Kenya’s adoption of technology to reinforce its efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 has been commended by the African Union (AU) through its health agency Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The Ministry of Health announced the launch of the online trusted travel platform on Jan. 9, making it the first country on the continent to use the innovation to efficiently manage air travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The ministry worked with the AU and Africa CDC, with technical assistance from PanaBIOS, to implement an online system for authentication and verification of laboratory test certificates for travelers,” said Mutahi Kagwe, Secretary of the Health Cabinet.
The CDC Director for Africa, Dr. John Nkengasong, praised Kenya’s technological prowess and goodwill for not wasting time implementing a solution he believes will instill the trust of Africans doing business on the continent.
He cited Kenya’s recent takeover of three robots from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which can scan 10 to 100 people per minute from a distance of up to 3.5 meters, as a perfect example of the country’s pioneering role Technologies in Africa.
“Kenya has always been a pioneer in innovation in Africa, but it is its commitment to continental inclusion that makes our digital health collaboration through Trusted Travel such a powerful example of pan-African innovation,” he noted.
The solution developed by the PanaBIOS consortium and the Harare-based tech company Econet Group is currently being used at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to verify Covid-19 test certificates for travelers and to harmonize entry and exit checks across the continent .
Antonia Filmer, a British businesswoman who recently took advantage of the innovation at JKIA, believes that digital coordination will speed up passenger clearance at the airport compared to London.
“Upon arriving in Nairobi just before entering immigration, our QR codes were scanned and linked to a temperature monitoring camera. The stream of passengers arrives and their temperature is shown on their foreheads on the screen,” she said, adding that this is the case Fall makes it easy to know if you’re next with someone with a fever.
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The platform provides information on travel requirements in the departure and destination ports as well as access to a list of state-approved laboratories for coronavirus tests in African countries.
It allows travelers to upload their Covid-19 test results online for easy review by port health and travel officials, and it helps identify fake certificates.
According to Africa CDS, this will help build confidence in the test results with government agencies, airlines, transport service providers and other stakeholders in the transport sector across the continent.
“As our economies, schools and borders reopen, Africa needs a harmonized approach to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. This is why we launched this portal as an innovative digital tool to help Member States to harmonize entry and exit regulations to prevent this. ” cross-border transmission on the continent, “said Amira Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission.
Without such a system, the proliferation of user manipulated and forged test and vaccine certificates could undermine efforts to minimize cross-border infections while hindering cross-border economic activities.
With Kenya leading the continent in terms of vulnerability to cyberattacks, the portal is “secure and designed using international standards for cybersecurity and privacy protocols,” according to Africa CDC.
Other partners involved in monitoring the implementation of the Trusted Travel Initiative are the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the African Civil Aviation Commission, the International-Africa Airport Council, the African Airlines Association and the International Air Transport Association.