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The apps that helped keep Saudis safe from COVID-19

Since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched three new apps. (File/AFP)
Since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched three new apps. (File/AFP)
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23 Sep 2020 05:09:25 GMT9
23 Sep 2020 05:09:25 GMT9
  • The Kingdom launched new apps and improved existing ones to help tackle the pandemic

Ruba Obaid

JEDDAH: As part of its efforts to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Saudi Arabia has launched a set of different applications and improved some existing ones to provide various health care services to its residents.

During the Riyadh Global Digital Health Summit that took place earlier in August, Saudi Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said that pandemic preparedness and digital health have been key priorities for the Kingdom and that technology has been the primary weapon in the battle against COVID-19. He said that Saudi Arabia had “capitalized on many of [its] existing digital applications that offer artificial intelligence components in tackling this pandemic,” playing a fundamental role in supporting health emergency management by strengthening existing response mechanisms.

Since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched three new apps: Tetamman (Rest Assured), Tabaud (Social Distancing), and Tawakkalna, in addition to a new version of the Sehhaty app.

WHAT THE APPS DO:

Tetamman: Allows users to book appointments for COVID-19 tests and enables continuous communication and follow-up on their cases by checking in every day to report their symptoms.

Tawakkalna: Shows users’ health status, allows them to obtain movement permissions during curfew and report suspected cases or any gatherings that may violate precautionary measures.

Tabaud: Tracks the spread of COVID-19 infections, allowing users to know if they have been in contact with people who have tested positive within the past 14 days while maintaining the confidentiality of the data.

Sehhaty: Provides access to health information and medical e-services offered by different health organizations in the Kingdom.

These apps were launched through the combined efforts of a number of relevant government agencies: the MOH, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Communications, the National Information Center and other related bodies.

Tetamman was launched in April and developed in the early days of the pandemic to “reinforce the commitment of all persons directed to isolation and follow up on their cases.” The app allows users to book an appointment for a COVID-19 test, follow up on the results, conduct a self-assessment of their health status, manage their isolation period, access accurate educational material and more. It has helped to facilitate mass testing plans, including drive-through testing stations in 17 cities across the Kingdom, receiving over 2.7 million beneficiaries to date.

Tawakkalna, an app developed by the National Information Center and launched in April, provided a number of important services during the imposed lockdown in the Kingdom that was lifted on May 30, including a jogging permit, exit permits for emergency health conditions and temporary driving passes.

Users of the app have surpassed 7 million in the past four months, with three new services added to the app this month that included an alert status, safe gathering management and dependent care. This last feature enables parents to follow up on their children, aged 15 or under, checking on them and the areas they visit.

Moreover, users can also report COVID-19 suspected cases to help individuals receive the health care they, or others, need. The app is available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian and Urdu.

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