Locally developed contact tracing system ready for use of LGUs

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Aside from preparing emergency relief for their constituents, local government units (LGUs) can now deploy a contact tracing system funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) called “TanodCovid”.

Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, executive director of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), said LGUs have an important role to play in the early detection and tracing of the disease.

“LGUs can help even more through the use of TanodCovid. This can build a knowledge base about your locality so that prevention, management and treatment on Covid19 can be improved,” Montoya said.

By using TanodCovid, people in the community will have the means of reporting their symptoms to their local officials without the fear of discrimination.

When used by an LGU, TanodCovid will help the local officials and the Department of Health (DoH) in contact tracing of possible and suspected Covid-19 cases and decide on areas where mass testing must be administered. Interested LGUs should send a letter of intent to the project team to avail of this service.

To use TanodCovid, locals can send text messages to their LGU’s verified mobile number. Officials will then call concerned locals to verify the reports and ask for additional information which might help the DoH.

The TanodCovid will enable LGUs to access report summaries, visualization, mobile numbers and addresses of those who reported symptoms.

Dr. Regina Estuar, project leader of TanodCovid, assured LGUs of continuous technical support once TanodCovid is adopted.

“We designed the system to empower locals in our strategies to prevent the spread of the infection. In turn, this will help our national agencies reduce the risk of virus transmission through strengthened contact tracing processes. Our team will help you in using TanodCovid. Ito ang tugon ng LGU laban sa Covid19,” Estuar said.

TanodCovid is part of a project known as FASSSTER (Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler), a Web-based disease surveillance platform that uses deterministic compartmental modeling.

The FASSSTER initiative was developed by the Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of the Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila-National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau and funded by DOST-PCHRD.

“With FASSSTER in place to assist our policymakers create evidence-based strategies, and TanodCovid to engage our locals in self-reporting of symptoms for contact tracing, we are increasing our chances of saving more lives,” said DOST undersecretary for research and development Rowena Cristina Guevara.

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