Digital Applications in Saudi Arabia Constitute Successful Means to Alleviate COVID-19 Impacts

22-02-13

  1. Digital Applications in Saudi Arabia Constitute Successful Means to Alleviate COVID-19 Impacts 

  1. Riyadh, February 14 *, 2022, SPA — FANA    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia managed to deal with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic effectively and efficiently with the utilization of several tools, mainly technology that was used to face the pandemic and alleviate the repercussions of the global health crisis, where technology was, with no doubt, one of the most important tools in facing the crisis at the health level.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health embarked on relying on technology to deal with the crisis. The ministry managed, through the Sehhaty Application that benefited more than 24 million people, to provide instant electronic and consultative services via accredited doctors by the ministry through video, audio and text conversations, and offered the services of appointments, virtual clinics and sick leaves.

Sehhaty Application provides services related to searching for medicines, following up and reading vital signs, booking appointments to conduct tests and receive COVID-19 vaccines, Sehhaty wallet and vaccines in general, where officials in the ministry are planning to add new e-services as part of future plans depending on beneficiaries’ needs.

According to data of the Ministry of Health, the application managed to book more than 3.8 million appointments, offer 1.5 million medical consultations, and issue over 9.5 million medical reports and leaves, where the number of jabs administered exceeded 59 million.

To complement these e-services, there is also Mawid Application that the Ministry of Health launched to enable beneficiaries to book appointments at preliminary healthcare centers and manage them through amendment or cancelling, in addition to managing their other appointments at any hospital they are referred to.

Mawid Application also offered the (COVID-19 service), which is a survey that helps beneficiaries identify their health status according to data they enter, where the service provides information and awareness regulations that patients should apply. The service has contributed to rectifying many information and refuted rumors circulated on the pandemic and vaccines, in addition to playing a role in detecting more than 70,000 cases and outbreak locations. Also, 25 million people benefited from the application with a total of 100 million appointments. 

Out of keenness to offer health protection and care to citizens and residents referred to home quarantine and to enhance their recovery procedures, the Ministry of Health launched the Tetamman Application, which includes an icon of services with a library of educational content, results of tests, updating contacts’ data, daily follow-ups on the health condition, connections of supporting the epidemiological surveillance, an indicator of health quarantine countdown, sending notifications and auto calls, in addition to having an icon for beneficiaries, who are: “arrivals from travelling abroad, and contacts of confirmed cases”.

The application also allows isolated cases to make direct calls with doctors at the Ministry of Health and ask for help through an icon of survey on their conditions and follow up on their condition. The application also allows suspected cases to check on results of their tests that were conducted for them by health institutions. 

Out of the ministry’s keenness to facilitate procedures for all citizens and residents and to guarantee receiving health services quickly, the ministry, in the beginning of 2022, merged its applications Sehha, Mawid and Tetamman into one application called Sehhaty under the motto: “All the health is in Sehhaty”. 

“SDAIA”… National Digital Initiatives with Global Standards

In continuation of preemptive efforts and steps since the outbreak of the pandemic, in implementation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leadership and in dynamic synergy and harmony among public institutions to face this global pandemic and alleviate its repercussions at the health level, the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA) launched initiatives and e-services that contributed to containing the crisis and alleviating its health impacts, such as the Saudi COVID-19 Index, which is a joint project between SDAIA and the Ministry of Health, with the aim of analyzing and predicting the spread of the novel coronavirus with the use of artificial intelligence technologies and advanced statistical analyses, where it helped detect the first COVID-19 case in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The index also aims at supporting decision makers through predicting events and reaching an accurate future look on the developments of the pandemic and its spread in cities and governorates, in addition to considering the occupancy capabilities of the health sector and predicting the future needs of health resources at the short and long terms.

The comprehensive e-system “Tawakkalna”, which was launched by SDAIA, has been developed to help stakeholders automate transactions and reduce health, economic and social damages resulted from adopted policies in a bid to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and facilitate procedures for society members to issue movement permits electronically during the times of curfew.  The application has issued 27 million permits.

The Tawakkalna system includes several components that serve individuals and the security and health sectors, such as: Tawakkalna Application that offers several services that help users assess their health condition and manage permits, book appointments to receive COVID-19 vaccines and tests, issue more than 24 million health passport for individuals and their families, answer health questions, report suspected cases, and review the latest official news and statistics.

Tawakkalna also offers miscellaneous permits covering important service and health aspects, such as: permits for medical appointments and emergency cases, humanitarian cases, supplies within a neighborhood, emergency supplies, Hajj and Umrah, work, jogging, and temporary permits for vehicle drivers.

The application also provides additional services that help detect infected people, contain contacts, issue warnings upon approaching them, allow home quarantine instead of institutional quarantine, self-detection for those who developed suspicious symptoms of contracting the virus, report cases of breaking curfews, and display violations. These services are offered in partnership with 40 government departments. 

Meanwhile, Tabaud Application, one of the components of Tawakkalna system, comes to complement technological efforts that SDAIA has offered. The application is in line with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to contain the pandemic and help live with the threat of the virus and the gradual resumption of normal life. The application uses up-to-date technologies of tracing contacts, maintains the confidentiality of users’ data and their privacy, sends blurred identifying data for smart phones that use the application that were recorded during contacting an infected person. Apple, Google, and Huawei have placed the app first in the world for mixed protocols application. 

 

The application uses Bluetooth and other modern technologies to preserve the privacy of user data, and upon reporting an infected case through the application, notifications are sent to all those who contacted the infected case over the past 14 days and guide them to ask for health support from the Ministry of Health, as it enhances engaging the society in containing the crisis and helps stakeholders ease precautionary procedures. The application supports 22 languages. 

As part of efforts to develop innovative solutions, SDAIA issued the “Global experiences in using data and artificial intelligence technology to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic” report to follow up on global experiences and identify current challenges through checking on more than 190 local and international initiatives with the aim of benefiting from them in developing national technological solutions. 

Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic cast its shadows over all aspects of life in our world and made world countries, including Saudi Arabia, live under suffering and human and material losses, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, thanks to Allah and then the wisdom and directives of the wise leadership, managed to add innovative concepts in crisis management and used cutting-edge technologies to contain the pandemic, offering the world a unique model in dealing with the global crisis.

–SPA