A member of Parliament's Communications Committee, Sam George has questioned the rationale behind the re-launch of the COVID-19 tracker App.
He explained that the app has been dysfunctional and has not achieved its intended purpose months after its first launch.
The government on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, re-launched the application months after it was first launched in Ghana.
Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia first launched the App on April 13, 2020, to help boost the government's fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana.
Explanations given by the government is that the current App is an updated version to enhance efficiency.
But the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampam, Sam George, disagrees with the explanation saying the justification is incomprehensible.
“Is there any testimony from the Ministry of Health and its contact tracing team about the App helping to detect contacts of positive patients? No, there is no record of any such thing happening with the App. That is why I am saying that technology exists that will help with contact tracing but the Ministry has not shown that it has deployed that level of technology. That is the point we are making and so PR gimmicks, razzmatazz and glitz of an app launch when the functionality of the App itself has not worked is not necessary,” Sam George insisted.
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the re-launch had also become necessary following the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport as well as the eased COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are here once again to re-launch an upgraded version of the COVID-19symptom tracker, in view of the President's easing of restrictions on movement and the opening up of the airports to travellers. Our strategy of using a multi-staged COVID-19 recovery plan based on science and data requires the deployment and use of digital technology and innovation to restore every sector of the Ghanaian economy to normalcy.”
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the updated tracker App will enable healthcare staff to contact COVID-19 patients and track suspected cases, as well as identify COVID-19 hotpots.
“Under this re-launch platform, healthcare staff will be able to contact patients and track the movements of COVID-19 live cases. The new platform can also alert users on moving out of allowed areas, report case breaches to authorities and push notifications to bulk users amongst others,” she added.
Ursula said the COVID-19 tracker app forms part of measures to leverage technology to fight the spread of the disease.
She added that the new platform is accessible to everyone and not only smartphone users.