Contact tracing in LGUs now made possible through DOST’s TanodCOVID

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More than preparing emergency relief for their constituents, the Local Government Units (LGUs) play a crucial role in monitoring and disease surveillance of COVID-19 possible patients in their respective communities. LGUs can put in place contact tracing systems such as the TanodCOVID.

PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya emphasized the important role of LGUs in early detection and tracing of the disease. He stressed, “LGUs can help even more through the use of TanodCOVID. This can build a knowledge base about your locality so that prevention, management and treatment on COVID19 can be improved.”

By using TanodCOVID, people in the community will have means of reporting their symptoms to their local officials without the fear of discrimination. When used by an LGU, TanodCOVID will help the local officials and the Department of Health (DoH) in contact tracing of possible and suspected COVID-19 cases and decide on areas where mass testing must be administered. Interested LGUs should send a letter of intent to the project team to avail this service.

To use TanodCOVID, locals can send text messages to their LGU’s verified mobile number. Officials will then call concerned locals to verify the reports and ask for additional information which might help the DoH. Specifically, the TanodCOVID will enable LGUs to access report summaries, visualization, mobile numbers and addresses of those who reported symptoms. (Specific steps of reporting are discussed below).

Once TanodCOVID is adopted, Dr. Regina Estuar, Project Leader of TanodCOVID, ensures interested LGUs of their continuous technical support. She said, “We designed the system to empower locals in our strategies to prevent the spread of the infection. In turn, this will help our national agencies reduce the risk of virus transmission through strengthened contact tracing processes. Our team will help you in using TanodCOVID. Ito ang tugon ng LGU laban sa COVID19.”

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara said, “The rapid development of research and technologies has been at the top of DOST’s priorities to fight this pandemic. With FASSSTER in place to assist our policymakers create evidence-based strategies, and TanodCOVID to engage our locals in self-reporting of symptoms for contact tracing, we are increasing our chances of saving more lives.”

Developed by Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila – National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau and funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), TanodCOVID is a self-reporting application included in the FASSSTER (Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler) a web-based disease surveillance platform that uses deterministic compartmental modeling.

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