Covid19 updates; government sets up an online portal

In response to calls for unified communication and an online portal for timely updates on the state o f#covid19, the government has established an online portal for #covid19 updates.

To access the portal, visit here.

The portal provides all the information about the situation of #covid19 in Uganda, the total reported cases, confirmed cases and death. Thus far, Uganda has not registered any death out of the 14 reported confirmed cases.

I must say the portal is well organized and provides most of the information the public would like to know on the state of the #covid19.

However, what is missing on the portal are the several Presidential Directives to mitigate the virus. These updates are also critical. The team maintaining the portal should urgently obtain ALL the presidential speeches, summarize the key directives and upload them so that nothing is missed. The key directives should be indicated on the dashboard.

I encourage all Ugandans with the means (Internet access) to do so to access the portal.

Since the information on the portal provides facts and figures, and accurate analysis of the situation, it removes hearsay and rumours about the problem. Telecom companies should whitelist this domain, https://covid19.gou.go.ug/, and make it accessible to all Ugandans free of charge so that even if one does not have data on their phone or laptop, they can access it Click To Tweet

I am sure the Ministry of Health in partnership with Nita and WHO, is coming up with a mobile application to ease access to this essential data on #covid19. All these developments are welcome. The mobile app once developed should be made accessible free of charge. This will be a great contribution to the telecoms during this difficult time.

On 24th March 2020, I wrote here, calling upon the Government to establish communication protocols for the official source of data on #covid19. On 26th March 2020, I made a further appeal, in this post, in which I wrote, “

As the problem increase, there is a need for the establishment of communication protocols at the national level. This helps reduce misinformation and creates clarity. The president’s initiative for frequent updates on the #covid19 situation is commendable. Clear directions and guides have been given and the public knows what is expected of them to control the spread of the virus.

But we can do better.

Just like what the World Health Organisation has done, there is clear daily updated information about the virus, guidelines to manage the virus and the global situation. This is what the Ministry of Health must do – establish a portal with all information about the pandemic and the status in Uganda.”

I am happy that my calls are aligned with government strategies and interventions.

This #covid19 portal is a welcome development. Now the stakeholders must invest in USSD; and upgrade the portal to handle incoming cases notifications, self-reporting, and personal experiences and suspect cases across the country so that the health response team can move in timely.

The digital approach would support the call centre and other interventions well. The advantage of an interactive online portal is convenience and fast case reporting times. Taken together, these developments shall improve information flow and case management.

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), also known as “Quick Codes” or “Feature codes” would help people without smartphones to receive real-time notifications from the portal. This would push messages to all Ugandans with a mobile phone including those with basic phones that cannot access the Internet or mobile apps.

I take this opportunity to thank the Government especially the Ministry of Health and partners for the leadership during these tough times of the pandemic.

It is good to note that only 14 cases have been reported in Uganda, thus far and zero death.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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