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Ukheshe launches track & trace to assist with COVID-19 infection alerts

By , junior journalist
Africa , 09 Jun 2020

Ukheshe, a SMME focused digital banking platform, has launched a Track and Trace service using its existing payment ecosystem to let consumers know if they have been in the vicinity of an infected person.

The initiative kicked-off to coincide with level three lockdown where more sectors of the economy have opened up. Ukheshe is piloting the track and trace solution with public transport providers and some of its nearly one million registered users.

The pilot is an opt-in service that requires users to check into a store using the micro-banking app’s various platforms— the app can be used to scan a store’s QR code or USSD (*120*82274#) and WhatsApp (+27 10 444 0040) can be used to manually enter the QR code.

The system relies on its users to inform Ukheshe if they test positive for the corornavirus; they can do this through the same WhatsApp number or USSD menu. If any infections are reported, the affected store can contact anyone that has visited the location in the past seven days.

Clayton Hayward, CEO and co-founder of Ukheshe says consumers are still uncomfortable with track and trace technology and need time to learn to trust it.

“In theory these track and trace solutions seem so simple, but there’s a lot of education that’s needed around them. It’s a huge mental shift and this is going to be an interesting couple of months, seeing if the solutions take off.”

Hayward adds that Ukheshe has offered to share the pilot’s data with health authorities.

“We haven’t received any response. But this is a crazy time for everyone; that’s why we decided to proceed with the idea to create awareness around the solution and show authorities it can be a viable option.”

In addition to the track and trace initiative, Ukheshe has partnered with various organisations to offer COVID-19-centred services such as telephonic medical support. It has also opened its platform to allow free transactions for SASSA grant beneficiaries and has raised around R400 000 with local patriotic movement #Imstaying to assist families in need during lockdown.

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