Author(s): Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA), National Medical Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Resource Type: Case studies

Countries: Bahrain

SDG: GOAL 3. Good Health and Well-being

Keywords: Accountability, Access to Information, Collaboration, Innovations

2020

BeAware Bahrain Application

United Against COVID-19, preventing Corona Virus from spreading

Source in English: ESCWA-OECD Case Study - BeAware Bahrain

The BeAware Bahrain Application was developed to raise awareness and utilize open source and cloud technology to help contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Bahrain.  Based on a collaborative platform, the application involves governmental and non-governmental organizations and engages the society and raises their responsibility to conduct early tests based on tracing their contacts with affected and/or self-isolated cases.

The application uses location tracking technologies of self-isolated cases to ensure compliance to the isolation guidelines and was supported by a government regulation that requires commitment to wear a wireless bracelet that is linked to the mobile phone.   Compliance with the response measures to the pandemic and open access to live location-based data has enabled tracing contacts and protected the integrity of data and safeguarded the effectiveness of the application to both users and decision makers.  

The use of the application has contributed to sustaining the national health care system and supporting efforts to contain the pandemic.

Implementation: 2020

Contributor(s)

The development and operation of BeAware Bahrain Application was led by the National Taskforce for containing the spread of covid-19, with the collaboration of a number of entities, including the Ministries of Health and Interior, Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA), Society, and Civil Society Organizations.

Purpose

The COVID-19 pandemic required immediate response and action to contain the spread of Coronavirus and ensure the availability of proper healthcare for affected cases; and the Government was required to swiftly trace the contacts of cases in the last 14 days and revisit their measures for containing the fast spread of the infection.  The need for accurate and timely information in tracing contacts has prompted the design of BeAware Bahrain App to support the national response efforts, to raise public awareness, and share information to allow physical distancing from reported cases, and to help decision makers sustain public services while avoiding a complete shutdown.

Functions

  • The app uses location tracking technologies of the self-isolated cases to ensure their compliance to isolation guidelines and the proper use of a wireless bracelet linked to their mobile phones.
  • It allows booking for test appointments for self-isolated cases with test results information.
  • It notifies users when in proximity with identified cases within the last 14 days, which allows them to conduct a test and allow test centres to access to their contact tracing history.
  • The App provides access to guidelines, statistics, and public announcements about the status of the Coronavirus, locally and internationally.

Clients

End users of the BeAware Bahrain App include:

  • Self-isolated cases who are required to use the app with a wireless bracelet to enable the collection of accurate data on their location.
  • Optional users within the Society, residents and citizens, who can use the app with their location data to be notified about the need to conduct their early test based on tracing history.
  • Decision makers and civil society organizations can access the statistics and information.

Outcome

  • Enabled and supported the containment of Coronavirus.
  • Minimized public investment in isolation centres through the adoption of a self-isolation approach that relies on location tracing to ensure compliance to guidelines and to identify and provide care for confirmed cases that need further medical attention.  
  • Enhanced the capacity of tests and treatment centres through access to accurate estimations.
  • Digitization of private and public services to enable Government and Business Owners to respond to emerging cases.

Impact

  • Improved sustainability of health care services through better resource planning and ensuring availability of tests and treatment centres and medical resources and staff.
  • The contact tracing location data helped with early detection of cases and gave better statistics to decision makers on the status of the pandemic, which determines the Emergency Level and sets guidance for Curfew decisions that is based on credible data about sources of infections.

Challenges

  • The urgent need for a solution to help contain the spread of covid-19 pandemic was challenging to the app development team who were working remotely to support national response efforts.
  • Access to sources of data related to statistics, announcements and identification of new cases was a major challenge especially with the need for fast adaptability to the App requirements.
  • Maintaining the credibility of data, which was resolved and regulated through official decrees and supported with the wireless technology (Bracelets) and modernized infrastructure design to ensure load balancing and performance reliability.

Useful links

BeAware Bahrain App

BeAware Bahrain Description

Bahrain eGovernment App store

Ministry of Health website

Website on latest health developments

About BeAware Bahrain App

iGA Youtube - Description of BeAware App (in Arabic)

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