The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia managed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic efficiently and effectively, with the help of several tools, the most important of which is technology.
Saudi Arabia has harnessed tech apps and tools to confront the pandemic and mitigate the repercussions of the global health crisis, and it was undoubtedly one of the most successful tools to confront the crisis at the health level.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health has taken the initiative to rely on technology to deal with the crisis. Through, the “Sehha App” the ministry managed to provide immediate electronic and advisory services by doctors accredited by the ministry, through video, audio and text conversations easily. The app which has benefited more than 24 million, provided service appointments, virtual clinics and sick leaves.
The “Sehha App” provides a service for searching for medications, following up and reading vital signs, booking appointments for tests, taking coronavirus vaccines, and vaccinations in general.
Officials at the Ministry of Health are working on adding new electronic services within future plans according to the needs of the beneficiaries.
Based on the data of the Ministry of Health; The app has booked more than 3.8 million appointments, provided 1.5 million medical consultations, generated more than 9.5 million sick leave reports, and administered more than 59 million vaccine doses.
To complement these electronic services; The Ministry of Health launched the “Mawid” app to enable beneficiaries to book their appointments in primary health care centers. The app allowed users to manage appointments by modifying or canceling them, as well as managing their other appointments in any hospitals they are referred to.
The app also introduced the “coronavirus service”, which is a questionnaire that shows the beneficiary, based on his entered data, his health condition, and provides him with information and awareness instructions that he must apply.
The service contributed to correcting a lot of information and refuted circulating rumors about the pandemic or the vaccines used. Moreover, the app also contributed to the discovery of more than 70,000 cases and outbreak sites. The mobile app attracted around 25 million users, who booked a total of 100 million appointments.
In order to provide protection and health care to citizens and residents referred to home isolation, and to enhance their recovery procedures; The Ministry of Health launched the “Tetamman app” (Rest Assured). The application contains an icon for services that includes a library of educational content, test results, updating contact data, daily follow-up of the health status, links to support the epidemiological investigation, the indicator of the descending number of health isolation, alerting notifications and automated calls. It also featured a service for users who are coming from travel, and in contact with infected cases.
The application allows the isolated to communicate directly with doctors in the Ministry of Health, and request assistance through an icon to continuously inquire about their conditions, and monitor the development of their cases. It also allows users to view the results of their PCR tests that were conducted for them by the health authorities.
Based on the keenness of the Ministry of Health to facilitate access to health services for all citizens and residents, and speedy access to health services; the Ministry integrated the three applications into one called “Sehhaty” (My Health).
SDAIA… national digital initiatives with international standards
the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) launched initiatives and electronic services, which contributed to containing the pandemic. This came in continuation of the efforts and proactive steps since the beginning of the pandemic, and in implementation of the directives of the Kingdom’s leadership to confront this global pandemic.
These include the “Saudi Covid-19 Index”, which aims to analyze and anticipate the spread of the novel coronavirus using artificial intelligence techniques and advanced statistical analysis. The index which was launched in cooperation between SDAIA and the Ministry of Health helped in the detection of the first coronavirus case in the Kingdom.
The “Saudi Covid-19 Index” aims to support decision-makers by anticipating events and forming an accurate future view of the development and spread of the pandemic in cities and governorates. It does so through studying the absorptive capacities of the health sector and anticipating future needs for health resources in the short and long term.
“Tawakkalna” integrated system launched by the SDAIA came to help the concerned authorities to automate transactions and reduce the health, economic and social damages resulting from the policies taken.
Tawakkalna played a role in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus and facilitating the access of members of society to roaming permits electronically during the curfew period. Around 27 million permits have been issued through the application.
The Tawakkalna system includes many components that serve more than 27 million users from individuals and the security and health sectors, namely: The Tawakkalna application, which provides a set of services that help users assess their health status and manage permits, and allows booking appointments to take coronavirus vaccines and examinations.
The app also answers health questions, allow users to report suspected cases, review the latest news and official statistics, and issues a health passport for an individual and his family, as the application issued more than 24 million health passports.
“Tawakkalna” provides a variety of permits covering important service and health aspects, namely permits for medical appointments, emergency cases, humanitarian cases, catering within the neighborhood, emergency catering, Hajj and Umrah, work, walking, and temporary permits for motorists.
The application is characterized by providing additional services that help discover the infected. It also gives a warning when approaching them, enabling home isolation instead of quarantine, self-examination of those who showed signs of suspected infection with the virus, reporting cases of breaking the curfew, and displaying violations, and these services were provided in partnership with 40 government agencies.
The “Tabaud” application is one of the components of the Tawakkalna system. To complement the technical efforts made by SDAIA, and in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to contain the pandemic and help coexist with the threat of the virus and gradually return to normal life.
It was ranked first in the world in the application of mixing protocols from Apple, Google and Huawei. Tabaud uses the latest contact tracing technology, maintains user data confidentiality and privacy, and sends camouflaged ID data to smartphones used for the same application that was recorded during the period of contact with an infected person.
The application uses Bluetooth technology and modern technologies to maintain the privacy of users’ data, and in the event, that virus infection is reported through the application.
Notifications are sent to all those who have been in contact with the infected during the past 14 days, instructing them to request health support from the Ministry of Health. It enhances community involvement in containing the crisis and supporting the concerned authorities in lifting the precautionary measures. The app supports 22 languages.
In the context of developing innovative solutions; SDAIA has issued a report, “Global Experiences in the Use of Data Technology and Artificial Intelligence to Deal with the Novel Coronavirus.” The report follows up on global experiences and current challenges, by monitoring more than 190 local and global initiatives and benefiting from them in developing national technical solutions.
The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) cast a shadow over all aspects of life in our contemporary world and made the countries of the world suffer under the weight of human and material losses. Saudi Arabia was not immune and isolated from this world, but the Kingdom was able to add innovative concepts in crisis management and to adopt the latest technical means to contain the pandemic, providing the whole world with a unique model in dealing with the global crisis.