Telkom powering Afya Rekod COVID-19 Monitoring Platform

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Telkom will power health tech company, Afya Rekod’s health management platform, that will facilitate COVID-19 monitoring and analysis.

The Afya Rekod platform was developed, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, to support global efforts to curb the disease. It is a centralised, multilingual, intelligent health data platform, built with Artificial Intelligence (AI) modules and blockchain technology, to ensure that it is adaptive, dynamic and secured for public usage.

This platform converts structured and unstructured data to global health data record keeping, using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and other international standards. The Afya Rekod platform will essentially provide a virtual repository for individuals to store their health data in real time.

Kenyans will be able to access the platform via USSD code: *380#, or by downloading the Afya Rekod App via Google Play Store.

Telkom’s Chief Executive Officer, Mugo KIBATI says, “As a telco, we understand the importance of easy accessibility of data when it comes to the management of disease outbreaks. We are happy to play a role in ensuring that the people of Kenya are able to share real time information of any symptoms they may experience related to COVID-19, keep logs of their progress, be able to get the right information, as well as have access to health workers who can support them with initial consultation.”

Telkom will host Afya Rekod’s application in its virtual environment, ensuring the all data is in a local repository. Telkom will also provide the USSD Code *380# that will enable those with feature phones to easily access the platform.

Afya Rekod will also get to benefit from an unlimited application-to-person SMS solution, from Telkom, to further complement communication with the application’s users.

KIBATI adds: “One of the most critical issues during this period will be how quickly health workers are upskilled, and kept well informed on how they can best support patients and also protect themselves in the process. Quick adoption of technology platforms such as the one offered by Afya Rekod, therefore, is vital towards this fight against COVID-19.”

This platform, that also allows for backward and forward integration with multiple Electronic Health Record Systems (EHRs) and Medical Electronic Record Systems (MERs), will enable streamlined information-sharing to empower health workers.

The Founder and CEO of Afya Rekod, John KAMARA says, “Lack of patient data in real time makes it hard to curb disease and more so a virus such as COVID-19, whose cure and vaccine are still being sought. The application is being launched at a crucial time whenthe world is experiencing one of the biggest pandemics in generations and we need to monitor the movement and evolution of the virus closely to determine, among other things, the changing nature of symptoms.”

The Afya Rekod platform will enable users to capture real-time data that will heat-map areas where COVID-19 infections are growing, and monitor the growth in real-time, by collecting user-generated information from users, across multiple geographic locations, to allow for sufficient data analysis. Its decentralised nature, that enables people to update their own records, anytime, anywhere, and in multiple formats, will support the relevant health authorities with efficient general management of the spread of the disease, resource mobilisation, and patient support, where required.

KAMARA adds: “Afya Rekod and Telkom are in talks with County Governments to pilot the use of the platform with their health workers, for the facilitation of training and in-App consultation. We have already confirmed the participation of five counties, including: West Pokot, Tharaka Nithi, Nandi, Isiolo and Garissa, to adopt the usage of the Afya Rekod platform, for their county-specific COVID-19 interventions, as they work to further equip their health workers to better handle the pandemic.”

The initiative with Afya Rekod adds to the list of targeted interventions that Telkom has announced in recent days. Last month, Telkom announced the launch of the Soma na Telkom bundles, tailored to power the e-learning programmes of educational institutions, notably the University of Nairobi, the KCA University, the USIU-A, and the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI). Telkom also donated a 50 Mbps link to the Kenyatta National Hospital’s Infectious Diseases Unit at Mbagathi.

The free Internet has enabled patients in quarantine as well as the frontline nurses, medical officers and doctors at the Mbagathi facility, to keep in touch with their loved ones and the outside world. Telkom has also provisioned the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus, that is based at the Ministry of Health’s offices at Afya House, with free Internet connectivity, to support their work in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya. The 200 Mbps link will also be used by the Ministry of Health’s offices at Afya House.

Telkom and its partner Loon Inc. recently announced that a larger fleet of balloons is heading to Kenya, to join the balloons that are already active and part of a network integration exercise in Kenyan airspace, in readiness for deployment of the Loon service in the country.

The Loon service, will seek to use its 4G/LTE Internet solution to connect unserved and under-served communities in Kenya. Initial coverage areas have already been identified, starting with Nairobi, Machakos, Nyeri, Nakuru, Kitui, Nanyuki, Narok and into Kisii.

Telkom and Loon will thereafter work to expedite service deployment, progressively, to other areas, to support the Kenya Government’s efforts to address and manage the spread of COVID-19 in the country.