Malawi rolls out Thandizo to combat COVID-19
Malawi has rolled out the Thandizo health system to support efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The new system, the result of an umbrella project of the same name, integrates WhatsApp chatbot functionality, a USSD platform and website with the country’s existing DHIS2 National Disease Surveillance System.
The objective is to test, track, isolate and treat suspected COVID-19 cases.
"This is being achieved by ensuring stakeholders have timely access to helpful resources using multiple convenient technologies accessible to Malawians," said Joshua Malango, spokesperson for the Malawi Ministry of Health.
Malango added that the system is accessible in multiple platforms that appeal to all mobile phone users.
The system provides updated COVID-19 statistics and preventative information with content sharing options available in English and Chichewa, one of the country’s most widely spoken languages.
It also allows for the registration of suspected cases and sharing the information with relevant stakeholders, and facilitates information exchange with the national disease surveillance system.
ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) President Bram Fudzulani said: "The tech community in Malawi, under the leadership of mHub and the ICT Association of Malawi, mobilised to develop technology tools that can help the government of Malawi through the ministry of health.”
The two tech bodies scrambled a team of volunteer IT professionals to establish solutions to address gaps in local COVID-19 management, including lack of integration with existing solutions and non-existing social media-based health information systems targeting the youth.
Malango added: "Ministry of Health through Digital Health team identified Angle Dimension as one of core implementing partners to develop and deploy tools for public use.”
Angle Dimension is a Lilongwe-based technology company that deals in enterprise software development and integration.
"Growing rate of misinformation mainly through social media streams and possible duplication and data inconsistences are more of the challenges the experts noticed and now the system has gotten rid of all of that," said Fudzulana.