scale nationally.
Notably, we built and deployed a quarantine compliance application to track service delivery across formal and informal quarantine sites. This application, which is also integrated with DHIS2, allows for the registration of quarantine sites, which quarantine compliance officers can then use to check that each person in quarantine is safe, psychologically sound, has the food and security they need, and has all relevant tests either scheduled or performed.
After usage across several districts since August 2020, the SL team is now expanding the reach of this application to support quarantine of incoming travelers at port of entry.
Health Worker Monitoring in Brazil
In Brazil, the PREVCOVID-BR project required a way to methodically track the health of frontline workers in facilities that were treating COVID-19. In order to do so, they worked with Dimagi to make light customizations to the Health Care Provider Training and Monitoring Application. The application assists in symptom and risk monitoring in an effort to get in front of healthcare-associated infections. It has been deployed to 10 hospitals and 100 users in and around Sao Paulo and Manaus.
Contact Tracing in Mali
Since January of 2021, Dimagi has been working with the Ministry of Health and the regional health unit of the district of Bamako to equip a small number of contract tracers with CommCare to see how it can enhance their COVID-19 surveillance activities. The contact tracing template served as a helpful base for customization, and the plan is to equip eight FLWs in Commune IV with the application as a means of determining its efficacy before potentially scaling it up. The app was originally set to be deployed in March 2021, but due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the plans were put on hold. The application has now finally launched, and the pilot will continue over the course of the next several months.
Continuing the Fight
When we announced we were making CommCare free for COVID-19-related uses, we originally set a deadline of this month: May 2021. We’re excited to announce that we are now extending this through the end of this year for organizations in need. And many of our partners—like those in Mali, Sierra Leone, and Brazil—have already signed on.
It’s vital that we continue to invest in these systems now, because until we achieve equitable vaccination processes across the globe, COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere—to say nothing of the next pandemic.
If your organization is considering how it might support COVID-19 response, explore our existing template applications and reach out to us here.
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